I was diagnosed with ADHD and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) just a few months ago, but I've struggled with both of these 'differences' for the last 25 years of my life. PMDD is PMT's scary sister that can leave women feeling depressed, anxious, overwhelmed and unable to cope.Read More
Wherever there is light, there is dark. Life makes us walk in the dark days, so we can appreciate the days that are full of joy. When the sun comes out, we always feel happier. You can find yourself just closing your eyes and letting the beautiful sunbeam shine on your face; it truly is magical. And even on the darkest of nights, the stars still twinkle. Sometimes we can just stop and stare into space, looking up into the vastness of the universe. The beautiful stars that twinkle give us hope and many of us make wishes on them.Read More
This week's video blog is all about spirituality and oppositional defiance disorder (ODD). The label 'Oppositional defiance disorder' makes us look at these children in an entirely different way.
It's a label full of fear. We don't need to be fearful of these children; we just need to love them.
Wow, it’s been a while since I sent out a blog, times flies when you're having fun and being a mum to an ADHD child is never dull that's for sure! If you follow me on social media, you'll have seen that things are getting very exciting at the Susy Parker camp! If you’ve missed any of that, I thought I would send you an update to let you know that I'm working on a FREE Ebook for parents.Read More
I remember the day my daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with ADHD like it was yesterday. Even though this was three years ago, I still remember all the feelings and emotions running up to that day. I got up extra early that morning and made a special effort with my clothes. Instead of my usual throw-anything-on look, I put on smart clothes, some makeup, accessories and found a big smile. "If I looked well dressed and presented, maybe the psychologist would think that I was a good mother". Maybe then, I could allow myself to believe I was a good mother. But, nothing could have been further from the truth.Read More
For most of my adult life, I've been friends with fear. To the outside world, it doesn't look I’m friends with fear. I seem confident, happy, enthusiastic, bright and shiny, but my inner world is often full of fear and self-doubt. I've always been the same. One of the only people who truly see’s my fear is my husband, but I’m not even sure that he fully see’s it - I hide it so well.Read More
Two years ago, our life looked very different. The situation with our daughter who was seven at the time consumed my daily thoughts, and when I imagined our future all I could see was darkness. Even the pediatrician was asking me the darkest of questions:Read More
Two years ago I was going through one of the hardest times in my life, yet most days I uploaded photographs of my wonderful life and kids onto social media, and hashtagged about family, love and happiness. Today I want to share the real life behind the photographs to prove to people that behind most happy social media photographs is a world of hurt. These are my #reallife photographs!
My two daughters building sandcastles in the palm tree shadows in Noosa, Australia. I remember hashtagging the living daylights out of this photo. Hashtag daughters, hashtag happy, hashtag family. But what a load of tosh that was as I was sad, unhappy and struggling to parent my eldest daughter, who at the time was seven years old. This picture was taken two years ago when we were right in the middle of our ADHD journey with Sarah. We were on a road trip from Cairns to Brisbane and shortly after this picture was taken I completely lost my shit! It was a sweltering day and being so hot and sticky seemed to amplify the situation! Sarah had a massive screaming fit; I ended up screaming back at her, and then the other two kids started crying. I also started crying and as we drove off I noticed a family sitting on the deck of their house. I saw their faces; they had witnessed everything. I hated myself, and I hated who I had become.
This picture was in Cairns during the same road trip. It was a beautiful warm night, so the children ran off to play in the Esplanade lagoon by the beach. I was so used to losing Sarah, but on this night I decided not to be my usual 'helicopter mum', and to be more relaxed like all the other parents. I watched Sarah and her sister happily play in the pool with all the other kids and snapped this picture and posted to Instagram, hashtagging again about happiness and family. Minutes later, I realised that I had lost Sarah. I started to panic and ran around everywhere shouting her name. I was now definitely not like the other calm Mums who stood around chatting with children at their feet. I spent the next five minutes (which felt like a lifetime) running around frantically looking for Sarah. I eventually found her, screamed at her and found myself once again feeling like the worst Mum ever.
The picture I took of Sarah when she was going through her ‘car surfing’ faze. It was during a time when I was trying to embrace the ‘crazy’. I had no idea what the hell to do about her behaviour and shouting and timeouts were only making things worse. So, I tried to go with it - but this also didn’t work! Moments after posting it to Instagram and hashtagging about embracing my 'fun loving' daughter, Sarah had a meltdown. It took us about forty minutes to get her into the car. She was screaming, running off, hiding and shouting at us all. I cried buckets and told myself what a failure I was as a Mum.
I think it's so important for Mums to know that behind most of those 'happy photos' someone is going through something that they are to scared to share. They may have fallen out of love with their husband; they may hate being a mother and want so badly to go back to how things were when they were single. They may have had the worst row with their partner, family, friends or kids. They may be suffering from crippling anxiety, depression or loneliness. We all have something; every single one of us.
