Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults
Girl Diagnosed Mid-Senior Year...How Do I Help Her Get On Track?
I’m new to this ADHD world and frankly I’m overwhelmed and at a complete loss as to how I can begin some major damage control.
My now-18 year old daughter, the oldest of my two teen girls, was diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD and Mathematics Learning Disorder in the middle of her senior year, last November. This finding capped four years of unsuccessfully treating extreme depression and anxiety, including a 5150 trip to a psychiatric facility. (I and everyone else attributed these struggles to her father’s death when she was 9. I am her sole parent.) Finally, after seeing a post on a parent forum, I suggested psychological testing to her psychiatrist. We were all surprised at the diagnosis, though, after learning about ADHD, it fits her perfectly and explains ALOT of things about her.
To make a long story short, after a whole lot of drama, my straight-A-through-8th-grade student dropped out of high school and got a GED. She loves photography and has been accepted to a photography school about 8 hours from here. She was all for it, even a week ago when we visited the school, but is now totally flipping out about moving out into a student apartment (dorms are not available).
Truth be told, she is probably not ready to do so. Fearing relapses into depression (and suicide threats), for years I have been walking eggshells, doing way too much for her and letting things slide. She doesn’t misbehave in any serious way, but she doesn’t do much except what she wants to do. Her room could be on Hoarders, she does no chores, procrastinates eternally on anything I ask her to do (and gets very angry defiant if I stand there and make her do it…not always does it get done, sometimes she leaves the house.)
In spite of all this, we actually are quite close, and she confides in me about many things and usually comes to me for advice and help. But, ever since she was a toddler, she has resisted my every effort to teach her things, help keep her organized, etc. (She is smart and survived on that until things got more complex). Now, she is more vehemently opposed to my help than ever, saying “I’m not a baby, I’m 18, I should be able to do this myself. But I can’t do anything right!”
I’ve accepted that photo school is unlikely to happen this fall. She sees that and is beating herself up (again) as a huge failure as her peers skip away to college. When she gets like this, I fear a relapse into self-harm.
She doesn’t like school, and doesn’t want to go to community college; sees that as a failure. She does’t want an ADHD coach or any more therapy; she has declared herself a lost cause, nothing will help her. She doesn’t want me to help her set up a schedule. She will probably get herself a job (she already worked at Starbucks and did surprisingly well there), then fritter away her money as fast as she earns it. She will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.
I am not even sure where to start, but I know she needs to be on board for addressing the problem. My first thought is to get her an ADHD coach. But how can I help her see that she needs to take action to learn how to manage her condition?
I love her and want to help…but I am exhausted and my patience is very worn from all the drama she creates and all the mopping up of messes I’ve had to do. I am also feeling like a failure for not being a “stricter” mom…in trying to be nice and loving, I’ve made her situation worse!
Sorry for being so long-winded….as I said this is pretty new to me.
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