A few weeks ago we started a medication trial for Ivy. Standard stuff, really, when your kid has ADHD. This is not our first trial – we did concede to one less than two years ago when she was still at school and we’d just got her diagnosis. At the time, I think she was under so much stress, her system barely coping with the pressure of regular school, that they didn’t seem to make a difference at all. There was too much going on to notice the difference until she’d obviously had too much.
So we stopped.
Since taking her out of school she has come a really long way. She’s no longer depressed, and in general she is happy, and has found her love of learning again. Not in the conventional sense, as she doesn’t do well with sitting still, and prefers to watch videos than read books – personally, I’m not so much worried about the medium through which she is learning, just that she is. The fact that her curiosity and willingness to try things returned after leaving school was simply wonderful.
That said, she’s nine now, and her inability to focus has started to become more of a problem. She can read, but doesn’t enjoy it and I know from her father that he struggled with that too. She can write, but again, loses focus really quickly so it’s messy and unorganized (her words) and that makes her dislike it even more. These simple but important tasks are difficult, and increasingly getting in the way of her engagement with learning the things she wants, so we decided it was time to give the meds another shot. We talked to her about it, talked about how it had changed things for her father, and she thought it sounded like a good idea.
It amazed me that within a couple of days (once we got to the right dose) we could see a massive difference – she settled down a lot, all of her constant movement and noise making died away, she was calm, and so much quieter (it’s a little disturbing actually! lol as frustrating as it can be to have constant noise in the house, it feels unnatural to have calm and peace), and more astoundingly, she suddenly has a lot more clarity around peoples intentions and emotions.
I think was the most amazing transition, and a totally unexpected one. We had thought she was perhaps on the autism spectrum but now I am wondering if it’s all ADHD. I need to talk more with her psychologist about it, and it will be interesting to unpack, but when she’s on the meds she seems to be more connected, able to be more loving with her friends and family, than when not on the meds. She doesn’t take everything personally, or insantly interpret every ‘no’ as meaning that we don’t love her. Not only this, but those pleasant times she has had while medicated have solidified her relationships with her siblings to the point where they actually call each other ‘best friends’ now, and she has an easier time relating to them even when not on the meds. It’s beautiful, watching their friendships finally blossom.
It’s been really encouraging that she’s responding so well to it, despite the fact that figuring out the right dosage and top up times is mostly down to trial and error. There have been ups and downs, a roller coaster as the medication works and wears off. But, she always wants to try again the next day, and that is what helps me to feel okay about it. We’re trying a slow release medication now, and are hopeful that it will make the day smoother for her.
I’m a lot more comfortable with the decision to medicate now, and while I know it’s not for everyone, and think that those who choose to go without, or try different alternatives are also doing the best for their kids (we went without any meds for almost two years after getting her diagnosis), I’m pleased that we gave it another shot. Having seen what a difference it made in her father made me willing to try for her. And now, having seen what a difference it makes in her, I’m positive that it was the right call in this situation.