I wrote 'Saving Sarah' for all the Mums that are doing what I was doing. The Mums who are too scared to tell anyone the truth about their child. The Mums who hide what's going on because they feel they will be judged or their child will be judged. I wrote it for the Mums who are struggling so much to cope that have found themselves on antidepressants just to be able to function. To the Mums who’s relationships are falling apart because all they think, talk and dream about is their child. The Mums who are self-loathing and telling themselves that they are a failure. I wrote it for you.
You are not a failure; you are a hero. A hero because you are going through this pain every single day of your life. A hero for trying so hard to protect your child, your family and your relationship. You are at this point in your life, because your life has something to show you. It may not feel like it now, but this journey will eventually teach you something about you, your past, your life and everything that you are. You are being tested right now, but you can do this - the Universe has your back!
And remember; 'no one's life is as perfect as their social media', we are all going through something. Every, single, one of us. #reallife.
The last two weeks have been pretty incredible not only for me but also for little Sarah. My three very best friends from the UK have been staying with us. They left their partners and kids and travelled 9000 miles so we could share some very special memories together.
We have known each other for 25 years, and they are like my sisters. I love the safeness and familiarity that comes with that, and Sarah has loved it too. We emigrated to Australia almost three years ago, and while we love having visitors stay with us, Sarah finds the change in routine hard.
My last blog 'Inside the mind of an ADHD woman' was the first time I have shared what goes on inside my head. I guess it's not something that people do, but after I'd posted it, I felt a huge weight lifted, and I felt lighter in some way.
I've had so many women contact me and tell me they felt the same (some men too); they told me how much the article helped, so I'm so glad I wrote it. I think as humans we feel somewhat 'normal' when we are connected to other human beings. Connection is everything. And in this crazy, fast-moving world that we now live in, we need human connection more than ever.
I have never been diagnosed with ADHD, but after my daughter was diagnosed two years ago, I came to realise that I probably have ADHD too! Every ADHD book I have read feels like it's written for me and I tick every box in the ADHD questionnaires.
For me, it's been like an awakening. Suddenly my haphazard, dreamy, chaotic and at times, manic personality all made sense. For the first time, I can truly embrace myself instead of trying to be like everyone else. Finally, I am enough (well I think I am but I change my mind all the time)!
When Sarah was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, we went along to see a Naturopath. The Naturopath tested Sarah for various deficiencies and told me that we should take dairy and gluten out of Sarah's diet immediately. She also arranged for Sarah to have different blood tests and when the results came back, it showed that Sarah was low in vitamin D, vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, iron and a few other things.
We started Sarah on supplements, and we have continued with these ever since. Every day, Sarah takes zinc, magnesium, inositol, omega 3 & 6 fish oils and we use various essential oils too. At the time of having the tests we also gave her a vitamin B and D supplement, and shortly after, she had an iron infusion as she was anaemic.
I have lost count of the number of times I have been in called in to meet with Sarah's teachers. It began when she was just three years old and had bitten another child at Nursery. At four years old, I was called into the school as she wasn't displaying any signs of empathy.
Then when Sarah was five, I was called in again, as she would often not listen to the teacher and was unable to sit still. However, I don't think anything could have prepared me for how often I would be called into school when Sarah turned six. At one point I was called in every week, sometimes twice a week.
Most of the children in Sarah's school had their NAPLAN results on Friday, but Sarah misplaced hers, which is the norm in our family. It was probably sitting next to her missing lunchbox, which was next to her missing homework bag, next to her missing shoes (I mean who loses their school shoes - they are on her feet)!
We always find them, sitting on a wall or they are left outside her class, or in the lost property box, so all is good; everything turns up in the end. It doesn't faze me anymore. So unlike the rest of the Australian children, we didn't receive Sarah's Naplan results until Tuesday. She took them out of her bag and ran to me clutching the envelope in her hands!
As you probably know by now, I have a tendency to write the longest blog posts (I am also well known for leaving the longest answer machine messages too)!
So, I thought this week I would make a little video for you all instead! The post-it note love is something that we started doing with Sarah about a year ago. I would leave little post-it notes in her lunch box or school bag, or somewhere in her room.
It was a rainy, stormy Sunday afternoon and I was on the phone to the ADHD counsellor. I had been frantically trying to reach her for a few days, so I was so relieved that she called me that day.
At the time, I had no idea how to parent or help my daughter as she struggled with ADHD and Anxiety. Panic attacks were a daily occurrence in our family life, although it wasn't my husband and I that were having panic attacks, it was our seven-year-old daughter, Sarah*.
Parenting a child with ADHD is one thing, but when they have ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), then the fun really starts! I am happy to say that Sarah* no longer has ODD and while she still has ADHD and always will, for us, this now is only a positive thing.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a childhood behavioural problem characterised by constant disobedience and hostility. Around 40% of children with ADHD will also suffer from ODD, but for us as a family, we struggled with this the most.
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.