Two years ago, during a session with our Beloved Behaviorist, she warned me that watching your child adjust to medication can be tough. As the doctor determines the right match of drug and dosage, she said, his personality might… disappear. McD’s behavior might do us all in, but his personality is/can be great.

I had no intention of putting McDiesel on medication then, but still, this disappearing personality—something I had never even thought of as possible before—was the saddest thing I could imagine. Who would do that to their kid?

Oh, what a difference a few years of unbridled ADHD can make.

Two years later, this very morning, the child psychiatrist (who has also done “brain work,” which doubly qualifies him but still sounds—to me—like something one prepares for with a spade late at night in a foggy nineteenth-century churchyard) says essentially the same thing. And, two years later, I’m good with that. Possible side effect over the next couple days: loss of personality. (No prob.) And medication might knock McD out. (Yes, please.) Temporarily, temporarily, he makes sure I understand. (Fine, fine.) I must be nodding too eagerly at the prospect of giving my five-year-old brain-altering chemicals, because he says if McD stands up and faints, say, then of course stop giving it to him. Otherwise, there will be an adjustment period.

I try to look suitably serious, but the fact is I’m too desperate these days to be sad, holistic, or even anxious about partnering with the pharmaceutical machine, capitulating to this “Made in America disorder,” and taking the next step. Big Bro Typ has begun locking himself in the bathroom in order to play peacefully and avoid bodily injury. Over the weekend, we were awakened by McDiesel “making music” with two large Wusthof kitchen knives inches from our faces. Waiting has become increasingly dangerous.

So McDiesel has taken his first half-pill of medication. I feel the need to mark this occasion, which surely feels more momentous than it looks as McD just naps quietly in the den.

I’m thinking I could get used to this personality-less adjustment period. And then, minutes after McD wakes up, Big Bro Typ comes in to confirm that we did, in fact, take McDiesel to the Behavior Doctor this morning.

“And what were the results?” he asks.

I begin a carefully worded explanation about new medicine and sleepiness when he cuts in, “But a Behavior Doctor, right?”

I confirm this, again, and almost continue on about the double qualification of an MD and PhD with specialties in child psych, bio med, and …brain work.

Big Bro Typ is not impressed. “Well, he just called me the F Word.”

On the bright side, perhaps Husband Number One is right and I don’t need to worry about disappearing McD’s irrepressible personality?


4 thoughts on “Rubicon

  1. Love your post – been there with my middle one. In my experience (we’ve done meds for 2 years now), a good dosage doesn’t zap the personality – just let’s the *real* kid shine through by helping them with all that other stuff! If the meds are too strong or not the right kind you can end up with zombie kid, and if they aren’t enough you can tell pretty quickly and you’ll still see fidgets and impulsivity and stuff – it’s a balancing game! I can tell in an instant if my son hasn’t had his meds and most of his teachers at school can too!

    Humor is about the only way to deal with it! That and wine… 🙂

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