So there you are…walking out of the pediatricians office (and if you are anything like me) with tear-stained cheeks and a heavy heart having just heard that your precious child has ADHD. Our journey to get here was a long one but if your path was shorter..consider yourself lucky. Now you can start thinking about what’s next. Some parents grieve and others celebrate the fact that they have finally found the reason behind all of the chaos. Me? I did a little of both.
Wether you are jumping for joy or drowning your sorrows in a pint of mint chip a crucial first step is to find a community of parents facing similar challenges. “It takes a village to raise a child” is especially important for those parents of children with special needs. I tried to go it alone and hide my daughter’s diagnosis for many years but it wasn’t until I took that very scary first step and opened the doors that the light shone on the possibility for a brighter future.
Finding your Tribe Online
The World Wide Web can be a very overwhelming time suck!!! I’m not going to tell you to avoid doing that Google search on ADHD because I know you will do it…of course you will because I did too. SEVERAL TIMES!! Try to weed out the good stuff and just don’t click on all that negative stuff. Impulse control…yes us parents have to flex that muscle too. Check out the list of a few of my favorite resources below.
CHADD – The National Resource on ADHD
The ADHD Momma
Another little niche of the internet where lots of sympathetic parents hangout is Facebook Groups. I just discovered this gem recently myself. It has been an amazing resource to vent my frustrations and feel the camaraderie as I read the struggles of other parents just like me.
Here’s how to find them:
log into your FB account
type ADHD in the little search window at the top of your screen
then click on Groups
For me there was a looooong list of groups and you can get very specialized if you want to. Look for just a few that seem to fit for you and ask to join. I wouldn’t go crazy joining too many or your FB notifications might blow up with all the notices as new posts are made.
Hashtags are another way to find other like-minded parents online. Do a search on your social media site of choice, #ADHD or #AHDHparent…you might find inspiration.
Mixing with the Locals
This is the hard one for me. Here I am toting the advantages of building your tribe but I have only taken baby steps to do this on a local level. I mentioned in a prior post that I went public with my family’s struggles with ADHD just last October. After my very public campaign to end the stigma surrounding ADHD I did have quite a few friends reach out to me that were facing similar challenges. We met over coffee or commiserated via text messages. I could feel their fears in exposing their struggles but I always walked away reassured that I’m not alone. One of my goals for ADHDaze is to create a community where parents feel safe to share their journey.
Another way to build your tribe locally is to join your local chapter of CHADD. I have joined mine over a year ago but have yet to attend a meeting. I have lots of excuses (too far away, husband is traveling, etc etc) but I am DOING IT!! No more excuses! The meeting is planned for next week and to show you all (and myself) the importance of building a community I have put it on the calendar.
This all seems like a lot of work….attending meetings, researching reliable sources and monitoring online groups. Yes it can be and that’s why I resisted building my tribe for such a long time. But consider the alternative, facing what could be a lifelong struggle for your family alone. ADHD can affect almost every aspect of your daily life (social interactions, appetite, travel, school, holidays, the list goes on and on). Why would you want to face this alone? Your tribe is out there and will welcome you with open arms. I hope ADHDaze is a place you can feel safe. For those of you that have taken the first step please share your journey.