On the one hand, I can’t believe I suffered—for years—such anguish over meds. I imagined them as powerful and permanent. As irrevocably changing McDiesel’s personality and seeping into the essence of who he is.* Some days, that undoubtedly would’ve been a good thing, but for a very long time I was first heartbroken and then haunted by the proposition. Now–after such emotional turmoil–mere weeks after beginning our efforts to match McD with the right one, I find that these medications are so superficial. And I do mean literally: like a band-aid or a jacket. You’ve got a scrape? It’s chilly? You’re throwing my phone against the wall? Let me give you this to take care of that. Put this on; drink this up. Pull off the band-aid, there’s the scrape. Take off the jacket, brrr. Meds wear off, and I hope I’ve remembered to hide my phone.
And this is why all those holistic, get-to-the-source-of-the-problem-don’t-just-cover-it-up approaches make so much sense to me. But those haven’t worked (yet), either.
So on the other hand, I can believe my anguish because I still have it. Other mothers have no trouble talking about this stuff–at birthday parties, soccer games, the grocery store. Their kid has this diagnosis, so he takes that medication. I write about it because I can’t imagine talking about it. I still feel weird about giving my five-year-old psychotropic drugs. I feel desperate and guilty and terrible and sneaky. I feel like I’ve failed him. I feel like I’m taking the easy way out. McD eyes me suspiciously as I cut and then grind up fractions of tiny pills and sprinkle the powder into his cup since he’s too young to swallow a pill. The harder he stares, the more furtively I work, hunched over his cup in the corner of the kitchen with my back to him. I feel like a drug dealer. Still, there are plenty of mornings or afternoons when I can’t cut, grind, and sprinkle fast enough.
And band-aids and jackets are helpful, after all. Even if only temporarily and superficially. Scrapes heal and warmer days come. There’s AppleCare in the meantime.
You know what just occurred to me? I can’t imagine talking about this, but there was a time not long ago when I couldn’t imagine putting my little boy on medication, either.
*(PLEASE don’t tell me all the evidence that this is actually the case with ADHD meds. I can’t deal with that right now.)