According to Facebook, knower of all things, I took sweet boy to his pediatrician one year ago today. I took a picture of him and shared it via Instagram while we were waiting for the good doctor. I remember the rest of the day very well, so I am grateful to have this reminder of how things have changed.
One year ago, we went to the Pediatrician because the school demanded that we have a “formal diagnosis from an ‘actual doctor'” because the extensive test results I brought them from two psychologists weren’t enough.
One year ago, I began my fight in earnest for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) against the school system’s wishes — I call it dragon fighting.
One year ago, my son’s psychologist (who is awesome) urged me to accept the fact that medication was a necessity. He recommended a pediatric psychiatrist to handle the meds, but if the waitlist was too long, maybe start with the pediatrician while we waited.
One year ago, I left the pediatrician’s office with more questions than answers and an Rx for Vyvanse. My pediatrician is awesome, but the number of meds out there is so vast and so different with each child that she wasn’t sure how to direct all my questions and worries.
One year ago, I went back to work and sat at my desk, crying. Because I felt so totally powerless as a mother.
When I gave him the Vyvanse, he turned into a lifeless zombie. After that was Quillivant. Then Focalin, and even Adderall. The Focalin was the least of the evils, so we stuck it out, even though it meant he had zero appetite, and when he came off the meds, he was hungry, and that also meant hateful. I read articles about how parents got their kids off meds, how other parents were okay with the side effects because they were easier to deal with than the symptoms. I read about medications, discipline methods, diets, exercise, vitamins…………the list of what I researched and read about is endless. I have always felt, in my gut, that something was missed.
We had one more test, performed by GeneSight, which checks the DNA to see which psychotropic meds might work best. The meds on the GREAT list were all the ones that turned him into a zombie.
But we did learn that he was folate deficient, which they are starting to link to depression and anxiety. Apparently some people can’t break down folate, which is a building block of serotonin and dopamine. This explained his constant cravings for bread………
This discovery came on the verge of the “maybe your son needs something more; have you considered an anti-depressant” conversation.
My response – not just no, but oh he** no.
Enter Deplin, a biologically active folate vitamin which is broken down enough to be useful. I chose to be a believer in the impossible dream.
So far he is 2 weeks med free, gluten free, and taking a daily vitamin (deplin) with no side effects. He is more even keeled, happier, and loving than he has been in a long time.
Don’t get discouraged – don’t let them tell you there is only one way. Educate yourself on all the ways you can tackle this path, and always go with your gut. Some kids do need medication, as do some adults. There’s nothing wrong with meds. But you know your kid better than anybody else – go with your gut and be willing to consider different solutions.