Life Before the Diagnosis

Life has gotten pretty darn hard lately and to be honest, I have not been able to roll with the punches as easily. When L was little, he had a severe speech delay and tons of sensory issues. It was difficult when he was so little and was overwhelmed by so much and then he couldn’t tell us what was bothering him. There were days when a seam on his socks or tag on his shirt would ruin his entire day. He has come so far the past few years and I am so proud of him.

I feel like we were so focused on L and his needs that we didn’t truly notice what was happening with D. D has always been very attached to me. I am his safe space. Before he even turned 2, we noticed that he was misbehaving. A TON. We attributed it to the terrible twos. As time went on, he grew into the three-nager stage. At that point, we thought better of putting him in preschool until he could better regulate his emotions. We felt he simply wasn’t ready. Fast forward to February of this year and I finally had to take him to the pediatrician. J and I were at our wits end. His behavior was terrible, he was still unable to regulate his emotions. The hitting, kicking, throwing toys, lashing out was happening numerous times every day and it was having an effect on the family, each family member individually and our marriage. D was having night terrors and sleepwalking. He was also waking in the middle of the night, staying awake for a few hours before being able to fall back to sleep.

Our pediatrician thought it could be ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and suggested we see a therapist who would be able to shed more light on what is happening. After meeting with the therapist, she suggested that D has ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) with anxiety as well as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Hearing all of this shook me to my core. How can such a little person already have all of these huge feelings?! How long have I been yelling at him for something he cannot control?! What did I do to bring all of this on?! Yes, I know it wasn’t anything I did but when I heard all of this, it was my knee-jerk reaction.

Once I calmed down and was able step back and look at things, I had to wonder how I missed so many of the signs. The lack of eye contact or even talking in public. The screaming and crying at things that seemed small or insignificant. His constant anger and frustration. I can’t just hug him, he has to choose when I can hug. There are times when he wants to lean against me but I am not allowed to wrap my arms around him.

Let me tell you. It sucks. A lot. I want to be able to hug my son. I want people to know how amazing and smart and funny he is. I want people to not stare in the store when he is having a meltdown and I can’t leave because I still have to buy groceries for my family.

D is starting preschool this fall and it is so bittersweet. It just a few weeks away and I can feel my anxiety creeping up with each passing day. I have been lucky enough to have him home with me for 4 years and it will be so strange to not have him here 4 days a week, all day long. I am scared for him because he doesn’t handle transitions well. I am hopeful that this will be good for him.

Starting in November, we will be going through the evaluation process. Once we have the official diagnosis/diagnoses, he will be able to get so much more therapy and help. We are fortunate enough to have a great pediatrician right up the road who really wants to help in any way she can. Our schools are wonderful too.

Things have been super busy lately but I feel like school will give him the added stability he needs. I hope in a few months I will be able to write that he is thriving and things are well!

As always, thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

XO,

Meghan

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