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Being the difficult child.

From childhood to adulthood.

By Billie WhytePublished 12 months ago 6 min read

It felt apt that today vocal would publish a paper with, 200 non-fiction prompts, including a prompt in which we're encouraged to write about a time when we've had to face a difficult truth.

Today was the day so it would seem, so here I am to rise to the challenge in this journal entry come (un-official) vocal challenge.

Today, I found out I was the difficult child.

You might think "well that's not much of a difficult truth" but it was.

In all honesty, I'd thought that the difficult one amongst us was my younger brother seeing as my mum and him were often arguing all others through the day and sometimes into the night.

They'd continue to conflic and disagree into his twenties and my mum into her fifties, but as a matter of fact, it was agreed tonight that I was the difficult child.

Whilst it may sound like my mum and four brothers have appeared to just come out with it and agree, it was actually necessary for a mental health diagnosis that me and my mum had a conversation about my behaviours between the age of 7 and 12 years of age.

"There are 15 questions mum, and they're scale rated from never or rarely to sometimes, often and very often. I need you to answer really honestly but I'm sure you will" I joked.

"Okay, fire away" she replied.

"Question 1. Have I ever failed to give close attention to details or made careless mistakes in my homework"

She paused for a second before responding with "No, I'd say never or rarely. You were pretty bright in school. What's the next one."

"Okay, did I ever fidget with my hands or feet or squirm in my seat"

"Very often. Fiddlefingers." She replied, swiftly.

Fiddlefingers was my nickname as a child, simply because I was always touching things and breaking them when I did. My mum used to joke that my younger brother never broke anything because I never left him anything to break.

"Did I ever have difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or fun activities"

"I'd say often, I gave up spending money on hobbies for you to take up because you'd drop them and pick up something else after a few weeks. You tried skating, karate, Football. I remember spending a fortune on your karate outfit and you took two lessons and gave it up."

"I still flit between hobbies and activites now" I joked proudly, in an attempt to lighten what was now beginning to reveal itself as a private roasting. She meant well. And I needed her to be honest for the sake of this screening assessment.

"Next." She said through the speakerphone.

"Did I ever leave my seat in the classroom or other situations which sitting was expected" I continued.

"You never left your seat at home, but that's because you'd never sit in one to begin with. You were always sitting on the floor. I'd say never or rarely"

"Cool. Okay the next one says didn't listen to when spoken to directly"

She paused for a minute as she had to recollect my behaviours between 7 and 12, knowing that I'm now almost 30.

"Bloody hell, this is quite difficult isn't it. I wouldn't say so, your eyes would wander but you always looked to be listening. I'd say never or rarely."

I continued to circle the answers give, seeing that the form was paper only and she's 450 miles away and as the questions got more and more frequent, the more comfortable my mum got with her answers and the analysis of my behaviour.

The kicker came when I had to ask the question - 'Did I ever have difficult awaiting my turn'. I never would've expected my mum to say what she said but I needed the brutal honest truth in order to gain access to the services and support I desperately need right now and this screening was the beginning of what I now know will be an incredibly difficult process.

Oh absolutely, if it wasn't your turn you'd throw the most horrific tantrums. Sometimes, we'd all have to go home and particularly at birthday parties, you were a nightmare.

I've been a 'sensitive' person my entire life. I quote sensitive because that's all I've ever heard in response to what now has the potential to be sensory overload.

The thing is, at 30 years of age and 15 years of being told I have anxiety and depression, I've been told that I may well have ADHD of the innattentive kind. Simply put, I get overwhelmed and I get distracted to the point where my education, social life, relationships and financial stability has all suffered.

I burst into tears over what might seem like nothing, but after 15 questions about my behaviour and what it was like to live with me, I felt serious sympathy for my family. I felt the pain of being a burden.

"This must be really hard for you, having to hear this" my mum said after a moments silence on my end. "Are you okay Dolly?"

"I needed you to be honest and that's what you're doing. I'm really sorry mum" I sincerely replied.

"You were a difficult child for reasons different to the others and we had to learn to cope without support. And god knows I tried. But in the end we had to do it as a family, and we all still love you to pieces. Ultimately, you needed time that I struggled to give you and I needed support that wasn't there. If you were difficult on purpose, then it'd be different but we're now learning that there's a possible reason behind it and that's okay. We'll deal with that too."

"I just feel so bad for you and the boys, you were a single mum of 5 and we all needed time. But we also needed food, clothes, school uniforms and all sorts. I'm really sorry mum. I didn't mean to be difficult."

"Perhaps difficult is the wrong word. You were challenging, incredibly bright but challenging and that's exaclty what this is all about. This screening, this diagnosis, you're one step closer to getting the help you need for something we've suspected for years."

I felt such a pain in my heart, and over something that might seem small but being that I don't remember a lot of my childhood, it was hard to hear about the tantrums, the attention seeking behaviour, the inability to do as I was told and the general stress that I caused. I was never a perfect kid, and no-one ever expected me to be, but I genuinely had no idea of the chaos I caused growing up and I felt horrific and so self conscious about how many of these behaviours I carried into adulthood.

In some ways, my mum is right. This is potentially the beginning of the end of a 2 and a half decade long mystery. How I've gotten this far without anyone suspecting ADHD is beyond me, but apparently it manifests differently in girls that it does boys which could be one of the reasons.

Stay tuned feels like an apt way to end this piece. In a years time, maybe me and my potentially neurodivergant brain will have some more stories to tell.


About the Creator

Billie Whyte

Forever wingin' it.

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  • Steffany Ritchie12 months ago

    Our parents do the best they can, and you were just a child doing your best in the environment you were in. Best of luck on your journey to find answers, so many people get diagnosed as adults now it seems, it's so unfortunate so many have to suffer through childhood without the right suppor though.

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