[First part – Tale of the 2 students]
[Second part – Mom of the 2 students (next part)]
One day when we were having breakfast, I saw Moon popped a pill in her mouth. She always stock the family up with some pills; vitamin this, vitamin that, this oil, that oil, super-duper essential whatever, etc. but this time the pill she pop was different looking. I casually asked why was she taking that new pill, then she quietly muttered: ‘I got a diagnosis.’ Diagnosis? Of what? I asked. Without telling me, she went to see a psychiatrist and she was given a definitive diagnosis that she has ADHD! ‘But I disagree, I am so organized…” I have to agree with that, she has been the most organized person I know of! Moon always have a little diary that plans, documents and records every single moment of her life since her was a little girl. In addition, she has been highly accomplished academically; 2 bachelor degrees, 2 master degrees and a stack of professional certificates that would impress any potential employer. Dating Moon was a fantastic experience, she simply would find some interesting angles in almost everything, there was never a dull moment.
She would always have a new ‘short cut’ alternative to our usual route to wherever. She would always have something new and interesting to show me when we go for our occasional running/jogging around our neighborhood.
I could almost see light bulbs turn on in her head and her eye glow whenever she finds her moment of new interest, it still happens everyday now!
She took that pill because she needs to focus that day for something important. A new adventure! ‘Ansgar, you should have an assessment too’, Moon said. This happened in 2019.
Me? No way! Doing what I do, my colleagues, teachers, students ALL know that I am a focused man. Among the running friends who know me, all know that I have tunnel vision; I only see start and finish point, everything in between is oblivious.
I took Moon’s words rather lightly (no disrespect, as usual), really did not think about it much and move on with my life.
In 2019, my elder daughter was preparing for her O-level high school examination, I asked Moon and my daughter how it felt like after taking the medicine. Both of them told me the same thing; the head is quieter! It seems like the medicine kind of switch off some of their antennae in their head!
My life is all about sorting out issues, figuring out the reasons (aka diagnosis) and handle it efficiently with whatever surgeries or medication (treatment). This is essentially how a clinician is trained/wired; diagnosis and treatment for other people’s problems. This is my exact same attitude for ADHD; just handle it using professional tools, which includes coaching, behavioral management and medication. Research has been established that medication is a key component in ADHD management.
Short-sightedness is a common problem, we simply get glasses in order to see better. I don’t know anyone who would decline glasses, pretend to see well and try to learn to drive instead! Getting help with eyeglasses, make sure one can see well first BEFORE engaging a driving teacher is a must or else everyone would be in danger!
Moon passed me a contact at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Professor Roger Ho was a University of Hong Kong graduate (10 years my junior) working in the Psychiatry department in NUS and he is running some ADHD research. After making an appointment, I met up with a stylish colleague, Prof Ho in his office and I became one his study subjects! After some chitchat and work, he said: ‘Ansgar, you are neurotypical, no ADHD…’ Ok, I knew by then I have one less thing to think about but it also means I am beyond help in that department. LOL.
I told my new psychiatrist friend that my 3 gals observed that whenever we visit my dad in Hong Kong, he was always reading newspapers, listening to radio, eating his food, watching TV, all at the same time! Speaking of TV, my gals sort of gave up watching TV with my dad because he could NEVER stay with one TV program! He just flipped channels non-stop and he probably was the best TV channel surfer in the world! Prof Ho patiently listened to me and then he calmly said: ‘those are likely just funny (lousy) habits…’ I rest my case.
However, Moon was not going to take things lying down! #UnlockingADHD has been her personal crusade since. My initial reflex was to talk her out of it as I know she would deep dive into it and I would lose my spouse until she gets a burnout. As usual, she would listen to me until she figured out other ways to talk me into agreeing with her. She won again. I play the fine balance of being a supportive spouse, a brake for her turbo charged engine and wished her luck. Luck has been almost always on her side.
What more can I do?