The Constant Struggle

So let’s talk about ADHD otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a very common thing these days and I’m sure they everyone knows someone that has it. Whether it’s your friends child, your child or even an adult friend. It may seem like something that is just another common thing but when you are in the midst of it, it can be scary, dangerous and very difficult to understand.

adhd (1)

Well, I am here to say that we are a family that is in the midst of it all. Many parents choose to medicate and many choose not too. It is definitely a huge struggle as a parent on what to do. And with all of the mommy/parent shaming going on these days I have really held back about our struggle with Sean. I really wanted to share our story but dear God, I didn’t want the judgement and shaming from “friends” if we chose the medication route? Well I finally decided to say screw it and to share our story. I’m not ashamed of anything that we have done. We have done what works for our family and I could care less what anyone thinks. I have often held back on the blog because I was ripped to shreds last year for taking my kids into a family friendly brewery by a family member of mine. But I decided that I can’t hold back anymore. My life, my blog, my story. I want to share my stories with everyone. We all go through it. Whether we share it or not. This is my life. Whether you like it or not.

558206_4195258597722_1071267850_n

So here it goes….

From the moment Sean was born we knew that he was going to be an interesting and fun but difficult kid. He had some minor breathing issues when he was born that put him in the NICU for a few hours and then he had a bad case of jaundice for a few weeks. He was also a screamer and from the moment that he was born we used to joke that he was he a pterodactyl because he was so loud.

1917277_1223378502577_4255138_n  1909788_1220466949790_4772280_n

To this day the kid cannot talk without screaming. I think that’s how our family got to be so loud. We were never ones to yell or scream but once Sean came along our decibel levels greatly increased {sorry to our neighbors}. And after spending a week on vacation with him, I apologize to all of those sleeping in the hotel rooms surrounding us! At least he is cute.

13439088_10209486504097480_778440103453130460_n

When he started preschool, we knew that something was a little different. I tried not to compare kids, but Ben always understood things, potty trained like a champ and never gave us any trouble {boy times have changed with him}. Sean was the kid that would dart into traffic, open the front door to the house and go outside at any random moment. He would run away from us, destroy everything in the house and no matter how much I watched him, he found trouble. So we of course we alarmed all our doors, locked our cabinets and I kept that kid in a stroller as long as possible {oh crap, I just realized that Owen is even worse}. But we brushed things off. He was 3, this is what kids did. He wasn’t too much trouble in school but he still had some problems. But hey, it’s preschool what can you expect from a 3-4 year old. He was just different than what we were used too. Finally around 4, I had him tested to see if he qualified for any special classes through our school district. Nope, he was just a typical child but did show signs of ADHD, but at this age, you do nothing. You can’t tell at this age whether the kid had any real issues or if he was just being a kid. Deep down I knew something else was going on. But again, he’s just 4 years old. What can you do?

10629650_10204237259429644_8188839653003501781_n  386496_2744833898011_532956734_n  394498_4301000801211_2081053108_n

These past 3 years were challenging. Especially when you know that something is going on, but your child is so young there’s really nothing that you can do about it but survive and work with him the best that you can. You try to understand and not explode but it is so hard when you have a kid that can’t focus on one task for more than 30 seconds. When that child can’t even remember why he went upstairs, or what he walked 3 feet away to get from the kitchen. It was just continuing to build and build. We knew that he was struggling and therefore, we were struggling.  We tried to understand because we have all been that way and shit the kid was only 3, then 4, and then 5. When he was in kindergarten I had him tested for ADHD and of course he showed signs of it again {just like in preschool} But since his teacher said that he was still doing well and he was only 5 we didn’t do anything, I prayed that maybe he was still just trying to come into his own. We just went into survival mode and at that time we weren’t ready to medicate him {plus he was still too young}. I asked his teacher if he should repeat kindergarten. He was almost 9 months to a year younger than his classmates. She said no.

IMG_4475  ed7ec93c-12b3-4474-bde5-3e2d9b919210

He was having a great year in kindergarten but some safety issues started to appear at home — unsafe bike riding, running through parking lots, wandering off and a ton of other issues that are too nerve wracking to mention. So again we just dealt with it all the best that we could and wouldn’t let him out of our sight.

10660182_10204355003493172_1529516011065290162_n

Then we knew……. safety issues were beginning to rear it’s ugly head, a busted eye for not paying attention on the ice, a busted lip for smacking into some kids head on the playground and then the broken wrist…. which is still too traumatic for me to talk about.

Here are a few pics of our traumas, busted eye, busted lip, broken wrist….. this were the major issues.

image  image  image

Well this year in 1st grade, his school work started to suffer. He kept getting in trouble for acting up and not paying attention. He struggled with reading and math. I knew it was time to test him again. He was off the charts for ADHD. And since he was so far behind in school and the safety issues were a huge concern, my husband and I made the difficult decision to use medication. We spent a long time talking to his doctor about various medications and side effects. We decided that for him to succeed in school and for his own safety that we would start him on Adderall. It was a capsule and I thought that he would swallow the pill, but he wouldn’t.  We tried every which way to get him to take the capsule.  I thought of all of my kids this would be the one that could handle the pill.  NOPE.  No biggie, we could sprinkle on applesauce. Yeah, that didn’t work well either. We tried chocolate icing, jello, pudding, smoothies, anything that the damn kid liked I tried to sprinkle in the medicine.  It didn’t work one bit.  It was a 45 minute fight every morning trying to get his medicine in him.

I cried a lot because I felt like it wasn’t worth the pain and suffering. What was I doing to my child? Why was I fighting to get this drug in him. I felt like a horrible mom. Should I risk the bad behavior in school and the running in traffic at home or should I fight him to get his medicine in him each morning. I chose the medicine of course. The safety issues were just too frightening for me.

