Monday, September 19, 2016
Don't Criticize Me For Giving My Kid ADHD Medication
I'm sure you've seen the news where someone hacked the records of well known athletes.
It was discovered that Simone Biles is on ADHD medication. And some people didn't like this.
I've never understood why people get so riled up over what another child takes.
My son Tommy was always active. I noticed it from a early age.
He would barely sit. He would race around in circles. His breath would come out ragged and it looked like he wanted to sit--but his body wouldn't let him.
I'd take him to stores and he couldn't even be in the cart. He'd scramble free and race down aisles. I was constantly chasing after him. It got to the point where I couldn't take him to stores. I had to wait until my husband returned from work to get anything done.
People would tell me, "Oh, he's just being a boy." But I'd look at their boys who would race around but then sit. And rest.
My boy never did that. Oh, he would sit, but never for long.
He started Kindergarten and the phone calls from the teacher started.
"Tommy can't sit still..."
"Tommy keeps crying..."
"I had to take Tommy to the office again because he wouldn't sit for story time.."
It was almost daily. I was at a loss. He was my first kid. What was I doing wrong?
It was later discovered that he had autism--but he was also diagnosed with ADHD. I filled out many forms. The doctor observed him. The teacher observed him and filled out their own forms.
People would tell me, "Don't you dare medicate him."
I tried whatever I could. I changed his diet. Nothing. I begged him to hold still and listen to the teacher. Tommy told me, "My brain won't let me." I could see the sadness in his eyes. He wanted to be good, but his body wouldn't let him. Something was always going off telling him to move.
In the end we opted for the medication. It took a while to find the one that worked. I watched in horror as Concerta turned my boy into a zombie. He'd sit on the couch--something he rarely did--but his eyes were vacant.
I told the doctor it wouldn't work. We tried others with the same results. I did my own research. I was on the computer for hours. I needed to find something to help my boy.
I discovered Vyvanse.
There was hesitation from the military doctors. It was a special order medication. I'd have a co-pay. I didn't care. I paid the co-pay. (A few years later I no longer had to do a co-pay. It became available in the military pharmacy, but it's still special order so I have to wait a few days to get the re-fill.)
Guess what? The Vyvanse worked. I remember a few days after Tommy started taking it he said, "Mommy, my brain lets me sit! I can hear my thoughts."
I knew I had made the right choice. He did better at school. The meltdowns still happened because of sensory overloads, but they were less frequent.
When people discovered my son was on medication, I got some snippy remarks.
"A six-year-old shouldn't be on medication. He's just being a boy."
"You took the easy way out."
"Shame on you. You're giving your child drugs."
My reply? "Do not judge a mother who is trying to help her kid. You don't know what it's like to see your child struggle and not be able to sit when he wants to. You don't get it. You think you do, but you don't."
Sometimes they'd retort, "My son was the same way and HE'S not on medication." But I'd watch that same child sit happily on his own. SIT. He'd SIT. My boy rarely sat. My boy couldn't focus for long periods of time. I'd be working on his letters with him and he'd be rocking back and forth, back and forth and then slide off his chair and race around in circles.
My son is a teenager now and is still on medication. He knows he can stop whenever he wants. But he tells me even now, "It helps me get things done." His grades are mostly As and Bs.
So here's my plea: stop judging. Stop with the snippy remarks. Never ever make a parent or a kid feel guilty for taking something that helps.
Because in the end, we're all doing the best we can.