Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Atypical Nation: Soapy Water Version

I kind of feel like someone’s dropped by and I have curlers in my hair and my kitchen is a mess. All I’ve had up on this blog for the last month is a quickly written musing about The Kid's lovely nose-picking…

Today, Philip Dawdy of Furious Seasons has linked over to me. Philip is a journalist and mental health advocate who was instrumental in planting the seeds of skepticism in some of the advice I’d been receiving on how to help The Kid with his difficulties in school, primarily in the realm of the medications he was being prescribed, primarily the atypical anti-psychotics.

The Kid took his last dose of Abilify in January. Philip has shared our recent success, and my strong belief that The Kid’s so-called bipolar diagnosis was an effect of medication side effects and bad diagnostics more than actual baseline functioning by him; and a rush to react to his behavior (in school, mostly) rather than find the underlying causes.

The Kid has been doing really well. It took about two months to really lift the fog of rage and aggression at school. At this time I can confidently state that I do not see so-called “mood” issues, and neither does the school.

I am pissed about the damage that has been done to my son over the past two years, the atypical years, and the slew of bad advice that I’ve received since I first went to his pediatrician to tell them about my concerns about his development, his hypersensitivity to sound, environment and food. I am pissed that I am complicit. I am pissed that these years have engendered bad habits in my son, I’m pissed that even though we’ve ironed out this ‘bipolar’ thing that he remains challenged, disabled.

That’s the problem. And I’m scared of being linked to by Philip because many of his readers have grown so skeptical of psychiatry and psychology in general that they find it impossible to believe that any child can be disabled, have developmental delays, have a mental illness. I do not need that wrath right now.

If someone were to spend an afternoon with my son and I, they would see a really extraordinary child, but one who does not fit within anyone’s definition of a typically developed kid. Perhaps we will see further improvement over time as the atypicals slowly leave his fat cells (the last place that I understand they cling to… Which is ironic, because one main side effects of the atypical antipsychotic class of medication is severe weight gain… Talk about poisoning over poisoning, and then making it even harder to get off of these medications), his motor skills might improve, maybe we’ll see his social skills improve too. Only time will tell.

The Kid’s just gone through a new set of assessments, to cement his diagnosis of ADHD, and to further explore where he fits on the Autism spectrum. These things do exist, my son will need special education and constant support for the foreseeable future. I just think there are a lot of very careless practitioners out there, and parents, who are not entirely careless, but instead are overly trusting of these practitioners. I also think doctors would do well to spend more time to listen, truly listen, TRULY LISTEN to parents. I also wish schools didn’t suck so very much, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, thanks Philip. Your support has meant a lot to me.


Jaci S said...

well, it sounds like you are making progress again. don't be sad about trusting the medical profession. you are trying to be the best you can be mom. they cannot help their inadequacies, is what i've come up with. our dear friend m.'s kid's dr tried to tell her her kid is probably autistic. not only is that wrong, but they did not even ask more probing questions they should have. and the kid is not even 2 yet.
good thoughts are sent your way as usual.

Philip Dawdy said...

you're welcome.

caty said...

Mol, i am so relieved to hear that the "moods" have passed and share your anger about over eager diagnosticians. As a mom, i also understand your agony about "losing" two years. I don't think that anything i can say can soften that fact except that you have been and continue to be an extraordinary mom, who, once you recognized the meds were part of the problem, hung in there and stayed the course to move him off them. So many moms would not have the confidence and the strength to defy the school, defy certain doctors and do what you knew had to be done. You are stronger than you think.....

Kristine said...

I found your blog the other day via Mr. Lady.

I too have a non-cookie cutter son. Although I haven't had a chance to read your entire store what I have read sounds so very similar to what we are experiencing with our son.

Although I wish no family had to go through this, it is comforting to me to know there are other mothers out there struggling to help their children as I am.

As for this post...you are so right about wishing physicians would truly LISTEN to parents. That is my number one frustration when we deal with them.

Anonymous said...

It's a relief to hear such good news even though I know it comes at a great price. You are a strong mom and your actions of love speak louder than any words could.

My experiences with adult psych meds and the careless disregard of the medical profession is bad enough without thinking of the profound effects of the same problems for children.

Stay strong.

soulful sepulcher said...

"...find it impossible to believe that any child can be disabled, have developmental delays, have a mental illness."

I understand because you have described my daughter. I wanted to stop here and tell you how proud I am of you, and that you have my good thoughts and lots of hope being sent your way.
No one does know what this is like unless it is their life, and for that we must just keep on going and do our best for our kids that we love so much.

Take care,
Stephany at soulful sepulcher

Leslie Dillinger said...

You are pure magic. And we DO need to talk soon. This weekend? I could even maybe do tomorrow night, depending. I would call you tonight but it's late and we are both exhausted (you know you are!) I lurve you. You are making the right decisions. Hard, but right.

Lyndsey said...

Amen, sister. (((((hugs)))))

Synchronicity said...

you sound like you have been through so much. my heart goes out to you. it is so hard to be a parent of a child who has special needs. i always feel like i am wearing a sign which says, "judge me." you are a good mom...you just just keep on forging ahead. your son is lucky to have you for his mom.

Kelley said...

This really awesome chick I know told me to come and visit you. She said I would love you. I would connect with you.

I read this post (and the booger one! OMG! My son EATS tissues and the boogers, no blowing here) and she was right.

Damn you Mr Lady! Now I have another fabulous blogger to add to my groaningly large feedreader.

And sweetie, how I feel your pain.