Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I have a four-year-old son who has ADHD. I get calls all the time from his school. What are some ideas to help me at school or at home?
Kind querent: Aside from whatever his doctors recommend, I’ve always believed that boys with ADHD could benefit from martial arts. Martial arts helps you focus and direct your energy with purpose. If you could get him into some martial arts, that could help him out a lot.
Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My parents got divorced a few years ago, and it was going fine at the beginning, but in 7th grade, a horrible chain of events unfolded. My friends stopped talking to me because I was seen as an outcast due to the divorce, and my brother and dad became very bitter and began attacking me on a mental front on a daily occurrence. At the time I was pretty chubby, I won’t lie, but I was working really hard in school, and couldn’t do anything about it. At first, I’d just put in headphones and ignore it best I could, but it wore me down over the year-and-a-half that it happened for. I had nobody that I could talk to that would just listen, and not tell anybody else about it. That was four years ago, and while I’ve removed myself from my dad’s house, and I’m working on getting out of my mom’s fast as possible, I find myself emotionless for long expanses of time. Midsentence, I’ve found myself just losing all interest in anything, and just setting my head down and saying nothing. I can’t keep up a stable friendship at all. Everything just sorta lost its interest, no matter what it is. I think it’s has something to do with my brain just shutting off so I can’t feel the same way I did a few years ago, but I don’t really have any education in the field. If anyone’s had this sort of question in the past, please provide me with some advice on how to get myself feeling better? And I also request that you don’t attribute it to my age. I’ve had too many people do it in the past.
Kind querent: Yes, it sounds like you’re dissociating. That’s the word for when you “check out” midsentence or feel emotionless: dissociation. You started checking out with your headphones, and now you’re in the habit of doing it regularly. (It’s absolutely not your fault. A lot of people who have suffered struggle with maladaptive coping skills.) I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. It doesn’t matter how much you weighed–there’s no excuse for people to have bullied you about it. That’s terrible. Never blame yourself.
I’m shocked that your friends bailed on you because of your parents’ divorce. I was in eighth grade when mine divorced, and my friends were supportive. I’m so sad that you had mean friends. It really breaks my heart for you.
I wish you could get counseling somehow. Do you have anyone at all who you can talk to? What about your school guidance counselor? You didn’t say anything bad about your mom except that you want to move out of her home. Is she emotionally available at all? Are there any nearby church or youth groups you could join? Sports teams? Extracurricular activities? Hobbies? Please try to get involved with something, and please try to find someone to talk to. I wish you the best!