Archive for December, 2008

An ODD Child

When I was in my preteen/teen years I was seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist because I had been acting out and my school recommended I see someone concerning my issues. Most of the issues were that I didn’t get along well with others in class, I would speak out of turn, and boss other students around, but the primary complaint was that I was defiant.

Upon the suggestion of school officials, my parents took me for a few years to a licensed counselor where I would have a private session and then a session where my mom and sister would sit in. I remember those sessions as particularly stressful for me. I would play with the toys the therapist, and answer her questions in a roundabout way. “Why do you think you behave that way, Katie?” she might ask.


“I don’t know,” I would say, picking up a doll “I don’t know why,”


I didn’t answer like that to be difficult. I really had no idea why I acted out. I didn’t want to behave badly, but somehow I was strangely compelled to my behavior. No one understood why I kept testing boundaries and pushing authority, not even me.


Eventually, after more therapy where mostly my mom talked about my issues, I was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), a disorder that affects young children and adolescents.


Behaviors of children with ODD:

· yelling,
· whining,
· chronic complaining,
· overt and covert defiance,
· screaming,
· temper tantrums,
· throwing objects,
· talking back,
· use of profanity,
· stealing,
· engaging in constantly annoying behavior,
· ignoring requests,
· physically resisting,
· failure to complete routine chores,
· destroying property, physical fights with others,
· failure to complete school homework,
· disrupting other activities, and
· ignoring self care tasks are all common behaviors exhibited by children with ODD.


International Adoption Articles Directory Post Adoption Learning Center


I would honestly say that I consistently displayed 85 percent of the behaviors listed above. Okay, probably more like 95 percent…


My psychologist and parents decided to put me on Adderal to try to treat my disorder. I took it nightly for about eight months and a couple dosage changes before they decided that it wasn’t helping. “It just made you mean, anyway,” my Mom said once after I had been off of it for a few years.


My parents and the psychologists tried a few other treatment options for me including more therapy, Zoloft and Risperdal. Risperdal is an anti psychotic used to treat schizophrenia in children and manic and bipolar disorder in adults. I’ve never been the least bit schizophrenic and have never been diagnosed as bipolar (even though at one time I was sure that I was) and believe that it was wrong for them to put me on it considering that the side effects from the drug caused me to experience health problems. My parents were probably not aware of the affects of the drug and what it was really used for. That is what I have chosen to believe as believing that they would have understood me so little to the point where they believed me to be psychotic is saddening.


The drug I stayed on for the longest amount of time was Zoloft. Every night with dinner I took one of the yellow capsules with my dinner, swallowing it with the hopes that somehow it would help me be “good”. Eventually my parents decided it wasn’t doing me as much good as it was harming me, and decided to wean me off of that too. That process took several weeks as I had become dependent on Zoloft in order to sleep at night.


Becoming “drug” free is a high point in my life I like to refer to as “coming out of the fog”. After I finally came off of the Zoloft it was as if everything brightened to me. The sun shone brighter, the nights were sweeter, and life was more worth living. I could really feel joy, I could laugh, I could dream, I could be content. I felt as if these were emotions that had been closed off to me during the time I had taken Zoloft.


The farther and farther I get away from that time in my life the more I believe that I did not need those medications to treat my disorders. I believe my parents needed a solution to my problems and their stress and medications seemed like an easy treatment for a child they could not understand. I honestly believe, based on what I know now, that the cause of a great deal of my turmoil during that time in my life was caused by the effects of being relinquished.


Something that is interesting to me now, as an adult looking back, is something I remember my mom telling after a visit to my psychiatrist… “The doctor said there are a few other Korean adopted kids that act like you, Katie.”  She said. “But they don’t know why.”  Looking back on that I know exactly why, and I hate that the psychiatrist I was seeing wasn’t educated enough on adoption to figure out that I, like those “other Korean adopted kids” were less trusting of our parents, afraid to be abandoned again, more willing to initiate a second abandonment than eventually fall victim to one again.


I’m not a psychologist or a licensed counselor, but I do remember being a child who really wanted to do better, but didn’t know why she continually acted out. I was desperate to change, to make my parents happy, but felt misunderstood and driven to dramatics. I see myself as a child who was afraid of being abandoned, so afraid that I did my best to push anyone who wandered close enough to me away so that the next time I was abandoned, the next time I was left, I knew why. I would never again be left by someone for no reason. It makes me angry that the licensed professionals were too blind to see this, and made me numb and confused for years before I figured it out myself.


I have pushed a lot of that to the past, mostly because my life is a lot brighter now and because I’m just of the mindset that I would rather focus on now and the future rather than what I can’t change. But to this day there are times when I see myself pushing my fiancé away because I am afraid he will eventually find something in me that is unworthy of his love. “I don’t know why you deserve me” I cry. Part of my mind still tells me that if I push him to leave, it won’t be because I’m a bad person, or because I don’t deserve his love, but it will be because I was a bitch to him. I struggle with that and with trying to not let my pain eclipse the life I’m doing my best to create for us.


I just can’t believe how deep in denial I have been for so many of my years. So deep that I thought I had escaped unscathed from the pain of relinquishment only to be blind to all the confusion it has brought me.


December 30, 2008 at 4:01 pm 2 comments

An Inaugral Post

I will write about my truth

Continue Reading December 29, 2008 at 9:35 pm 1 comment

December 2008
    Jan »

Blog Stats

  • 12,746 hits

I made this widget at

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other followers