Adult ADHD and Childhood Abuse (Research and My Life!)

This was me with my Mom, growing up. God, now that I look back, I wonder if there's a connection to the fear of her, my anxiety, and adult ADHD... - Jeff Emmerson

This was me with my Mom, growing up. God, now that I look back, I wonder if there’s a connection to the fear of her, my anxiety, and adult ADHD… – Jeff Emmerson

By Jeff Emmerson

Is it bad that I wanted to kill my Mom many times during my childhood?

She was one sadistic, vindictive woman, and I’m thankful that I didn’t turn into a serial killer or something with the example she set, and despite her attempt to show “love,” her lack of a God-damned maternal bone in her body. Aah, it feels wonderfully liberating to finally be able to share this with the entire world! I’m FINALLY big enough, old enough, strong enough to stand up to her, as I was when I was younger, but I’m much smarter than her now. Thank God for that.

My sister took the real beatings, and I remember Mom punching her so hard that she had what looked like a hole in her mouth, on the inside of her cheek. Man…..I’d annihilate that woman if I could go back, and if I could somehow do it without any fear of repercussion. Yeah, I admit it, but then again, I wouldn’t. I know better now. As much as I’ve forgiven her, I will always have some anger and hatred as well. I realize it isn’t healthy, and I don’t think of it much anymore for exactly that reason – I deserve better, and the past is gone. HOWEVER, now is when I come clean through my up-coming powerful, inspiring memoir. I’m in the midst of sending my proposal and sample chapters to an acquisitions agent at a major publisher, so we’ll see what happens. I won’t stop until it gets a deal. Period. If you know me, you know I mean that as serious as a human being possibly can. This is personal.

Anyway – back to the topic at hand: In Zoe Kessler (a great friend)’s article for PsychCentral recently, a link has been discovered between adult ADHD and childhood abuse. I GET IT! I totally understand how a child could grow up with severe anxiety like I did, scared, FRIGHTENED of their Mother as soon as her sadistic behavior takes a turn for the worse, and develop adult ADHD symptoms later on! I totally get it! That said, I’m not completely sure that this link is proven to be coincidence, but ask yourself: “What might result from a child having to walk on eggshells for a lot of their early life, facing abuse, sadism, severe mood swings from Mom or Dad, and being chased with an aluminum bat?” – I was the one who was chased as a 9 or 10-year old boy by my Mom, and while I was far from a perfect child, there is NO excuse for scaring the hell out of your flesh and blood! I feel rage inside me as I talk about this, like I could end my Mother in a heartbeat, but it would take even MORE strength to walk away and never look back, which is what I did recently. I said goodbye, and I feel so glad that I did. She had a face-lift recently, her vanity still in full-effect in her 60′s, as she lives in a tiny town where no one really sees her. The emails I get are cold, calculated, and self-absorbed. That trait is one hell of a trigger for me, and it’s no wonder I sought out flighty, unstable women for relationships when I was in my very early 20′s, leading me to an utter threats conviction that changed my life forever, as explained in this adult ADHD blog post.

I’m telling you that it’s just common sense. What I’m NOT saying is that every parent of an ADHD child/adult abused them! Let’s be clear on that. Obviously, the human factor plays a role here, and nothing is black and white, as much as we’d like it to be. Case in point with yesterday’s post on adult ADHD and the END of stigma.

AN EXCERPT FROM THE ARTICLE:

“In a new study, 30 percent of adults with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) report they were physically abused before they turned 18.”

“This compares to seven percent of those without ADD/ADHD who were physically abused before 18.

“This strong association between abuse and ADD/ADHD was not explained by differences in demographic characteristics or other early adversities experienced by those who had been abused,” said lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Ph.D., of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work.

“Even after adjusting for different factors, those who reported being physically abused before age 18 had seven times the odds of ADD/ADHD.”

The results are published online in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma.”

Adult ADHD and The END of Stigma!

It's about damn time we smashed through the ignorance of mental health stigma. I'll be a freight train for awareness! - Jeff Emmerson

It’s about damn time we smashed through the ignorance of mental health stigma. I’ll be a freight train for awareness! – Jeff Emmerson

By Jeff Emmerson

OK – The END of mental health stigma is upon us, and I mean it. Sure, we aren’t nearly where we’ll be in years to come, but how do we get there?

I’ll tell you how: through a SOLUTION to the stigma, and I’ve got it:

- A new awareness, a new way looking at people with mental health challenges! It’s really that simple, and yet fairly complex, since we’re often afraid of what we don’t understand. I started my third book last night at work, scribbling out a title and 14 chapter titles directed at the END of mental health stigma, but through a whole new approach to offer an alternative way of looking at others. It will need a paradigm shift, an increase in awareness, education and empathy, not to mention compassion. Once we get the hell out of our own ways with that “dark ages thinking,” we’ll all be much better off. I used to judge very quickly – I admit it! Once tragedy struck me, however, I began to smarten up, stop being such an ignorant jackass, and became truly enlightened, as much as it’s been difficult to not have “the immediate solution” as a man who likes to solve problems. Growing pains, my dear reader. Once things aren’t so “black and white,” watch how you change, you open your mind. Thank God for that.

It’s not easy for us humans to change the way we think, especially when we’ve been taught this ignorance. It takes TRUE leaders with courage to speak up and change minds, open eyes, and touch hearts. I will not stop doing this. My friends, you have a force for good and awareness on YOUR side! After a particularly heart-wrenching shift watching a patient with such issues who may not live very long, it reminded me of the severe importance of AWARENESS and the END of the cancer that is mental health stigma. I vow to devote my life to it.

Here’s how we continue to move beyond stigma:

Even if we’re afraid of people with issues at times (and it’s natural to be afraid of someone if they could be dangerous, just saying), we need to remember that these are HUMAN BEINGS! Yes, some should be kept from the general public for the sake of safety, but remember: That is a minority of ALL the people out there with mental health challenges! The stigma of mental hospitals and the “scary” stereotype is complete UNTRUTH, and once I had my eyes opened by stepping foot in a forensic facility, I saw that even those criminally not responsible are just HUMAN like you and me! Remember: they are the tiny minority! The majority? Someone in your family, my family, your neighbor, the guy at the office, the police officer working your beat (YES, cops have mental health issues as well, sometimes! Many have adult ADHD, for instance. I don’t know what percentage, but you get the point), and one in 5 walking the streets around us!

WAKE UP, society! Please! Imagine you were blamed for having cancer……God, that sums it up beautifully. Adult ADHD and the END of stigma – we’re getting there, one day at a time! What a worthwhile cause! We can all do our part each and every day. When we catch ourselves judging, remember……these people can’t help it – they need our support! You and I could be in a way worse place in life. Remember that……….enough is enough.