School’s out for Summer!

For most people, summer is here. Kids are running wild, or running wild in a contained environment known as summer camp. Since I work in a school office, my hours get reduced to part time. I plan on utilizing my extra time to, hopefully, finish my second novel. I also hope to get time to take pictures with my new camera that Stu got me for my birthday this year.

Here are some samples:

Have a wonderful summer!

End of School = IEP Meetings

The end of the school year is here, which explains my absence from writing for the past couple weeks. I work in the office of a school and have two children so May is a bit hectic. Then, add on the IEP meetings that happen at the end of the school year and I have no time to breath.

I am writing today to tell you all what happened before my daughter’s IEP meeting this year. Everything seemed to go smoothly, all paperwork seemed to be in order. She goes to a small private school, the same one I work at, so I am able to talk to the teacher’s daily, get one on one with the resource teacher, and also see the county teacher weekly that comes in to see kids that had public school IEP’s to help them and/or see how they are progressing. It is a wonderful program that the state of Florida has for school choice. Kit Cat has been doing very well in the small school setting. She has gone from struggling everyday to gaining confidence and this year she is consistently earning mostly B’s on her report card. The improvement in grades is based on many aspects of her learning experience. The small classroom sizes (there are only 12 students in her math class), the one on one with all the teachers (the teachers are always happy to help outside of the classroom), the resource teachers are wonderful at helping her with organization and homework, and the county teachers have helped her with her writing, reading, and vocabulary. All of this support adds up to above average grades.

This should have been a time to celebrate. We have all worked as a village to help my daughter. Both private school and county educators. Kit Cat is the poster child for why school choice and private and county teachers working together will equal success. However, one person in the county office, who has never even met my daughter, decided that her successes and hard work means her IEP should be pulled away from her. She is successful so therefore she should no longer receive help of any kind in the form of an IEP.

I knew that this was a bullying tactic to remove the help from my daughter. Some teacher’s in Florida do not like school choice and do not like that my daughter was failing horribly in the public school setting and is now flourishing in the private schools – proving the importance of school choice for parents. We moved around a bit, so Kit Cat went to public schools in 3 states and struggled in all public schools – so it isn’t Florida’s public schools, it is how public schools are structured. If Kit Cat was going to continue in private schools, this would not have mattered to me. However, she will be going to a public high school in a year. The private school choices for high school are too expensive and several of the public school choices are too good to pass up in our area. As stated in a previous post, the public schools are good schools and Paddy has gone to them for eleven years. So, its not like a hate public schools. Kit Cat will need that IEP when she goes to 9th grade.

So, this county bully wanted to remove the IEP because Kit Cat was doing well in school. She is not a part of the Committee so I knew she has no say in this. An IEP can only be dismissed if the entire committee – parent included – agrees to it. No one on her committee felt removing the IEP was in Kit Cat’s best interest. So, why was this county bully trying so hard to remove the IEP? Simply put, in the safeguards that the county always sends to parents, there is nothing in it about dismissing the IEP. This bully didn’t know that I knew my parental federal rights on this. I made sure that she was aware that I knew my rights and naturally, she backed down before the IEP meeting. But, all this stress on me and Kit Cat’s teachers was unnecessary. This bully didn’t even know that I had a parental right to put in the IEP that my child is medicated for her ADHD. She wanted that removed. She learned a swift lesson in the fact that parents do have rights and she cannot bully me.

I want to make this clear, that this was only one bully. All the other county teachers and county representatives have been doing their jobs beautifully and have truly worked miracles with my daughter. But one bully could have changed my daughters educational future if I didn’t know my rights.

My lesson to you all – make sure you know your federal parental rights. There are classes you can take on your rights. Parents have far more rights than schools like for you to know about. And federal rights always trump state rights. Federal rights also trump county rights. Know your rights if you have a child in the IEP system. There are also parental advocates too. Look them up. Educate yourself. You are the best advocate for your child.

