when it falls apart…
So it finally happened, Meghan and I had our first major issue. A few months ago, I wrote an entry in this blog entitled A.D.D. this, which detailed my girlfriend’s struggles with her A.D.D. diagnosis, her experiences on a merry-go-round of medication, and subsequent entrance in to a Vision Therapy program. Yesterday at lunch, we were discussing her progress so far, the work still to be done, and her dreams of one day becoming an Occupational Therapist. I am so proud of her and enjoy hearing about her goals and dreams, knowing that one day she will get there. She lights up when discussing Occupational Therapy because clearly, it is her calling. Such a happy place for her! Not far into the conversation, Meghan began to cry, almost uncontrollably.
Wait a minute – I’m a guy and apparently I’ve missed something – what just happened?
After composing herself, Meghan explained that her tears came from a place of fear. Fear that I was starting to completely understand her true level of challenges, and would soon decide she was no longer worth the effort. She was very afraid that I was going to give up on her. Perhaps you have sinking feeling in your stomach after reading those last two sentences. I certainly felt one listening to the spoken version. She went on to explain that she has tried so hard to maintain a certain level of “normal”, and hide her inadequacies, that she had created this incredible pressure for herself. Basically, she is very aware of her challenges, and was hoping she could keep them hidden. Since she couldn’t, she was afraid things between us would fall apart.
The subsequent conversation was difficult, and very humbling, but very necessary. Meghan is very well spoken, and was able to articulate her concerns quite well. While she was explaining, I thought of some of my patients who may be feeling the same way. How scary it must be for a child to feel pressured to succeed, both academically and socially. Kids who learn a little differently, kids who learn slower, kids who feel they have to maintain a facade rather than face failure. Perhaps this is where the “class clown” originated. Better to look silly that stupid? How scary to think that you are not meeting expectations, and you are about to be given up on. Not a good place to be at school, at home, or in a relationship. Definitely was a strong reminder of the baggage some patients carry on a daily basis. Lesson learned.
For those interested, my relationship is still intact, and probably stronger than ever 🙂