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Sunday, November 23, 2014

ADHD in Church

I wrote a talk that I was able to share to my church today. I thought I would share with all of you since a big part of it was ADHD related. Many people were very loving and kind and a woman came up to me after saying her and her son were diagnosed as well. It is never easy telling people I have ADHD but it is worth it....

Today I would like to talk about gratitude; more specifically how I am grateful for the trials I have seen in my life whether physical, emotional, mental, or financial.

Elder M. Russell Ballard talks about his experience saying “Recently, a friend of mine took his son on a trip down the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, located in southeastern Utah. The canyon is famous for its 14 miles of white-water rapids that can be particularly hazardous.

At the beginning of the trip, one of the experienced river guides reviewed important safety instructions, emphasizing three rules that would ensure the group’s safe travel through the rapids. “Rule number one: stay in the boat! Rule number two: always wear a life jacket! Rule number three: always hold on with both hands!” He then said again, with even more emphasis, “Above all, remember rule number one: stay in the boat!”
This adventure reminds me of our mortal journey. Most of us experience periods in our lives where the tranquil waters of life are appreciated. At other times, we encounter white-water rapids that are metaphorically comparable to those found in the 14-mile stretch through Cataract Canyon—challenges that may include physical and mental health issues, the death of a loved one, dashed dreams and hopes, and—for some—even a crisis of faith when faced with life’s problems, questions, and doubts.
The Lord in His goodness has provided help, including a boat, essential supplies such as life jackets, and experienced river guides who give guidance and safety instructions to help us make our way down the river of life to our final destination.” end quote.
I know I have seen many experiences in my life where Heavenly Father has made sure I have instructions, a life jackets, or a helping hand.
A year and a half ago I was pregnant expecting our sixth baby, Ryder. On top of being very huge, tired, and sore we were preparing to move to Idaho and have Russell start school. We decided to move in two trips and on the first load we thought it would be smart to move all of our furniture. I was due in just a couple of weeks but for some reason sending all of our couches and chairs away did not worry me at all.

I quickly found out that the discomfort of pregnancy was amplified greatly by only being able to sit on the floor. To put it bluntly I was not very happy and actually in a lot of pain.

A good friend found out our situation and brought over a nice, comfy, padded rocking chair. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I ended up sitting more and packing for our move less every day.

I was due the same day we planned to move. Ryder did not want to wait that long though because two days before we were going to move we had a small scare that encouraged me to go to the hospital and have our baby.

I was not prepared. My house was a complete mess, there was tons of packing left to do, and I was overwhelmed. I would not recommend moving and having a baby at the same time.

Alison Palmer says “None of us likes to admit that we are unable to help ourselves. Usually the need for help comes in times of crisis or change in our lives. The changes may be brief or long lasting, but they require an adjustment that makes it difficult or impossible to fulfill our responsibilities. These are the times when we ask for help.” end quote.

While I was in the hospital enjoying my new baby I found out that my good friends in the Relief Society joined together to clean, do my laundry, pack, and organize my house. I wanted to be embarrassed by how much was not done but I knew I needed help and I had to humble myself to accept their service.

Ether 12:27 says: “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

I am so grateful I had good friends who were there for me without judgement and full of love and support. Looking back now I know I could not have done that move alone.

Last year we experienced a very hard emotional and mental trial. My son Bryan was having a really hard time in school and at home. There were big problems making it hard for our family to be happy. I felt like a bad mom because I could not help my son, and I felt huge amounts of guilt that I must have gone wrong somewhere as a mother. Our family reached our breaking point where we finally sought medical help with our situation and we were able to find out Bryan has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder also known as ADHD.

While talking with our doctor we found there were many options that we could pursue to help Bryan. Talking to our doctor was one of the best choices we have made for our family.

Elder Holland said this about  mental illness or emotional disorders “If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.” end quote

I am so grateful for the help we have found for Bryan. I love seeing him happy, successful, and accepted.

After finding help for my son I felt this growing need to understand my own personal struggles. I found myself struggling with depression and feeling worthless. It seemed no matter how hard I tried I could never do all that I wanted to do. I was unorganized and emotional. I was living with great amounts of anxiety because of things I would forget despite my best efforts, important meetings, bills, or worse when I would let my kids down forgetting my activities with them.

Everyone told me it was okay and it was normal to struggle with six kids but I knew it was something more. I was not functioning the way I knew I should be able to. I searched, I prayed, and it was then while searching for information to help Bryan that I came across Adult ADHD symptoms. The struggles I have experienced my whole life suddenly made sense.

I wasn’t crazy, I was not alone, and there was help available for me. I felt a huge amount of relief and understanding. You would think after seeing my doctor for my son it would be easy for me to see him for my own struggles but I was scared. I was worried I would be judged and that people would think I could not be a good mom if I had Attention Deficit Disorder.

Elder Holland Says: “I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, of brief duration or persistent over a lifetime. We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and chromosome defects, of bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia. However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.” end quote

I knew I needed help for myself and my family so I went to see my doctor. It was last January when I was diagnosed with ADHD. I could never express fully the gratitude I feel for the help my son and I have received. We have grown leaps and bounds and our lives are better because of it.

Lastly I would like to talk about financial trials.

Last week Russell and I thought there was a chance we could move into a nicer home for our kids. We were excited about the idea until suddenly it did not work out. I was devastated. I became tired and weary of working so hard and sacrificing so much to get Russell through school. It felt as if our time to thrive financially would never come.

President Thomas S. Monson says “When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given.” end quote.

I know together as a family we can make any place a home. It is when I remember how grateful I am for our home, for Russell’s education, for our kids, and for our marriage that I find happiness and peace.

Satan wants us to believe we do not have enough. He wants us to focus on what we do not have because then we become selfish and unhappy just as he is.

I fell into that trap of despair. Elder Uchtdorf says “Everyone’s situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.
We can be grateful!
It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.” end quote.
This last week I had to make a hard choice and quit a small part time job I had. It made it possible for us to have a little more material possessions but Russell and I felt it was not very good for our kids.

The next day after quitting my job I was discouraged and wondering if I made the right choice. Then through the day I saw my kids thriving and I could see their happiness with our new change. I knew Heavenly Father was helping me see I made the right choice.

President Thomas S. Monson said “Do material possessions make us happy and grateful? Perhaps momentarily. However, those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us. Unfortunately, these are some of the things we allow ourselves to take for granted.” end quote.

Brothers and sisters this Thanksgiving I encourage you to look through your trials and see the blessings you have in your life. I know that they are there and that Heavenly Father is aware of all of us and is aware of our struggles. He gives us so much to be grateful for and we can find peace and happiness when we remember all we have been given.

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