I've been wanting to write this blog for sometime. But a little part of me is hesitant. There are so many opinions on this topic. Some valid. Some ridiculous. I don't think its a black and white topic. I think it is overused, abused, misused however you want to define it. Recently, Matt Walsh did a live video on his thoughts of ADHD and it gave me the nudge I needed to write this.
So I thought I would share our story.
Of course it starts on May 21, 2011 when we had our first baby boy! He was such a good easy baby. Crawled at 5 1/2 months, walked at 10 months. Climbed out of his bed and learned to open doors a little after a year. Whoa...Life with a boy was different. Obviously. He was hitting the normal milestones...waving, saying a few words, etc. Until he stopped.
I have theories about why that happened but that isn't the point of this blog post. Ki was really different from Audrie and everyone told me it was the difference in a girl and boy. Which still could have some truth. He threw fits all the time. Over every little thing. If any thing was broken or out of order, it set off a tantrum. He tried so hard to communicate but we couldn't understand him 95% of the time. I kept telling the doctor but no one listened until he was 2.
He got tubes in his ears at 2 because of fluid build up and it did help with communication. He still wasn't the same as my friends kids. He struggled with boundaries. Every time we went to Chick-fil-A, he would fight or hit kids. He would climb everywhere. Huge fences, play areas, anything...it didn't matter. He had no fear. Everyone just kept telling me he was a typical boy. He would grow out of it.
I would drive home from play dates, MOPS, Mother's Day Out, church, etc... with tears streaming down my face because no matter what we did, our kid was the "bad" kid. We tried all the disciplines. We tried all the rewards. None of it mattered. I knew I was judged because of my parenting and it hurt. I just wanted him to be "normal" like Audrie. Or like his peers.
Fast forward to his 5 year well check up. I tell the doctor my concerns. Ki cannot control himself. The doctor tells me I am not stimulating his brain enough. I had 3 kids- one a baby. I felt defeated. And like I let him down in a sense. The doctor said lets see how kindergarten goes.
Kindergarten goes ok. He is learning and reading at an average level. His conduct grade was always up and down. There were a few really bad weeks at school and at home after dad died . I didn't want to medicate him because he was doing well in school. I always told myself that if he was excelling academically then I wouldn't consider medication.
This is what his behavior was like- his mind going a million times a minute, he could barely sit in a chair to eat dinner, if he had a thought in his mind he did it. Consequences didn't matter. We tried them all. One time he got in the dryer just as it had turned off. I was thankfully close behind and opened it. He couldn't open it. He spray painted my husbands truck. He peed in a bucket and poured it on his sister. He climbed on top of the roof and was playing with power lines. He broke almost everything he touched-drawers, the garage door, toys, expensive devices (2 ipads, a kindle) And a million other stories I could write a novel. I started to get scared for his safety.
I had heard such negative things about medication and again he was doing great academically.
The turning point for me came when he peed in the attic. I know its funny. But my goodness. I got him alone and said "Ki, what in the world would make you want to pee in the attic?" He says, "I dont know mom. My brain tells me to do these things and I can't tell it no."
He was so serious and so sincere.
Then we added Powell to our family. Things were so chaotic and stressful for everyone. Our house became tense. Ki seemed to always be in trouble. It was an awful way to live for everyone. I felt like we were drowning.
We were going to counseling for my anxiety and we talked to her about it. She gave us a new discipline method to try out. It did help for about 2 weeks. I was so excited and had hope that things were turning around. Until it wasn't effective anymore.
I was seeing my psychiatrist and talked to him about Ki.
I asked, "How do we teach him impulse control?" And his response, "You cant." I told him what I had feared about meds and his academics were good. He told me there was a medication that helped with impulse control that was a sedative not a stimulant. I had no idea this existed.
I immediately got in the car and called GT. Then made an appointment with Ki's pediatrician. After this appointment, we filled out an assessment and his teacher filled out one. The doctor called with the results. He said a child has to have 6 out 9 markers for ADHD and Ki had all 9. Not a surprise to me but a relief. I cried. All of these years, I felt shame for not being able to control my child or discipline him the right way. In that one phone call, it was all explained.
My son has a chemical imbalance in his brain. That is out of his control and out of mine.
We started the medication and in a few days it was a world of difference. I could sit down with my child and have a conversation. He was getting better conduct grades. He started bringing me his medication to take it because he liked his new mind. He didn't want to make bad conduct grades. He didn't want to be the kid in trouble all the time. He didn't want to be the kid who couldn't make friends because no one liked him because he was so crazy.
Our home is so much more relaxed. Sure life happens all the time. We are all still sinners. Ki still gets in trouble for plenty but it is just being a normal kid. And I know this is just were we are right now.
You might want to know why I felt compelled to write this. Mostly, because there is a stigma around mental health and in this situation ADHD. I am not saying it doesn't get over diagnosed and abused. But what I am saying is you shouldn't judge. You should help.
We are all trying to do what is best for our children. Help the mom in target who's kid is throwing a fit. Muttering under your breath "my kid will never act that way" isn't helpful. Support your friends, don't make them feel bad because their child is different. Get to know the different child for who they are and not the label you think they have.
Pray for them. Love them. Support them.
Moms who are struggling with a child right now. I see you and I feel you. You are NOT alone. Message me or email me (email@example.com)
Will Ki be on medication forever? Who knows! Right now this is what is best for him and what is best for our family. We talk to him about it daily. He knows why he is on medication. He knows what it does to his brain. He knows he can tell us at anytime how he feels about it. We plan to take it month by month, year by year.
(He does not know the label ADHD, he know his brain thinks really fast and he needs medication to help him slow it down to think through his decisions.)
The medication isn't a cure all. We do plan to start therapy soon for him. We want to be his best advocate and get him the most help now, so as an adult he will have the best tools for the rest of his life. He knows he is still responsible for his actions and we still expect from him what we expect of all of our children.
We lean in on the gospel and we plead for his salvation just like our other children.
We know that the cross is the only hope for all of us. No matter how our brain is wired.
I have always said Ki is going to make a great adult. He feels passionately. He is competitive. He is so smart. He is a quick thinker. He is hilarious. He cares deeply. He's a great kid.
Our job is to be his advocate. And that is your job for your children too.
Research and question everything. Pray pray pray.