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.)


3 thoughts on “Fix

  1. Hang in there. This parenting stuff is hard. And there is no magic bullet to fix things…. hopefully you find the right combo that works for you guys.

    And 5 isn’t too young to learn to swallow pills. It might take some teaching, but I bet he can do it. While I hate to liken candy to taking pills, you can practice swallowing tic tacs to see how it goes.

    Good luck.

  2. ** Air Hug ** as my drama tween would say! I agree with Andy above – there is no handbook or guide. With ADHD there isn’t a clear-cut solution, which makes it hard.

    While a simplistic example, you could liken this to the flu – there is a flu shot which people are divided about, there is tamiflu, which some people choose to use and some people are adamantly against. You choose what’s right for your family and your child. If he got the flu and the doctor said, ‘this med could lessen the symptom’s’ would you go ahead and give it to him? Would you let him try to fight it on his own with mom there to sponge his head?

    You’d probably do exactly what you are doing now: seeking out advise from a trusted doctor, researching the topic like crazy, researching the med(s) like crazy, making an informed decision about what is best for your child, and monitoring the results of that decision.

    Doesn’t make it any easier, and doesn’t make the decision itself right or wrong – good things or bad things can happen either way. Rest assured that just by making a decision, you are advocating for your child, not giving up or giving in!

    Hang in there – and bravo for getting your feelings out via this blog!

  3. You should see some immediate improvement in his behavior if he is on a stimulant. I have ADHD and was not diagnosed until I was 40. The diagnosis sure explains a lot. I could feel the meds working within the first 20 minutes of taking them. They kept my mind active enough I did not look elsewhere for that needed interaction. Good luck.

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