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Marie-Anne:The taboo around ADHD

Does ADHD exist, or is it a label that children are unfairly given? Marie-Anne shares a very personal story today.

Marie-Anne: 'There are very regular posts about ADHD on my Twitter and Facebook timeline. Usually these posts have more or less the same meaning:An expert (psychiatrist, psychologist or neurologist) declares that ADHD does not exist. Often these messages get a lot of acclaim. 'Nowadays everyone who is a bit busy is only given a label.' Or:'In the past no one had ADHD, now everyone has ADHD or is dyslexic or autistic', I read.

The messages hurt me!
It makes me sad and I think it's shortsighted. I've been thinking about this blog for a long time because I'm going to share information that is very personal. However, I would like to show the other side of the coin because for many children (and adults) it contains a daily truth that is not always easy.

I'm coming out:My daughter has ADHD
Is that bad? No not at all. Does she (and her environment) have difficult moments? Yes, that's true. But that also applies to someone with a cow's milk allergy, a congenital eye defect or a crooked back. However, there is a difference:It is easier to talk about my other daughter with a leg in plaster. I dare to call ADHD a taboo. “Why would you want to saddle a kid with a label? And you also give her medicine? How bad! Have you thought it through carefully? Aren't rest, cleanliness and regularity in combination with a good diet much healthier?' Those are things that I (well-intentioned, I'm convinced) often have to hear.

You are who you are and that's fine
But no, people, sometimes rest, cleanliness and regularity are not enough. My daughter is busy, can't wait for her turn, can't sit still, constantly fidgets with her hands and has a lot of conflicts, especially with peers. She is also inventive, creative, very spontaneous and sporty. For a while she was very unhappy. She often came home from school crying because no one could (wanted) to meet her after school. At drinks I prepared myself that the fun would be over for her (and me) after an hour because 'something' happened again with another child. Evening meals were problematic as she had to sit still and the school reports plummeted CITO test scores. "Mom, I'd like to know. Do I have ADHD or not? I'm asked so often at school!" she asked one day. "Honey, that's not important. You are who you are and that's fine," I replied. Because we felt she had a right to know whether or not she had ADHD, and she insisted that she really wanted to know, my daughter underwent extensive testing. We didn't do this overnight. When my husband and I were called for the results after months of tests, school attendance and interviews, we knew deep in our hearts what was going to be told. “Your daughter has all the characteristics that are consistent with ADHD. There is actually no characteristic that does not apply to her," we heard. Strangely enough, that result is coming in shortly.

Drug trial
After many nights of ice cream, reading a lot and talking to people in the know, we decided to start a trial period with drugs. For the first time, I saw my daughter painting concentrated for two hours on Sunday morning. She enjoyed. She also read a book that I had already bought two years earlier. It had been lying untouched by her bed all this time. Contact with sister and peers seemed to have moved into calmer waters, which is very important for my daughter. The majority of the CITO tests changed in three months from a four to a 1 or 2 (for those not in the know:with Cito 1 is the highest and 5 the lowest). If we had any doubts about medicines, it was gone now. Many bad side effects have not been shown in the decades that Ritalin-like pills have been on the market. My daughter has had a headache for an hour in total, and is sleeping well.

Stop taking the pills? Rather not
On a check-up at the pediatrician in the hospital, he said:'If you are on vacation, you can stop taking the pills for a month'. To this my daughter replied:'I'd rather not be a doctor, because if I meet new children in Spain, they might find me annoying without a pill. Then I won't be able to make friends." Tears welled up in my eyes. My dear, you are fine just the way you are. With pills, without pills, with label or without label. As long as you are as happy as possible. Are we doing it right? I do not know. Is she happier? That's for sure.

And for the critics on Facebook (or just those followers who just randomly write something):many studies have been published about ADHD. My proof that ADHD exists is out there at home. Especially after four in the afternoon, she bounces because then her medicine has worn off. And I happen to like bouncing too!'

Who is Marie-Anne? Marie-Anne, 49, is married and mother of three daughters. She has a serious cartilage problem and is now going through life with a new knee. For the time being she is still happy with it and next year it will be the turn of the other knee. Every other week she blogs about her (patchwork) family, care in the Netherlands, her knee and other things that occupy her.

Read all of Marie-Anne's blogs>>