I Think a Little Thought and Panic

Sometimes psychology is behind the times.  I know it sounds odd because all of us with some form of mental disorder always rely heavily on the findings of psychological studies.  However, there are times when the pro’s just don’t listen to us little people and it takes time for them to understand.  When it comes to something called “Intrusive Thoughts” in the ADHD adult, you will find resistance from some of the pro’s in believing you because “studies” just don’t say it is common for the ADHD adult and other factors are blamed.

However, if you go to forums like Reddit you find that there are so many adults out there that have been diagnosed with ADHD and have symptoms of intrusive thoughts that you just have to wonder why psychology just won’t add ADHD to the list of mental disorders that have this phenomenon.  You can read more on it here, however you will note the lack of acknowledgment that adults with ADHD have it too.

I have talked to many adults with ADHD and this is something that we all seem to have in common.  When I talked to my past therapist or psychologist about it, they seemed to think that it stems from my depression and not my ADHD.  However, I have these thoughts all the time and not always when in my depressive state.  (For openness, I have major depressive disorder with generalized anxiety disorder that have learned to live with after over a decade of talk therapy.)  I can be at one of my happiest times watching my kids play and then BAM – horrible imagery of my kids falling and busting their heads open, along with the ambulance trip and hospital machines… yes, they are that vivid.  So, I just can’t believe it stems from my depression and NOT my ADHD.  My ADHD is with me always, my depression and anxiety come and go and are very well-trained now.

So, what are intrusive thoughts you might be asking?  It is a thought or thoughts that are usually violent, sexual, or blasphemous in nature and are unwanted and appear out of nowhere.  For me, they are very visual and usually violent.  Here is an example in meme form:

Intrusive thoughtSometimes when I am writing my books they appear and I just keep writing (per my therapist instructions) and rereading them can be terrifying.  However, rereading them has helped me to see them when they appear and stop them.  Yes, they get edited out of my stories because if I didn’t they would rival Stephen King in creepiness.  And of course, they have no place in my story.  Not to mention, how would the story continue considering all the characters would die gruesome deaths?  I mean, I write young adult novels, not George R. R. Martin type stories, where such writing is acceptable. But I digress yet again as I so often do here.

Recently, there have been studies showing that ADHD and Intrusive Thoughts are connected, so hopefully the psychological community will start to take notice.  My psychiatrist now does believe that it is from my ADHD, so I know that they are beginning to have open minds on the subject.

So, if you have ADHD and have these kinds of thoughts, know that it is okay for you to have them.  You are not a psychopath because of them.  It is okay to talk about them.  It ispanic-wallpaper-6-743320 okay to learn to deal with them.  I think some of the hesitation from the psychological peeps is because of the unwillingness of adults with ADHD to admit they have them.  It is difficult to talk about.  However, you have to talk about it so you can learn to deal with them and make them not so terrifying.

ADHD is a mental disorder.  It is so much more than just losing attention, interrupting people, and being hyperactive.  There are some very scary aspects to living with ADHD and intrusive thoughts is the scariest part.    Hang in there!

Sugar and the ADHD Mind

Not all sugar is created equal.  It is really that simple.  Especially when it comes to the ADHD mind.  For some reason, our symptoms seem to heighten or lesson depending on our consumption of sugar.  Now, many studies out there have told us emphatically that there is no link between ADHD symptoms being worse when sugar is introduced into the diet.  Yet, so many parents disagree with these scientists that there are hundreds if not thousands of blogs/forums proclaiming otherwise.  You see, the studies, in my humble opinion, are rigged.  They give kids a “sugar” drink to see the results.  It is my belief that they use sugarcane or beet sugar, not refined sugar, in these sugary drinks for these tests.  Several years ago I emailed these companies that do these studies (when I could find that information) and have exhausted myself trying to get the answer of what kind of sugar is used but no company will answer that question.

