Don’t get me wrong. I love my brother very much. He is such a darling when he wants to and I’m just a regular older sister who wants to “understand” him. But there are times when I just can’t. He is super inattentive. I talk to him and tell him what needs to be done, but he just drifts away. He doesn’t listen to me or maybe, his ADHD deters from him from doing so.
Not only that… My brother also has this thing. Every time he is bored, he would run around our dinner table. Round and round and around nonstop, until my mother has to get him and tell him to stop, sit and wait. Even with that, he would fidget, tap his leg and press his fingertips. Sometimes, I don’t know what to feel. Whenever he grabs something from me and smiles, I snap because it’s rude behavior. And yet, my mom tells me it’s because of his ADHD – the reason why he’s impulsive. Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC, says, “The predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype describes individuals who mainly experience symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.”
Am I a bad sister? Don’t I understand my brother enough? Is that selfishness on my part? What more can I do? How do I cope?
Sometimes, I question if my father and mother still see me – their child who has no ADHD.
My parents spend more time with my brother because he’s “different” and he needs all the care he can get. “Families report significant stress when a child has ADHD, even after their child is successfully treated,” Alison Escalante M.D. wrote. They take him to therapy almost every day. I think it was occupational therapy and educational therapy. He has difficulty reading and writing, as I’ve heard from my parents. My brother has a delay in this department. I, on the other hand, learned to write my name at age 3. My brother is 6 and he scribbles his name so poorly.
Each day as I wake up, all I hear is conversations about my brother and his ADHD. Do I feel neglected or left out? In a way, yes, at first. While I felt bad that my baby brother has this disorder which makes him struggle to control his behavior, I am my own person too. I have issues too. In my mind, if I had a disorder of some sort, my parents would be attending to me too. They’ve been giving all the attention to my baby brother. I was jealous and I felt guilty about it.
I am as important as my sibling who has ADHD, my parents said.
One day, my mom and dad brought me and my brother to an ice cream place. I was surprised because they never bring me with them. It was a very happy afternoon and we all had a great time.
When we got home, dad told us to gather in his study. We all sat down and he opened his laptop. I wanted to play with my friend outside, but mom insisted that we needed to do something as a family. She said it won’t take more than an hour, and so I waited. A pretty woman with a white coat was Skyping and dad answered her call.
He introduced me to Dr. Smith and from what I’ve gathered, we were all to do an “online family therapy” session. Dad noticed that I had withdrawn myself from them ever since my brother was diagnosed. They both apologized to me for being busy with him and they said that I am as important as my brother who has ADHD. Dr. Smith asked me of my feelings and for the first time, I poured it out. My brother, seeing me cry, hugged me real tight and said “Please, don’t cry. I love you very much, Lala. Tell me who hurt you. I will make sure he answers to me.” That’s my protective brother who has ADHD.
Family therapy brought all of us together and it even helped my brother with ADHD to “behave”.
It’s still far from perfect. There are times when I just can’t stand my brother’s impulsiveness, inattentiveness and hyperactivity. But he is my brother and if I surrender on him, he has no one else. Slowly, I had to understand why he was like that. Online family therapy really helped me on dealing with my ADHD brother. My parents also changed their ways.
Dr. Smith suggested that once a week, my mom and dad had to spend an hour with me, one on one. No talks about ADHD. If I were to vent, they allowed me to do it on a healthy level. I also spent time playing with my brother and those games were helping him with his disorder. These fun games were advised by his therapist. I really like playing with him since he’s very easy to teach. When we have the chance during the day, mom talks to me about my activities in school. I’m a features writer for our school paper. She makes sure we talk every single day.
We all have schedules to keep, responsibilities to do, commitments to perform and routines to accomplish on a daily basis. Our family is growing, I heard Dr. Smith say and I’ll never trade it for anyone else’s, even with our ADHD-filled “life”. “While environmental and cultural factors can alter behavior and child development, research confirms that ADHD is primarily a biologically-based disorder,” explains Larry Silver, M.D.