For any parent watching their child receive a merit certificate in the school assembly, is a 'proud parent moment'.
The anticipation, the smiles, the joy, the happiness. To see their face, light up as they hear their name, to watch them receive their merit, and to catch their glance and give them a thumbs up! For many parents, you can stop and breathe a sigh of relief as you must be doing something right.
For some, moments like these don't come along that often, which is why when they do; they are so special. For my husband and I, it was more than a proud moment; it was a miracle.
Life is so different to how it looked 12 months ago. A year ago I didn't even recognise myself; I was more lost than I could have ever imagined. I was fearful of the future, depressed and anxious, and my only glimpse of hope was an antidepressant that I popped every day.
I was medicated to help me cope, and my daughter Sarah* (then aged seven) was taking a concoction of pharmaceutical drugs every day. The only person who knew how hard things had become was my husband Kyle* and life partner of 16 years. But even during those times, I am not sure that he even recognised me.
It's true when they say you have to hit rock bottom to find yourself. Our life should have been idyllic; we had recently emigrated from the UK to Australia and had a wonderful life in Perth. My social media feed looked like we were living the dream, but little did people know, we were living in hell.
Everyone's hell looks different. Mine was because we had no idea how to parent our ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, anxious, angry, scared, depressed and unhappy seven-year-old daughter. Medication was only masking the symptoms, and when the medication wore off, the hell was still there. And on top of the drugs, I had an array of 'experts' telling me how to 'fix' my daughter, but none of them could. So 12 months ago, broken, depressed and at rock bottom, I decided that I had to fix it, I had to make everything right.
There were many things that we had to change to start the process. We changed Sarah's diet, our parenting, her school (we were kindly asked to leave). We stopped seeing all the experts; we added essential oils and supplements into her daily routine and started to use an 'easy' reward system. We stopped the medication, as for us, the side effects outweighed the benefits. We refrained from shouting, time-outs and ridiculing, and we stopped listening to the 'bad noise' about to fix our daughter.
We united as a family, and we began learning how to Live, Love and Laugh with ADHD. And even when things were hard, we ignored the bad, praised the good and gave her infinite love. We believed every day that a miracle could happen and that we could get our daughter back.
Today, Sarah’s future looks very different. She is brave, she is resilient, she is strong and kind, but most importantly she has taught all of us that even in the face of adversity, you can rise up and shine.
The journey wasn’t easy. It took courage, patience and strength, as I went against all medical advice and took the biggest leap of faith I had ever taken…and it worked!
I am sharing Sarah's story to let other parents know that there can be another way and that miracles do happen because a miracle happened to us.
With love & light,
* the names have been changed to protect identities