Let’s first discuss sugar, shall we?  Most people think it is a simple component that we use for baking, is yummy in treats and soda, and all around “bad” for us.  You will hear people discuss how unhealthy sugar is all the time, including on those health websites.  It is pure carb.  It has no nutritional value.  Etc. Etc.

The truth is, sugar is good for us, as long as we keep food chemists out of the equation.  (Sorry food chemists, I do love you, but not in this scenario.)

Let us begin.  There are two types of sugar:

Sugarcane – It is a grass.  Yup.  A grass.  Mills are used to extract the sugar from the stalks creating sugar in its true form.

Sugar beet – the roots of the beet are high in sugar.  With simple refining, sugar is produced.

Those two are the natural states of sugar.  Both are nutritious with Iron, protein Potassium, and calcium to name a few.  If left in these stages they are good for us, however the shelf life isn’t very long, so scientists made ways for it to have a longer shelf life.

Molasses or Black Treacle – This is when the stalks of cane sugar or the roots of the beet are boiled once to concentrate it.  It is also called Cane syrup on ingredient labels.  When cane sugar is boiled for a second time it is called ‘second molasses’ or ‘B molasses’ and boiled a third time is called ‘blackstrap molasses’ or ‘C molasses’.  In this form, one tablespoon contains up to 20% of our daily recommended value of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.   Is it just me, or does that sound like it has some nutritional value?  This form of sugar has a stable and longer shelf life.

This should have been where the refining of sugar ended.  But, it didn’t have a stable colorization to it, and didn’t look pretty.  Therefore, some more playing around with it was needed so it would be aesthetically pleasing.

Brown sugar – this is a bit strange, logically speaking.  One way to make Brown Sugar is to refine it to the crystallization stage but keeping a touch of molasses in it.  Or, it is taking completely refined sugar and adding molasses back into it.  Simply put – it is refined crystalized molasses.  Yes, you can use molasses mixed with refined sugar as a baking substitute for brown sugar.  It’s that simple.

White sugar (aka refined sugar, table sugar, granulated sugar, and regular sugar) – This sugar is made by refining the sugar so that it removes all the molasses from it.  Please see above for the health benefits of molasses.  This makes sugar completely useless in the nutrition factor.  It is pure sucrose.  Once this is done, cane sugar and beet sugar is chemically indistinguishable.  This form of sugar has an extremely long and stable shelf life.  Since it has no nutritional value, and has been reduced to its simplicity, it is easier to bake with and is aesthetically pleasing.  To put simply, we took all nutrition out of it so that it looks good and cooks easier.

But wait…there’s more insanity!

Now we have High Fructose Corn Syrup.  This isn’t even sugar, folks.  It’s made from Corn Starch.  How high fructose corn syrup is made is so complicated that I cannot easily describe it.  So, I’ll direct you to the Wikipedia page (which has a vast variety of highly credible references) to read on your own if you so desire.  It is by no logical persons definition, natural.  Yes, it uses natural products at the beginning and middle, but the end result is not something that Mother Nature would ever make on Her own.  It is made only in a laboratory and has absolutely no nutritional value and is quickly digested.

Recent studies have shown that High Fructose Corn Syrup can be addictive and can lead to other addictions.  But, I digress, as I so frequently do in my rants.

I did my own study on myself and my children.  High Fructose Corn Syrup made our ADHD symptoms severely worse even when we took our medication.  All three of us reacted poorly to it.  Another self-study showed that refined white sugar also made our symptoms worse, again, all three of us.  We did much better when consuming sugarcane or molasses.  The only problem is, it is almost impossible to buy pre-made foods that do not have refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup in it.  Our biggest problem is that I am a horrible cook.  Of course, we could go the ‘all natural’ route and shop only at farmers markets or whole food stores, but we simply cannot afford that!  The more addictive high fructose corn syrup is extremely cheap for some reason that defies logic.  Is it just me, or wouldn’t just one simple refining process on a food product make it cheaper to buy?  But heavily refined foods that require multiple layers of refining with employees in a laboratory is cheaper?

