Severe is not good. Not good to hear in association with your child. …Or in association with much of anything, for that matter. So then especially not good regarding your child. Teachers don’t say your little boy is severely smart or severely gifted. Doctors don’t say your little boy is severely healthy or severely thriving. Friends don’t say your little boy is severely well behaved or severely sweet or severely adorable. One is not severely talented or successful or faithful or benevolent or wealthy. Because severe is not good. N.G.

Illness can be severe; damage can be severe; pain and suffering can be severe. Anxiety, of course, is very capable of being severe. All N.G.

So when highly likeable and reliable team of child psychiatrist and therapist specializing in ADHD explained medication only recommended for Severe ADHD cases in preschoolers, I naturally smiled and nodded and breathed. No more waffling between unknown longterm effects on developing little brains and likely immediate behavior benefits. Tests of morals, ethics, and courage on hold until further notice. ADHD tough enough; at least it is not Severe. At least we do not have to deal with what those poor parents must deal with. Good Lord. What must that be like?

But of course I breathed before beloved therapist finished sentence. Which was, “… and this is what we label severe.”


Seems like a tricky line given that impulsivity in little kids is apt to be rather dangerous—jumping into the deep end before you’re ready to catch or touching the hot pot on the stove or even running into the street without looking. No, that’s not Severe. That’s typical range. (Typical-typical even.) Mundane. Pedestrian. So it must be the life-threatening stuff that gave us away. The brazen facing off with Escalades, hurling Sigg-thermos missiles at the driver of the car, ninja training with the Wusthofs. Perhaps this is what those poor parents of the Severe guard against?

Cannot decide if I can wear Severity as badge of distinction—if I can move it from a N.G. to a G.—and thereby quell some guilt, discouragement, and (always) anxiety: It is Severe, but I am doing it. He is happy today. He is safe today. He is alive today. (Thank God.)

Yes. Moral, ethical, and courage testing becomes superfluous when it is Severe. Crisis mode kicks in when it is Severe. Severe is stripped down to the daily challenge to get the lawless little darling to the age and point when medication is more acceptable or safer or unconditionally recommended—IN ONE PIECE. That’s the crucial and tricky part. That’s the severest test of all.

One thought on “Severe

  1. Pingback: Emergent « Useless Anxieties

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