How It’s Going

I wanted to record my son’s journey with the meds. Mostly because there is SUCH a stigma with it all. Like, debilitating. As a parent you always want what’s best for your child. Always. When you find out you have a kid who’s going to go through life with constant struggle and frustration for something he has no control over, it’s beyond difficult. It’s heart-wrenching. Your own body created this child…. with some help from a male, ideally, so when your offspring is just left of typical you cannot help but feel guilt. Logically, it makes no sense. But with my mom brain, it’s completely understandable.

So my husband and I have struggled for most of our son’s life with how to manage him. How to deal with him. Since he began to talk completely at 2 it’s been a head-scratcher…for everyone involved in his life! We always knew something was challenging about him, but not developmentally. Nothing standard. Sensory issues were the first tangible difference, so we handled that. We helped him to handle it, more importantly.

This was and has been a giant struggle for us. Next up is school. School problems have been a constant since preschool. Constant. But no one knew what to do with him because he was so smart. Smart, but seemingly incapable of applying any of it.

At 8 years old we find out he has Dyspraxia and ADHD. The ADHD is the school’s biggest issue with him. Once I got passed my own issues and misgivings, I was able to take a hard look at the facts. My kid has all kinds of ability to be at grade level, but his brain will not allow it in a school setting. It’s impossible. His processing skills and motivation and ability are on the floor, while his IQ and ability to understand are close to the ceiling.

I’m not saying he’s gifted, because he’s not. He’s just super smart…. as long as “smart” isn’t defined by actively listening to a lecture, hearing directions, and then being able to COMPLETE a task afterwards. He was lost at, “Good morning class.”

For this and 486 other reasons, my husband and I decided to try medication. Not because we can’t handle our kid. Not because it makes our kid easy to deal with. Not because it provides some lazy parenting “easy” button, but because he needs help making his brain work for him. He cannot physically force his frontal lobe to communicate with the rest of his brain to tune in and stay in. There is no gluten-free-sugarless no wheat combo of diet that is going to remap the synapses and messages in his head. We have counseled and therapied our son to the max of where his own body can get him and now we need interventions. It happens to come in a prescription bottle from the pharmacy… hopefully. If he was diabetic, we would give him medicine. If he had a thyroid problem, we would give him medicine. This is not hugely different from the other physical impediments that need medical assistance.

This is new to us. All I can say is the amount of stigma, the giant cloud of public opinion, the dark cloud of family opinion, has honestly influenced the way I parent my kid and that is unacceptable.

No one else can be his mother, therefor no one else can make this decision and it does not come lightly.

I wanted to document our journey with this because there IS another option. There is an option to try what works best for your family, and if that solution is medication, that’s ok! I feel like this is the new breastfeeding debate. So many people were against breastfeeding for so long that clubs and national organizations were started to spread awareness and just the option to choose for yourself.

We deserve that. Parents deserve to have options.

Ok. Soapbox is now in the closet.

So today we are sitting at day 6 on Aderall. I have only increased the original dose one time. So far the side effects have been changes in appetite, but even that is moderate. It’s summer. It’s hot. My kids are fairly picky eaters to begin with.

My husband and I had a conversation with our son about the meds. I told him “The main idea is that it will help you focus more.” [insert logical conversation explaining what ‘focus’ means and use examples from his classroom]

“So .. is this something you’d like to try?”
“YES!” [feel more than anything the urge to be ‘normal’ and not have to struggle for something that comes relatively easily for everyone around him in that answer more than just the word]
Done. Decision made.

Today we leave a fantastic O/T (occupation therapy) session where his therapist is extremely impressed with his ability to stay on a task. His completion of something without 27 redirections. I say, “I’m so impressed with how well T said your session went! How do you feel about that?”
“Good.””How are you feeling inside your body?”
“…. i’m feeling good. I feel like I can use auto pilot now.”
{choke back the urge to sound panicked}
“What does ‘auto pilot’ mean?”
“Well… it’s like my brain tells my body to do something, and my body just does it…. I don’t have to go back and think about it more.”
“Ok… and is that different from how you felt before?”
[snort] “yea. Before my brain would tell my body, but my body would not listen … at all.”
“And do you like feeling that way?”
“Yea, i do.”
breathe a big sigh of relief.
“Well, i’m really glad that you are liking the changes.”

No zombification. No lightning bolts have struck our house. No brains being snacked on. Things seem to be going pretty well, despite all the stereotypes and fear. I’m just hoping we are lucky enough to find a good balance with the medicine, and dosage, and don’t have to do a lot of switching and changing things up.

I just want my kid to be happy in his own head. I want him to feel success. I want him to feel equal and able to simply do the things a 9 year old boy can do. Please do not judge parents who have to make these kinds of choices. You have no idea what it involves. Parents will innately feel all the bad feelings of guilt and insecurity when such big decisions are made right alongside all the hopeful and positive ones. We do not need outside judgements adding to the weight of an already overwhelming load.

Fingers, toes, eyes and nose crossed that come September my son will have a marked advantage at 4th grade, unlike his attempt at 3rd, 2nd, 1st, etc etc

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