Can someone please explain that to me?

So, to sum this up.  Sugar is not created equal.  My own unscientific study has proven to me that the more natural and less refined the sugar is, the better it is for ADHD symptoms.  We watch our diets and sugar intake and I know when my kids have gone off the wagon and had a snickers.  Or, to be honest, they know when I go off he wagon and have M&M’s – my greatest, and most yummy, enemy.

Why does highly refined and labortory sugar taste so good?

*Feature image is that of “Bill the Cat” created by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed.  Bill the Cat is awesome.

A Lesson in Patience

Children with ADHD sometimes do not understand that nuances of socializing.  To them, everything should be simple.  However, pop culture plays an important role to the youth of today and if the ADHD child doesn’t give a hoot about what is popular for the day, then socializing can be painful at times.

Paddy is one of those children that is learning how important pop culture is to his friends.  For the most part, he is improving greatly and is finally finding his niche of friends and is “fitting in”.  As a parent, this has been a heartwarming journey to watch him go through.  I’m still nervous and terrified that everything will come crashing down, but do not let him know my feelings.  Things have been good for months now, and I really do believe this group is accepting him for who he is.  Whew!

We have raised him with the old-fashioned belief in chivalry, which I know is dying a slow and painful death.  However, Stu and I feel it is important for him to be chivalrous.  Last week, when there was a downpour of rain when the bus dropped the kids off at the bus stop, Paddy noticed that one of the girls did not have an umbrella nor a rain jacket.  Living in Florida, Paddy knows these are very important items to have during the rainy season so he offered his rain jacket to this girl, who was very grateful.  The next morning she gave it back to him.

Paddy then confided in me that he really thinks she is very annoying and has a hard time being around her and now all she wants to do is be around him.  He explained that she talks all the time, and even after people on the bus tells her to stop, she keeps talking.  He observed that she talked to herself for 20 minutes one day annoying all who was around her.

I thought on all this, and decided to have a talk with Paddy.  I began by reminding him how his sister annoys him so that he will pay attention to her.  I then explained that maybe this girl is being annoying because it is the only way she gets attention.  He remembered times when he was ignored and how badly that made him feel.  He agreed that maybe he shouldn’t judge her too harshly and try to be a bit more patient.

I never realized how difficult socializing can be.  I went to a very small school (graduating class of only 23 people) so all my classmates knew I was a bit off in the personality department and having so few people meant that for the most part I was accepted by them.  Heck, I think it made me stand out in a positive way with such few people.  I also was the youngest child in my family and my two sisters were quite popular, which probably helped to.  So, guiding Paddy has been a real experience.

Kit Cat has the personality of a bulldozer so these things never concern her.  Paddy is my gentle soul.  I pray for the world when it is time for me to send Kit Cat out into the world.  I worry everyday that Paddy will survive being on his own.  At least, he knows she has his back.

I love my kids.

On The Spectrum of Uncertainty

Several years ago I was asked by a friend to describe what I call “The Fog”.  This particular symptom of people with ADHD is also described by others a “mental fog” or the “brain fog”.  I prefer to call it simply “The Fog”.  This may be because of my love of everything horror and sci-fi.  It just sounds more mysterious to say “The Fog”.  Anywho…

The Fog has been described by many as being mentally stuck in the mud, or having cotton in your brain.  Other’s describe it as physically being awake while mentally still being asleep.  While others go even a step further and say it is like your brain is not really your own and it is almost impossible to control.  Almost.

I find these descriptions odd because none of those really sound like a “fog”, do they?  Yet, everyone seems to use the adjective of “fog” to describe it.  The funniest part of using this word is that it isn’t supposed to be an adjective at all!  It’s a noun.  Yet, here we are using it as an adjective to describe the noun of brain.  Oops, did I just let my nerd out?

