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Approaching the Cliffs of Insanity*

In a dispositional cataclysm of apocalyptic proportions, Brian is feeling optimistic (even hopeful!) about Carter’s med changes, while I’m reduced to chronic heartburn over it all. I’d probably feel better if I didn’t read absolutely everything (Everything! Because I’m a good mother! Informed! Conscientious!) about childhood mental illness and its medications. The atypical antipsychotics and the skyrocketing rate of prescriptions for children are all over the news these days (So dangerous your kid might spontaneously combust following the first dose!), and I’m like those poor shepherds in the dark field: sore afraid.

We avoided this class of medications for a long time. They’ve been on the table for almost a year, and I kept pushing them back. So we tried something else, and something else, and something else, and Carter raged on, full of self-hatred and bitter regret after every seizure-like episode. And since our fundamental question, our driving philosophy, about meds has always been, “Do the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits of this medicine?”, and that equation had shifted, we leapt.

Knowing that we made a careful decision with the help of a knowledgeable, med-conservative psychiatrist who we trust is not the same as knowing we made the right decision. There’s no way to know, before we try the meds, that we’ve made the right decision, and that blows.

So.

We made the med change (adding one (risperdal), discontinuing one, and beginning to wean off one other) on Tuesday. So of course that’s not enough time yet to see any real change.

In other news…nope, no other news. Carter is symptomatic; therefore, that’s it that’s all that’s my whole life. Right now, at this moment, he’s relaxed and content and I’m writing a blog post. Soon we will go make some lunch and read some books about lizards. Everything else is everything else.

*12 style points to the first person who can tell me from which movie this blog post’s title came. Because I’m cool like that.

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7 comments to Approaching the Cliffs of Insanity*

  • Anonymous

    The Princess Bride. 🙂

    I read your essay in Brain, Child, and then came over to read your blog. You all have been through so much, and obviously have much love in your family and for all of your children. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • Anonymous

    I hope, I hope, I hope.

    Aunt J

  • I just read your essay in Brain, Child. My 12 yr old daughter snatched the mag when it came, and I just found it in her trash pile. The scamp. I wonder which side she is on with the hosting teen sex debate???

    Anyway, good article. You are not alone.

  • Jen

    Princess Bride. 😉
    And you have an article in my all-time favorite mom magazine? I’d better go dig it out from under all the books and give it a read! 🙂
    Good luck with the meds change. We just pulled our son from the ADHD med he was on from October and are going to try going without. Deep breath…more wine…staying positive. There’s never an ideal decision, just the best one at the time I suppose.

  • jennydeer

    Just read your Brain Child article(It’s midnight here), “Wow”
    I felt like crying because I had/have a child who never stopped crying and still rages around and has gone through many therapies. Meds are Good, They help children feel good and secure about themselves and their scary world. You go Girl! Your blog is now on my favorites list.

  • Anonymous

    Such a great movie!

    I just found your blog and want to say thank you for sharing. I, too, am a homeschooling mom with a special needs son (ADHD/anxiety/social cognitive deficits- perhaps autism spectrum, gifted…the list goes on). Now he is 12 and has been on meds for about 3 years. The only regret I have is that I did not medicate him earlier. Not because it makes my life easier- but because he suffers so much less. Although the fact that it makes my life and my families life easier is also part of the equation.

    Anyway, I am glad I found your blog. I am not a writer, and being able to read some of my feelings expressed more eloquently than I am able to feels good, in a tortured sort of way.

  • I just read your Brain, Child piece, which is how I ended up here. It was phenomenal.

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