Our ADHD Journey

The beginning of our story.  I originally posted this on my personal blog site– March 12, 2016.

After years of feeling pulled in different directions- literally chasing kiddos through parking lots, our house, and stores, we made a decision that was not easy for our family.  We decided to have our children (the big two) evaluated for ADHD.  I had no doubt what the evaluations would show.  Both Ben and I, plus the kiddos teachers had to complete questionnaires about their behavior, as well as their response to peers and certain situations.  Last Tuesday, I had Eli’s evaluation with his pediatrician, and she revealed what I suspected.  He does not show much hyperactivity, but inattention and poor impulse control.  Since we have already done all of the recommended diet changes, behavior modification, etc., we decided to start medication.  I decided to wait until the weekend so that I could monitor him- and now I am so thankful for that decision.

Just like with most medications, the strategy is to start low and go slow.  Most of the time, you will have a subpar dose initially, but this decreases having too much medication on board.  Boy is that not what happened for us, despite our pediatrician starting low.  This morning, Eli seemed quite focused- wanting to color and write (which he never does, because like his mom, it takes too long to do it perfectly, so he just doesn’t do it).  But then, we started to notice odd facial movements, like moving his mouth all around, flailing his arms all around, and talking 900 miles per minute (all of which are very out of character for him).  He was even aware that his mouth was doing weird things that he couldn’t stop.  As a nurse practitioner, I very rarely call my pediatrician’s office line for advice.  Like, maybe I have twice total for all three kids.  Tonight, I called.  And apologized a lot.  But I called wanting to know what in the heck I should do.  Maybe he isn’t ADHD and this is a stimulant reaction?   Should we continue tomorrow and the side effects will subside?  The doctor on call said it was definitely not normal and we should definitely not take it tomorrow.

The decision to medicate at all is a very hard decision.  As with most mental illnesses- depression, anxiety, ADHD, PSTD, etc.– the general consensus seems to be if we could just discipline more, just get over it and be happy, just choose not to feel a certain way, we, or our children, will be fine– no medication needed.  Fortunately, we have an amazing pediatrician who reassured what I already know, and that is that the above is the not the case at all.  Behavior modification, diet, counseling all have a role in mental illness, but so does medication in many cases.  She reassured me that we would never withhold medication a child with a diagnosis of diabetes or asthma, nor should we withhold medication from our child with ADHD.

So, it’s already a hard and pretty judged decision, and now this reaction.  I am asking for your prayers that this medication gets out of Eli’s system quickly and easily, and that we find a good fit for him quickly and without more failures along the way.  And that, you know, he actually sleeps tonight, because so far, that does not look like it’s in our future!

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