So, what is “The Fog”?  It is when the ADHD brain becomes overstimulated and decides to be uncooperative.  It is a place of no or little emotion.  It is a place where everything moves mind numbing slow, yet so fast that it is impossible to comprehend.  It is a place where nothing seems real and everything is muted, and so darned loud.  It is frightening place to be.  Comprehension of surroundings is almost impossible.

Sometimes The Fog only lasts for an hour or two and I can get myself out.  Sometimes it can last days, and rarely for weeks.  You will find that people with ADHD will oftentimes not go to loud overpopulated places like sporting events or loud parties.  This is because that much stimulus will put us in The Fog and it is so scary that it isn’t worth setting ourselves up for it.  This can greatly reduce socializing, especially in early adulthood.

After explaining this to my friend she commented that I pretty much gave the same description as her sibling gave her who tried to describe her life being on the autism spectrum.  This got me thinking, at this time, are the two connected.  I was assured by the DSMV-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition) that autism and ADHD are two completely separate disorders and the two shall never combine.  However, it always nagged at me considering the similarities.

And then in 2013, the DSMV-5 came out and things changed.  It appears that studies were done and they decided that the two shall combine in some cases.  However, how much they combine seems to be under debate.  The CDC reports that 14% of people with ADHD are also on the spectrum.  CHADD reports that more than half of people with autism also have ADHD symptoms.

Because the DSMV-IV was positive that the two conditions shall never combine, very few studies have actually been done.  It is just now that these studies are beginning to happen, so I foresee many changes in how autism and ADHD will be seen in the future. Recent studies have shown that the two do have the same genetic risks so a change in thinking may be very soon in the future.

So, what does this mean for parents of children with ADHD?  Right now the school systems have ADHD listed as “Other Health Impairment” instead of ADHD.  This is because the system of how ADHD is viewed in schools hasn’t changed since 1975.  The schools refuse to look at ADHD as a true neurodevelopmental disorder.  If the APA (American Psychiatric Association) decides that ADHD is indeed on the spectrum, then the ADHD child will receive the much-needed help in the schools system.  However, this will further pigeonhole the child with the stigma of “special needs”.

It is a catch-22.  But, at least that will put us in with very good company.


I saw this on a social media site and thought how wonderful it is.

A Big shout out to all the Mom’s and Dad’s out there who have to manage not only their lives, but the lives of an ADHD child. If you haven’t heard this lately – You Rock!

Parent Reindeer Games

Dear Parents who are ashamed, embarrassed, or otherwise ignorant with ADHD children,


Just.  Stop.

You’re child needs you to be their advocate, not to quiet them.

You’re child needs you to be their voice, not to shush them.

You’re child needs you to be their rock, not to squash them.

You’re child needs you.

You’re child with ADHD is you’re child.  Just because they have a diagnosis of ADHD doesn’t mean that they need to be quiet about this diagnosis.  It just means that they need you to stand behind them in a Mama/Papa bear position a bit more.  They need you to arrange meetings at the schools that other parents don’t get.  They need you to be on a first name basis with their childrens’ teacher, something else that other parents rarely get.

They need you to climb onto the top of a mountain and shout to the heavens that you’re child is ADHD and announce to everyone that there is nothing wrong with that.  They need you to be proud of who they are and tell them that they have nothing to be ashamed of.

So, just stop telling them to be quiet about the diagnosis.

Have them climb the mountain with you and scream that they are perfect in who they are.  Be proud of them!

Stop being an embarrasment to them.  Yes, I said it.  It is not they who are embarrassing you, it is you who are embarrassing them.

They are who they are.  They need you.  And you know what?  You will find that when you accept their diagnosis, that you needed them to.  This is because ADHD children are remarkable in how they think.  They are remarkable when given the tools to shine.

All children are a blessing.  ADHD children are nothing more than just spices on the blessing.


An ADHD parent with ADHD children.

There be Criminals Out There

To medicate or not to medicate, that is not the question for this blog today.

