About two years ago, after dealing with several complaints about my son’s behavior, which caused him to get suspended from day care, and later on a one-day suspension from school, I consulted his general doctor. She referred me to a psychiatry practice.
We (my son and I, sometimes my daughter) attended therapy sessions, that did nothing to improve Jj’s behavior. He was four years old when began attending these sessions, which was spurred by him receiving lots of sour notes on his daily behavior from daycare. At the time, I was working a temp job, and was constantly getting calls from the daycare about the latest “horrible” crime he had committed. It was usually an act of violence or defiance, which caused disruption in the group he was in.
One day, I received a note from the daycare owner suggesting that Jj seek medical attention for his problem. Initially, I was very insulted by her note. How dare she insist that my child seek medical attention? Maybe she needed to get her head checked! But once I showed my mom the note, and allowed her to rage about it, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to let him start psychotherapy. What could it hurt? He had already been suspended from the daycare shortly after I received the note, so I had to acknowledge that my child was acting in a problematic manner.
We attended therapy for months, about every two weeks, to no avail. I believe it didn’t do any good, because Jj barely did any talking – he wasn’t keen on chatting about his feelings or past mistakes. That meant I had to speak on the matter, discussing his life in general, and other things. I stopped us from continuing the therapy sessions, since there were no positive results from it. About a year later, when Jj had started school, we returned for more therapy. This lasted about a year. Once again, just talking didn’t help to improve Jj’s situation. Jj continued exhibiting the same behavior that he did in preschool: being violent towards other children, not following directions, verbally challenging his teachers, having a hard time staying still in one place, and having serious difficulty staying on task when it came to his school work. Eventually, the therapist referred him to a psychiatrist located at the same practice.
I didn’t want to have to put my child on meds, but halfway through his school year of second grade, I had to have a mandatory conference with Jj’s teacher and the school principal. I knew beforehand that this was a bad sign of what I would have to do. The principal whipped out her iPad to show me the reports of Jj’s school performance, which coincided with all the negative behavior reports he had received thus far. He was this close to being suspended from school. I did what I felt was best, and agreed to try him out on medication.
About two weeks after Jj had started on a 10mg dose of Vyvanse, he began completing his school work on time, being attentive in class, sitting and staying in his seat, and was no longer violent towards other children. While I was happy at the improvement, I didn’t like the other Jj that surfaced. My energetic, talkative, smiley, and fun-loving son had become a former shell of himself – a kid who barely smiled and didn’t talk much. His appetite had also decreased. He was still struggling to get his homework done as well. I mentioned this to his psychiatrist, and she prescribed Guanfacine, which was supposed to help him with completing his work after school. I was unemployed at this time, so I was always able to give it to him after school. After a week of him having sleepless nights from the Guanfacine, his psychiatrist took him off of it. She then prescribed him 10mg Focalin in place of the Vyvanse, due to the decrease in appetite and mood swings Jj had with the Vyvanse.
I’ve noticed that Focalin works better for Jj than Vyvanse, but he still experiences a loss of appetite, and a personality that seems to be on autopilot mode. I didn’t care for any of this, so I took him off of the medicine completely once the school year let out. The first half of third grade has been tumultuous, since Jj once again has reverted back to his previous behaviors, sans the acts of violence. He has refused numerous times to complete his work, which is causing his grades to plummet.
Before the end of last year, I had began researching and ordering homeopathic ADHD meds. I ordered some, and have thus far tried three on him. I haven’t seen any improvements after nearly a month and a half, so I’ve switched to another form of homeopathic medicine. Since the natural stuff isn’t working yet, I had to go back to giving Jj his regular dose of Focalin Monday through Friday. I still give give him the natural stuff as well, so that it can build up in his body, and hopefully, produce some positive results. When he doesn’t have school, he only takes his homeopathic medicine.
I also ordered a bunch more of natural meds for him to try (see photo), in case what I’m giving him now proves to do nothing beneficial. I’m truly hoping one of these homeopathic meds work, because thinking of the long-term results of Jj being on prescription pills worries me about his future health, about the unknown affects Focalin may have on him and his body.
I do know for sure, that I’m not going to give up on my son’s ADHD, because that would be like giving up on him. I know this monster can be conqured, so I will continue my journey to find the sword in the stone.