But we fought every morning and somehow, someway we got him to take his medicine. And you know what? He started to excel in school. He became a new kid. Reading and writing finally clicked, he was paying attention and when his teacher came back from maternity leave, she barely recognized him. He was doing so well. I kept telling myself that the struggle each morning was worth it. The kicking and yelling, the screaming and crying was all worth it, but one day Joey and I decided that it wasn’t worth it. We needed something new.  I couldn’t spend 45 minutes to an hour fighting him to take this medicine. I had two other kids that I had to feed and take care of. I just hated fighting with him to get this drug into his body.  Yes, I knew that it was working but at what cost???  So we had to come up with a new plan.

13346995_10209256507067698_3352848259151059478_n

So at his latest weight check appointment we decided to switch meds. It was a tough decision because I know that the first one worked and we found the correct dosage so quickly {which can be very difficult with ADHD kids}. How do I know that this new one will work? But on day one he begged to try it and loved it. Day two, same thing. It was amazing. We finally found one that he enjoyed taking but it still isn’t working as well. We still need to play around with the dosage because I don’t think it’s enough yet but we will get there {hopefully}. It’s hard now that he’s not in school and I don’t have feedback on his behavior from his teacher. But I know it’s going to be okay. I know that Sean is going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay.

I talk so much about how difficult Sean can be but let me tell you this…..Sean is one of the sweetest, cheerful, thoughtful and emotional kids on earth. He will cry over the smallest thing but he will take care of you whenever you need him too. I would do anything for him. I never thought that I would medicate him but honestly it’s been the best for him. I love him so much and I see now that this has helped him out so much. I love that kid to the moon and back. I would give my life for his {as I would for any of my kids}. It’s just a struggle as parents on what you need to do. You constantly second guess every decision, every fight, every doctors appointment.

13256001_10209175180874594_3125327125435408015_n

In the long run I know that this is what’s best for Sean. He is finally reading like a champ — and loves it. He’s no longer crying over reading. Just the other night I sent him to his room for bed. He was bored and not tired. 45 minutes later he walked downstairs and told me that he read 5 books and that they were awesome. That right there showed me that my husband and I made the right decision!

I have talked to so many parents who have medicated their children.  It shouldn’t be something that we have to hide in a secret moms club. Just like all of the parent shaming going on these days, we have to stick together.  Each of us would die for our kids to have a better, safer, healthier life. So if medication is something that is going to keep my son learning, excelling and staying safe then I sure as hell am going to give it a try!  Don’t judge, just pat my husband and I on the back and say ” you are doing great with your kids”.  That’s all any parent ever wants to hear. Trust me, no one wants to hear “oh your kids on ADHD meds”.  We struggle enough we don’t need any backlash from anyone.

Feel free to share your stories with me on my FB page or here in the comments section.  We are new {only 7 months in with the medicine route} and could use all of your suggestions, stories, etc.

Thanks for letting me share this with you all.

photo

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Comments

  1. Erin,
    I just wanted to tell you how moved I was by your blog and how admiring I am of your courage in posting it. I can’t tell you how many times, when I’ve seen your posted photos of Sean, I thought to myself that you must be exhausted trying to keep up with him. Sure, it’s definitely a great coping mechanism to maintain a sense of humor (which you always do) but at the end of the day you must feel the distress of having to be vigilant and in conflict 24/7.

    Each human being is comprised not only of his/her structure but also of a virtual chemical factory that controls life itself. When something becomes imbalanced how else to bring it back to homeostasis if not with the introduction of a modifying chemical? That we can do this is nothing short of a miracle.

    What parent wants their child to be driven by impulses over which they have no control? How can anyone think that medication is a more onerous path than that of forcing a child to continue to be tormented and out of sync with the rest of the world and his peers? We all crave a measure of peace and stability both in our emotional and material lives and it seems to me that you are making a difficult choice in order to have that within your family. Kudos to you!!

  2. Melanie says:

    What a strong and dedicated mom for doing what you believed in and sharing…ignore the Judgers and do what you need to do to keep your family happy, healthy and safe. Those are the ones that matter and will thank you in the future (hey, we can hope, right?!). Every family has their own struggles and situations, and no one can ever know what it’s like to walk in that persons exact shoes, so I’m happy you shared your story which will hopefully help others be a Doer like you and not a Judger. We need to surround ourselves with those who support us and pat us on the back for standing up for our family – and yes, sometimes we need Ginest feedback every once in a while but there are kind ways to share your OPINION (which is just that). So happy things are working well for Sean ❤️! And as your neighbor I leave you with this “May your yelling be loud enough to drown out mine” … Probably an Old Irish proverb … But really I came up with that one just now ?

  3. Love this Erin! You guys and your story. You are an amazing mom <3. Sean is lucky to have you both as parents!

  4. MaryAnn Crosley says:

    Sean is very lucky to have parents who are his biggest advocates. Having raised a child with ADD and Dyslexia and a learning disability in a time where noone wanted to buy the diagnosis nor had the resources to help. I will tell you to trust your gut. If you think something is wrong then keep searching for an answer and a possible solution. Now with a grandchild with some learning problems and probably some ADD tendencies, we are finding new solutions–Vision Academy tested her for eye muscle dysfunction for reading problems and she begins therapy soon. Also researching chiropractic care, there is a female chiropractor here who specializes in this for kids with ADD. Also the school will need to write an IEP plan for her to allow her more time for testing. Good Luck as every day is a challenge but you are so right when you are describing Sean as loving, etc as this was my daughter also. One of the most loving , giving , social people I know.

Speak Your Mind

*