There's no denying that recessions are bad things, but I'm willing to bet that the "R" word that really strikes fear into the heart of the ADHD/ODD parent (or any other parent whose child has a mental illness, for that matter) is a different one.
Forget the recession...let's talk regression. Regression starts slowly, with a few long-forgotten behaviours.
"Wow!" you say to yourself or to your partner, "We haven't had to deal with that in a long time. Remember when that was an everyday occurrence?" And you smugly pat yourself on the back for having gotten your child past that stage without having smothered the little darling in the middle of the night.
And then another behaviour rears its ugly head. Or perhaps you see that first behaviour more often, and you begin to wonder what's going on.
But the behaviour is sporadic, so you kind of forget about it in between episodes. Except you don't really forget about it, because you can't. Because you're the parent of a child with a mental illness, so the question about what's going on is always in the back of your mind. Because you analyze everything your child does...always...in an attempt to figure out which therapies are working and which ones aren't. And what helps and what doesn't. And what sets your child off and what doesn't. And what they can cope with today and what they can't. The watching, the waiting, the thinking...it never ends.
And then one day you realize that life has gone back to "normal." Except it's your old normal, the one you thought you had left behind. And you realize you've been tiptoeing around your child for weeks, not knowing what's going to set off the explosion. And it feels as if everything you've done, worked on, researched, endured has been for nothing. That you're back at square one, with no idea where to go from here.
This knowledge hits you when you're already exhausted from weeks of fighting and aggression, so it hits you like a punch in the stomach. And all you want to do is curl up in bed and cry, because you feel like you just don't have the energy to start all over again. I can tell you from personal experience that there are few things more disheartening than feeling like all the progress you've made over the months or years has suddenly gone out the window.
I'm going back to bed now, where I may or may not cry. (There's a good chance I will.) But once my pity party is over, I'll get back up and start all over again. Because that's what I do. I'm the parent of a child with a mental illness. That's what we do.