This is a repost of a guest post by Kelly Schmidt, written back in July. I’m reposting it because it seemed to resonate with a lot of people. Kelly is mom to Nathaniel, and Ph.D. candidate in a developmental psychology program. For Kelly’s full bio, see the bottom of her post.
When Kevin and I were married 10 years ago, we understood that there were no assurances that we would have a child because I have an endocrine disorder that causes fertility problems. Nobody was more surprised or excited than us when we learned 2 months after our wedding that we were expecting. I chose the name “Nathaniel” very deliberately because it means “Gift from God”.
Nathaniel has a BIG personality. His smile is high wattage, his giggle is contagious. He is scary-smart and has an amazing memory. Sometimes he is so thoughtful and concerned about others, he takes my breath away. He has a very strong faith and knows more about the Bible than many adults. He loves sports (especially basketball), Legos, video games (much to my dismay), and reading (which makes me proud), and his brother Joel. He likes to draw cartoons, help make pancakes and cookies, and talks about Pokemon and Mario Bros. endlessly. He is 110% boy.
Nathaniel also has behavioral and psychiatric disorders. The behavior disorder is called Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD. The psychiatrist calls his psychiatric disorder a “Neurodevelopmental Disorder” but since insurance companies don’t reimburse for treatment of that, she calls it “Mood Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)” for billing purposes. He has some features of bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety disorder, and even Aspergers syndrome. He doesn’t meet clinical criteria for any of those disorders, however, because he is typically not symptomatic anywhere else but at home.
Home is where the explosions occur. Home is where there is defiance, anger, and violence. Home is where frustration boils over to punches, requests lead to rebellion, and yelling and tears are almost daily occurrences for all members of the family. Peace is fleeting. Quiet, dreadful anticipation of the next meltdown or outburst is the norm. Continue reading