There is no question, to be honest.  Let’s jump to the end and begin that the decision to medicate has already been made.  First, I must begin with a disclaimer:  Medication is not the answer to all the problems with ADHD.  You must have behavior management with the medication in order for it to work efficiently and affectedly.  But I digress.

The biggest problem with most of the medication for ADHD is not the side affects or the fact that, for the most part, you are pumping your body or your child’s body full of stimulants.  The biggest problem is that these stimulants are a controlled substance.  To put specifically, they are a Schedule II drug in the Controlled Substance Act for the United States.  They are in the same class of drugs as Opium, Codeine, and PCP.  This means we must jump through hoops, perform stupid human tricks, and a bunch of other time squelching and mind numbing performances just to get our legal prescription filled.

The reason for this is because there be criminals out there who sell these drugs or misuse these drugs.  Therefore everyone must be treated like a criminal first and we must then prove we are not criminals in order to get our much-needed medication.

So goes the must be innocent until proven guilty thought process right down the proverbial toilet.  And so the insanity begins.

For my children, in order to get their prescription I must physically go to the doctor’s office every month and pick up the piece of paper (which, by the way, would be very easy to duplicate using any photo shop type program) and then hand deliver it to the pharmacy.  Using the doctor to directly contact the pharmacy in order to obtain such a prescription is forbidden by law.  For me, my doctor is allowed to hand me three months of prescriptions that I hold onto (I am forbidden by law to have the pharmacy keep these prescriptions for me) and fill every month.  It is illegal to have refills on most ADHD medications so I have to go hand deliver a written prescription every month.  Oh, and we also must have a driver’s license or other form of photo ID in order to fill the prescription.

And then, to add to all of this, the pharmacy can only stock so much of the controlled substance which means, just because you have a prescription doesn’t mean that the pharmacy can actually fill the prescription. The pharmacy is also not allowed to give you what they have in stock if they only have 10 pills and not 30 pills and then fill the remainder of the prescription when they get it.  Nope, can’t do that either to help us out.  And insurance company’s don’t take kindly to someone doing the pharmacy hop anymore to find a pharmacy that has your medication in stock.

I’m unsure as to why it is not safer to just have the doctor’s contact the pharmacy in order to fill the prescription or to allow the pharmacies to actually keep it in stock like other medicines.  I’m also unsure why there cannot be any refills on a medication that must be taken daily.  How this keeps us all “safe” is beyond my comprehension, and also the doctors comprehension.

And with all of these “precautions” the past 15 years have seen on increase in prescription drug misuse.  So, we jump through hoops and nothing has helped the misuse of these drugs.  It is so very frustrating.

The insanity circle continues.  I jump through hoops every month just so my children and I can have our needed medication.  All because people out there figure out how to obtain the medication illegally and take it.  Instead of going after the people who take it illegally, our illustrious politicians have made it harder to obtain the drug legally, all while obtaining it illegally has obviously gotten easier.

Oi Vey.

Daylight Savings Time and Mental Health

Nearly 5 million children have it.  Every year 20% of children will be diagnosed with it.  Almost 20% of adults also have it.  I’m discussing mental health issues and its something that should be discussed to the affect daylight savings time has on us.   Mental health issues range from ADHD, anxiety, bipolar, mood disorders, depression, etc.  For all these disorders, adults and children alike know that a good sleep schedule is imperative to staying mentally healthy.   It doesn’t take a genius to understand that “daylight savings time” is equivalent to mental death for people with mental health problems.

It’s not like there haven’t been numerous media attention and studies on the subject.   Even with people without mental health issues, changing time causes cardiac issues, stroke, cortisol production, and vehicular accidents in the first 3 weeks of the time change.  So, why do we do it?

I mean, even research has shown that there are no benefits to conserving energy with it. Add this with the mental health problems with people and it seems like a no brainer to get rid of it.

For the next several weeks my children and I will be having major issues with our mental health and we will not be sleeping well.  Almost 20% of American will also experience the same problems.  It is time we stop this ludicrous practice.

Stop the madness!