This summer Husband and I have decided not to medicate Baby for her ADHD. I knew that it would be a challenge for everyone involved.
Baby is going to have her challenge of attempting to “turn her brain on” and learn the necessary Life Skills to help her succeed in Grade 2. All without the aid of medication.
Kid is going to have to learn to not push his sisters buttons, and how to talk to her so that she will hear him.
Husband and I are going to have to deal with task of TEACHING her the Life Skills that she needs to learn this summer
And then there are countless camp leaders that are going to have to deal with the Hurricane that is my daughter. So far this summer, she has only been a part of 2 summer camps, but I have at least 3 more lined up – one of which is a week long, overnight, camp. For many of these camps, the leaders are teenagers with little experience dealing with children with behavioural issues.
Why would I make this decision, you might be thinking? Wouldn’t the social and education advantages outweigh the side effects that we see?
There are a number of reasons on why we made this choice. Some of them are good reasons, others are reasons that are not really reasons per say, but advantages of this decision.
First of all Baby lost 6 lbs being on her medication. This scared me. 6 lbs is not a lot of weight, but when she is already underweight and only 6 years old, 6 lbs is intense. It got to the point where her ribs were visible. I wanted to get her weight up, but since she was hardly eating on her medication this would prove difficult while she was still taking them.
Another reason was the “kickback” we were dealing with. Sometimes, her mood swings were 10x worse as the medication wore off then they were had she not taken them all day. I was getting to the point where I wanted to deal with small mood swings 100% of the time versus HUGE mood swings only 15% of the time.
It was also getting to the point that after about 6 weeks of her ON the medicine, we were seeing no difference in behaviour between her on the meds and her off the meds. The first time we saw this plateau, we increased the dosage (much to my dismay). When it happened again, I knew the doctors would want to increase her dosage again, and I have to say, I just was not comfortable with that.
Honestly though, the biggest reason why I made this decision is probably in conjunction with my “anti-medication” viewpoint. I never liked putting her on the medicine, and I definitely do not want her on medicine for the rest of her life. I am not the type of person who would see the medicine as a “fix-it” solution. I KNOW that it is merely a safety net, an aide so that she can learn the Life Skills. But I thought, if she does not have the opportunity to USE these Life Skills without the meds, then it would be almost pointless to spend so much time teaching these skills to her. So I figure this summer would be the BEST time to take her off the medicine and teach her the skills all while giving her the opportunity to use these skills.
Halfway through the summer, I regret my decision. Teaching an ADHD 6 year old girl Life Skills is HARD! I am both mentally and physically exhausted. ALL. THE. TIME. I wake up in the morning, and I am ready to go back to bed. I drop them(both Kid and Baby) at camp and I don’t even want to do the “mommy” things that I have to do, such as laundry and cleaning. I go to class and I can’t focus. Some days, I just want to let Baby have her meds just so that I can take a small break to regain my sanity.
/Le sigh. As much as I want to change my mind, I know this will benefit Baby in the long run. My job as a mother isn’t supposed to be easy. And so I trudge on. Reciting the reasons over and over in my head, as I search for the light at the end of the tunnel.
On a completely separate note, I did not in fact get into the Social Work Program for September, and so I am done school as of next month, and currently on the hunt for a job. Potentially more on this in my next post.