Thursday, August 28, 2014

To medicate or NOT to medicate


Yes, you read that right. the mother who was vehemently against medicating children, has put her child on meds.

I was always against medicating my son. He was diagnosed with ADHD before he was diagnosed with Autism, and I told the pediatrician from the get go, NO MEDS.

As the years have gone by and as I have watched my child struggle, pita and I started to actually entertain the idea....

I still wasn't sure. That's a BIG step. But when Liam had his last manic episode, and our choice was inpatient over 2 hours away or home with an appt with the child psychiatrist, the realization was that medicine was going to need to be administered.

It was with heavy hearts that we accepted a script for Concerta, and one for Hydroxyzine for Liam. We were told that these are the first step. If they don't work it will be Zoloft, and then maybe even anti psychotics. So we started with the lesser of evils.

I was nauseous when I gave him his meds that first day. I watched him like a hawk. I mean seriously, Liam kept asking me to stop staring at him!

                               That day I saw a miracle.

  My son was concentrating. He was staying on task. He was playing something for more than 10 minutes at a time. He wasn't angry. He wasn't having constant meltdowns. He wasn't stimming constantly. We weren't walking on egg shells. (note: I don't mind that he stims, but sometimes he gets carried away (head banging) and I do fear it will hurt him)

We went from three meltdowns a day to maybe 3 a WEEK! Instead of bursts of anger, he cries. (I don't like to see him crying, but it beats keeping him from banging his head off the walls when he is upset)

I was afraid to actually come forth and admit that I too, was giving my son medication. So many people look down on those that medicate their children. I myself hated to hear that children were being put on Ritalin or Adderall. I didn't condemn anyone for it, but I hated to hear it. In my mind it was like people were giving their children legal cocaine. How could that be healthy?

And then my son went down hill. so fast in fact, that we really had no other choice. It was then that I realized that these medications are made to HELP our children. His doctor wasn't just throwing a script at us and rushing us out of his office. He was reaching out and telling us what he thought would help our son lead a happy, healthy life.

We just went today for a medication check up and when we told Dr. S all the good that has come from these two medications, he was smiling from ear to ear. He said that sadly, he doesn't always hear that it helps a child like this. He was genuinely happy that Liam is doing so well. We are happy. Liam is happy.

While I still believe wholeheartedly that medication should ALWAYS be last resort, I am now embracing it.

Not for me. Not for my life, but for him and for his life. He is happy. He is healthy. He is thriving.

My job as his mother is to make sure of that.

(I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT saying medication is the right step for ANYONE or ANY CHILD. I am saying that it should be last resort, but as parents, we shouldn't feel guilty for helping our children have better lives)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Psychic Chemotherapy

So I am reading an old but beloved book. I adore it. I read it almost every year because I enjoy it so much. I have read it at least 10 times, and this particular quote never stood out to me...... Until now.

When I came upon this quote (Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz page 134) I stopped. Not my normal stop. (by that I mean, when I'm stressed or over tired, my OCD tells me I must read certain sentences 4 times. It sucks, and sometimes takes me forever to get through a book.) I digress. I stopped. This time I reread the sentence because it was resonating in my heart, NOT because my brain was being a jerk and messing with me.

Then it hit me. When Liam has his manic/depressive episodes, I don't write. I have to force myself to get on facebook. For a few reasons I guess. 

One of which is, I shut myself off from the world. We exist in our own tumultuous vortex and leaving it at times like that is like, trying to free yourself from the grips of an F5 tornado.

Another reason is, though I love reading how my friends and family are doing, and I love seeing the fun times you're enjoying; when we are in that vortex, I don't want to see your happiness and sunshine. It makes our Hell seem much more harsh and cruel.

Not until the last time did I actually go on ALFL and ask for prayers. And something much more profound happened. YOU all reached out to ME, and you made the hurt, hurt a little less. Still, I couldn't bring myself to write about what was happening. I couldn't blog about it. I couldn't really even go into detail in a status update....

Up until I read that passage from Odd Thomas, I thought I was avoiding my blog because I didn't want to have to relive those tragic days. It was then that I realized, I was wrong. YES Pita, I said I was wrong.

And where I was wrong, Little Ozzie (well actually Dean Koontz since LO is fictional) was right. I know this because, when I was finally able to blog about Liam's manic/depressive episode, when I finally let it all out, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

I was no longer carrying that sad journey in my own heart. I opened up, and I shared it with the world. And it was enlightening!

NEVER again will I avoid my blog in a time of need. My blog is here to cleanse my body and mind from  "psychological tumors." All the cruel happenings of this world. From all the wrongs. All the not fairs, and all the what ifs.

My best advice as a special needs mother?

Find an outlet. For you. For your child. Blog, write poetry, paint, sketch, compose music. It doesn't matter how you do it, what matters is that YOU DO IT.

You release the negative and your heart will feel so light!

Thanks Dean Koontz for putting my epiphany into such meaningful words!

<3 <3 <3 <3

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Those that follow us on Facebook know that a few months ago Liam was almost hospitalized. Thankfully he wasn't, but it was close.

Afterwards we got him in to see a child psychiatrist whom diagnosed him as Bipolar, ODD, OCD tendencies and Anxiety. All of this on top of Autism, ADHD, and SPD.

This was a very hard time for him, and for us as his parents. I still haven't let myself fully absorb the feelings associated with his depressive episode. I can't. I just can't.

Last night Liam was sitting on my lap, rare for him now that he is getting older. I was thinking about other families I know, who have recently had to hospitalize their autistic children. The flood of memories from Liam's episode became so grandiose I couldn't contain them.

These words were flowing through my mind, so I quickly typed them into my phone so I could remember them today.


I stifle the feelings,
The memories, the thoughts.
I think of his courage.
How hard he had fought.

I couldn't give in.
I couldn't shed tears.
He needed my strength
To conquer his fears.

Feeling so helpless, useless, alone.
I shut down my mind.
My heart like a stone.

Still I stifle.
I push away the pain.
I bury the memories;
The heartbreak, the disdain.

I'm afraid to give in.
Afraid to feel.
I fear recurrence.
I fear he won't heal.

Just one little boy.
How much can he take?
How much can he bear?
How long til he breaks?

I stifle my breath.
I mutter a prayer.
I stifle the pain,
Layer by layer.

~Courtney B

My childhood therapist was right. It feels good to get that out. Even if it is in the form of poetry. The release is enlightening.
                                                              <3 <3 <3 <3