Kicking "crazy brain" to the curb

So since most of you are not currently raising a child with a traumatic social history and extreme anxiety levels let me just give you a peek into what my normal getting ready for school routine looked like a month ago.
8:15 Wake Max up and mention that he needs to eat breakfast before school. Upon which the boy happily saunters to the kitchen table, because he loves school and can’t really wait to get back to his happy place full of people who are paid (not nearly enough money) to pay attention to him all day long.
8:16 Max sits down to a nice big bowl of cereal, usually made by Mama. Even though the boy is 9 and perfectly capable of making his own cereal. But that’s beside the point.
8:20 Mom reminds Max that eating breakfast entails picking up a spoon full of food and putting it in his mouth. Because he hasn’t done that yet.
8:25 Mom gives up and sets the 10 minute timer. The boy is 3 bites into his cereal, still in his pajamas and no meds in the system. And Mama is ready to get this show on the road already.
At which point the boy freaks out because he’s afraid of being late.
Now you’d think the boy who’s freaked out about being late would A) eat his breakfast, B) get dressed quickly, and C) make sure those meds that help him not freak out so much go into his system.
But you’d be wrong.
What does the freaked out boy do? He hides under the table. He lies on the floor and screams. He’s even been known to bang his head repeatedly on the (really hard wooden) floor on the mornings where he’s really upset.
Because these are the things that a stressed out, about to be late (again) Mama really needs to have happen.
A normal school day usually entailed my son showing up in the parking lot (5 minutes late) without shoes on, with a Tupperware full of soggy cereal, and a tiny container of meds. Because asking him to do 4 very simple tasks in 30 minutes was just too much for him.
This is not the point of the story where you offer your sympathy or suggestions for improving our morning routine. I tell you all this so you can rejoice with me at what I’m about to say.
There are new meds in my boys system. And they are wonder drugs.
The anxiety drugs weren’t enough, we added an antipsychotic to his daily routine.
And before you freak out because my boy is on an antipsychotic med, let me tell you what our new normal is.
Max gets himself up, makes his own breakfast, eats the breakfast, asks for his meds and takes them, and gets himself dressed with shoes before Mama even sets the timer. There may be a few screams in there, but not enough to write home about.
And the part that nearly made me cry in the drop off line yesterday: the boy (who used to be physically removed from the car most mornings) gets out and walks to his teachers without their assistance.
People. Are you singing the praises of these meds yet? Because my baby got out of the car All. By. Himself.
For too long my son has been trapped by a suffocating amount of crazy, unable to perform basic morning tasks. Praise God for meds that help him cut through his personal prison and allow him to function like a normal nine year old. Meds that let him think about something besides his personal demons. Meds that will surely rewrite the course of his future, and allow him greater opportunity for independence as he grows.
And thank God he can be in surrounded by a loving network of family and friends who are willing embrace these scary sounding drugs as a part of his new “normal”. How much easier is it going to be for him to function as an adult knowing that he doesn’t have to live with the craziness that could blind him every morning. That there’s no shame in taking a strong medication in order to have a calm brain?
So for our family, a big fat YEA for Risperidone.


Lucky Mom said...

Yea! for all of you but mostly for Max who now has a chance at feeling all the love you have for him!

Lauri Jackson said...

we deal with similar issues and Abilify was our savior at first, then it became ineffective and higher doses brought on bad side effects.

now we are back at the drawing board and wondering what med to try next.

glad to hear your son is doing better.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Wonderful! I'm so glad the new med is working so well. I thank God for the help that medications can give.

Aleta said...

One of my friends has a son with troubles and it was severely affecting his ability to focus on learn. My friend didn't want her son on medicine and tried other means, but eventually she resolved to trying medicine and it's worked wonders. She's thrilled with how he is able to handle life, so no, I don't knock drugs. It's hard on a parent to see a child go through such heartache and if there's any way possible to help, then do so.

Abby Norman said...

I hate that people stigmatize neccesary mental health drugs. If he had a wheel chair, would people be so sad you were choosing to use it? NO! Good for you and your great mama choices.


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