Falling Through the Ceiling: Our ADHD Family Memoir by Audrey R. Jones & Larry A. Jones, MD
A blend of love, humor and real-life irony, FALLING THROUGH THE CEILING makes sense of the nonsensical, shedding light on the challenges of living with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). These stories offer the real-deal reality of living with a house full of ADHD, including the ups, downs and chaos of what happened and the consequences of such. The authors, a married couple of 45 years, offer experience, practical insight and what they learned from counselors, research and their own mistakes to assist people coping with children and adults who are affected by ADHD.
Sharing their personal life challenges with the effects of ADHD, this is a real, sometimes painful, story written to help families recognize and navigate to controlling chaos and unlocking the gifts of ADHD in their children and themselves.
“We were struggling to make it and created codependency and unhealthy enabling habits. What we did, and what we didn’t do, to help our sons didn’t work, many times. The behaviors simply continued and morphed. If we had it to do all over again, we would have done things better and differently. We feel that other parents, by walking with us through our journey, will gain strength and courage to move from frustration to stabilizing behaviors and living resiliently.”
— Audrey and Larry Jones, authors, FALLING THROUGH THE CEILING
Message from the Authors
For us Falling Through the Ceiling is a blend of love, humor and real-life irony. We make sense of the nonsensical by shedding light on our challenges of living with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
Our stories are examples of the things that can happen when ADHD runs rampant and untreated for parent and three sons. That is what defines the universality of our stories. We fell into the same trap as many other parents, thinking that Drew, Jay, and Rob were just lazy and willfully not completing assignments in school. Parenting is probably the most humbling experience of your life. Few of us are trained in parenting and we encounter events in our children’s lives, which should lead us to professional counselors and therapists. Our darling children can throw us off kilter because they really do the darndest things.
We were struggling to make it and created codependency and unhealthy enabling habits. What we did, and what we didn’t do, to help our sons didn’t work, many times. The behaviors simply continued and morphed. If we had it to do all over again, we would have done things better and differently. Hopefully our stories will give other parents relief, support, courage and solutions.
Chapter Excerpt: Being the Enabler Turns Deadly
“Parents continuing to enable adult children simply perpetuate the same behavior. Someone has to decide.” Audrey Jones after the disaster
“I was a multitasker because I was forced to be, I had so many things to do, and because I felt responsible for nearly everything. I felt like I was Falling Through the Ceiling some days just trying to cope. I am admitting this today because what I did was wrong. I want someone else to do right. Let’s face it: I was the Enabler. Not dealing with the underlying issues, but fixing urgent problems in the moment is what I did as my children grew up and my husband worked. They relied on me. I took care of all of them. It all changed one day when I could barely take care of myself. Everyone nearly lost it due to my unexpected illness, which happened as a result of me not taking care of myself.
My condition forced me into disability in 2008. I could no longer manage a business—because it takes multitasking to do that. I had successfully owned and operated airport concessions and retail locations throughout the region for 24 years, while simultaneously managing my husband’s medical practice for most of those years and co-parenting our three sons. My short-term memory was almost completely shot. Long-term memory, speech and speech comprehension were all affected. I couldn’t even finish a sentence on some of my worst days. When it all collapsed, for a time, I was unable to function without written notes. I missed appointments and even airplanes when I didn’t write things down. More than simple notes, I had to create outlines to function, describing what each task was supposed to look like, similar to creating a quilt one little square at a time.
Having a husband and sons who all had some levels of ADHD caused each of them to have their own selective memory did not change their short attention spans and “now, not now” impulses. My illness and recovery caused hell for my family. It reduced and almost eliminated my ability to manage this group of ADHD people who had relied on me to keep things going. They could not believe the 180- degree change they saw in me. I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but can you imagine that these four men thought I was faking my illness because they relied on me so much? They felt that I should just get up and manage everything as I had always done. They expected me to wear my cape as The Enabler.”
“I really was afraid that Audrey was going to die, and there was no way I could explain that to her. I resorted to being clinical and vague because I was struggling with my own feelings about her illness. The other person who had really loved me (my mother) died and left me when I was 19. I could not go through that pain again. As I have learned through counseling, I never really got over my mother’s death. My feeling of being lost caused Audrey to think that I didn’t care. I just did not know what to do and my sons were in outright denial that their mother was really sick. Drew came to realize that she was behaving differently when she started sleeping all the time and couldn’t remember anything. As he was the only son living in town, he could see her weakness. Like most parents, Audrey would attempt to hide her illness and act like she was feeling much better than she really was when the other two were visiting.”
“I devised my own plan where I thought that I could save her by taking her out of St. Louis, where she could live a calmer lifestyle, but I neglected to have those discussions with her. By that time, she was starting to recover and think better as her liver started functioning again. The fog that she was in was starting to clear.”
“It took time, plenty of therapy and earnest prayer to get through those years. The good news is that my liver is restored; it began regulating again, reducing the toxins in my brain. I have partial restoration of my faculties—not a whole lot, but some. Since I had survived, I came up with some workarounds to keep going, so things like taking copious notes continue to help me. When it comes to being the Enabler, I remind myself that my life, mind and body are on the line—literally as serious as life and death for me—so I handle things differently. In the past few years I’ve gotten better, thank goodness. Now when my sons call me with a problem, I just say, “No, I don’t know the answer, but I’ll look it up.” (That’s a joke! They have learned it means I’m expecting them to figure out things for themselves.) If it’s a real problem, I apply the tools/methods I’ve learned to help them figure out the problem themselves. If I could go back, I certainly would do things differently. However, I did the best I could with the Jones Boys and my husband.
( Continued… )
© 2018 Falling Through the Ceiling: Our ADHD Family Memoir by Audrey R. Jones and Larry A. Jones, MD. Published by Enable Tables Media a Division Of Smart Management Inc. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying form without written permission of the publisher. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the publisher.
Although every precaution has been taken to verify the accuracy of the information contained herein, the author and publisher assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for damages that may result from the use of information contained within. Books may be purchased in quantity by contacting the publisher directly: Enable Tables Media, a division of Smart Management Inc.