One Mom's Journey Raising a Child with ADHD

As we navigate through life we wear many hats. I am a therapist, mental health/behavior specialist for a school district, a wife, and a Mom. Out of these hats, the one that I personally struggle with the most is a being mom. 

You see, my son has ADHD and anxiety. As a mom it breaks my heart to see him struggle with peer relationships and many other daily activities that many of those who do not have ADHD and anxiety take for granted. Then add being an only child and living through COVID-19.

Julian has always been an active child, since he is my first and my only birth child, I thought his rambunctiousness and high level of energy was normal. I had nothing to compare my mothering experience to, so, in my mind he was a typical boy. As time moved on, I noticed he was getting into trouble at school. After speaking to the principal, he told me don’t worry I think he and the teacher are just having a personality clash, but then the next year there was another personality clash. How could my sweet boy have another year with a personality clash. I mentioned this to my dad, and he was the first person that mentioned ADHD. I said “dad, aren't all boys his age like this?” He laughed and said, “Oh no, I knew he had ADHD a long time ago.” You see my Dad was a school social worker at the time and he was all too familiar with the signs.  I didn’t want to face it, so I changed schools. Again, more classroom problems, but this teacher was different. They got along well and Julian loved being in his class. His teacher was concerned about his academics due to his impulsivity and inattentiveness. That caught my attention because Julian was always a very smart child. I could not take a chance with his educational future. I had to get him evaluated.

As you can guess, it came back as positive for ADHD with anxiety.  Now I had to think about treatment. Could we manage it with diet? Would we go the stimulant or non-stimulant route. After thinking about what is in his best interest, we opted for a non-stimulant route and tried Strattera. This was in the 3rd grade. The medication did help, but the side effects were not great.  He became underweight, complained of constant headaches and nausea, and some days was just not himself. We did this for 3 years.  

Then COVID-19 hit. Although this was a stressful time, we were both home.  This was the perfect opportunity to change things up. I used this time to take him off his medication and use the techniques I use with many of the students I had worked with. It was also a great opportunity to look at natural means to manage his ADHD. After researching many products, I came across Brillia. I loved the natural ingredients and the testimonials from the kids who were using it.  There was a money back guarantee, and it was natural so we tried it.  After the first week my son could feel the difference it began to make, but more importantly it did not give him a headache, make him nauseous, or make him lose his appetite. He didn’t even fight with me to take it. Julian does not like taking medicine at all, but since Brillia is all natural he looks at them as vitamins. When he thinks of vitamins he knows that they are good for him and help support him in a positive manner. My son is very curious so he read the ingredients himself and said “Okay, Mom I like this, I trust this.”  Based on the way ADHD and anxiety manifest with Julian, we decided to start him with 3 pills a day.  Brillia is so easy for him to take because it dissolves so easily and the tablets are little. We keep a blister pack of tablets with us when we are on the go so he never has to miss a dose.   

We are not perfect with getting his pills in every day and we both notice that when we do not, he is more anxious the next day when we forget the last dose. Sometimes he doesn’t sleep well as night so I do not want to give the last dose too close to bedtime. I also love the fact that as a family we can adjust the dosing to meet the needs of our son. I listen to his needs and how it affects him and take cues from him. He shows so much more appreciation and politeness, even when things don’t go his way. The other day when I made him lunch, he didn’t hear me clearly and it was not exactly like he wanted it. In the past this would have been a total meltdown and would have led to him refusing to eat. He said, “Mom I didn’t want this.” in a soft voice and then sat down and said, “Thank you Mom,” and then proceeded to eat his lunch. This has never happened. The fights we used to have about little choices are not there, he may huff and puff a bit, rarely do we get the tears or meltdowns. When they do come, they are much shorter and then he apologizes after for his actions. I am like, “Wow who is this kid.” Life in the house is much calmer and quieter.  Another positive result is that he is reading a night again, I know that he feels less anxious and can enjoy the things that he enjoys again. 

We are going on our third month now and the longer he is on Brillia the more positive changes I see. The changes are not overnight, but each week things get better and he is able to gain more self-control over his emotions week by week. With more emotional control, come fewer meltdowns and tears. Our lives are not perfect, especially right now, but one thing I know is that Brillia has been a life saver for our family during a pandemic. As a therapist and a mom this has been the answer to our prayers.  


Jaynaya B. James, LCSW
Jaynaya B. James holds a BS in journalism from Central Michigan University and a Master of Social of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University. As a clinician, she has worked with hundreds of children and families, with ADHD, ADD, Anxiety and other mental health issues. 

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