Things with Beth have improved somewhat. There are still setbacks. There are still mistakes. There are still errors in judgement. Overall, though, I have seen improvement. For one thing, there was a diagnosis. The testing we had done recently definitely indicates that she has ADHD-inattentive. No one suspected...no teacher, no parent, not even the counselor she went to for 9 months last winter. Not even Beth.
The first mention of it was from the crazy psychiatrist we took her to this winter to assess whether or not she was depressed enough to warrant medication. I looked it up, read about it...pondered it but nobody seemed particularly convinced. Not the counselor, not her dad, nor her step mom. Her dad's comment was something along the lines of "oh so is that what they call lazy these days." I think Keith was also quite skeptical. Then one day, in the midst of the past few months from the depths of hell, she and I had a tearful conversation on the way back to the shelter care. Shelter care is sort of juvie light....a detention center for troubled teens. She spent 2 two week stints in shelter care this summer.
After that conversation, I was pretty sure she had ADHD. I did some more reading. I scheduled an evaluation with a neuro psychologist. It took a while to get the insurance to approve the testing, then to schedule the testing...then to get the results of the testing. But finally, I have a 16 page report in my possession with a diagnosis of ADHD-inattentive. And ODD. Oppositional defiant disorder. No big surprise there. I guess ODD is a distinct disorder and can stand alone, but usually doesn't. It usually co-exists with something else. I've read that up to 67% of kids with ADHD also have ODD.
We are pursuing treatment, which is usually drug therapy and behavioral therapy. She started a low dose of Concerta (extended release Ritalin) last week. Except for a few minutes of rapid heartbeat last night, so far, so good.
I have been frequenting a message board for families with kids like Beth. Actually, kids much, much worse than Beth, with all kinds of mental health issues. There are families that are living in a nightmare. Some of the families have more than one GFG. That is the board acronym for "gift from God"...meaning that these kids are sent to us from God for reasons known only to him. Either he entrusts us with them because not everybody can endure the gift and only a certain type of person can face the challenges....or, through the challenges, he wants to make us into that "certain type of person." Perhaps he wants to cultivate qualities in us that might never be formed otherwise. Perseverance and patience come to mind. Hope, in the face of hopeless situations. Courage, trust...and compassion.
Actually, compassion was the point of this post. In a blog I happened upon the other day, a spiritual, Eckhart Tolle type blog, compassion was referred to as loving detachment. Hmmm. Do those two words belong next to each other in a definition? Doesn't compassion involve gut wrenching empathy and total involvement? I'm not so sure. More in my next post.....