Just before the schools broke up last term, we took a very big step where Joshie was concerned.
For years we had persisted with therapy, rather than medication, against all medical advice. I can't go into all of our reasons for not wanting to give him drugs, I'd be here for a very long time, and I'm not sure even then I could fully express our reasons. After a long, soul searching and emotional appointment with his psychiatrist, we agreed to try.
The results were pretty instant, and rather surprising. It has made me feel very guilty about not doing it before, but Amanda and I have spoken at length and she has made me feel more comfortable about our decisions over the past few years.
Therapy has worked wonders with his anxieties and fears, but never really helped with his miserable time at school which was caused by his hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
We didn't tell the school what we were doing, we waited for them to come to us, which they did. There was dramatic change. We don't see it that much, the medication works quickly when he takes it after breakfast, and wears off in the late afternoon, and we don't always give it to him at the weekends. Suffice to say, he has gone from being excluded and being sent to a 'special' school for a period of time, to being the first school prefect to be announced, with responsibility for the new reception class, and bring given the first Head Teacher's award of the new year. And, he's happy to be there. It's a massive transformation from only a year or so ago. He's definitely quieter when taking it. It's not changed his character, but it has subdued parts of it.He's always been a very, very deep thinker, but now I feel he has a reflective and melancholy air. Perhaps I am being over analytical.
It means he will go through this final year with no major worries about the transition to big school, and that he can start to fulfill his potential, as he is properly back in mainstream education. There are side effects, and side issues. He doesn't like taking them, and at first refused, despite a very frank discussion with his doctor, who he trusts. "I'm not mental, I don't want these, and no one can make me take them." He was convinced by being told that it would help him to make better decisions, which is essentially what it does. He now suffers from headaches, and also has a vastly reduced appetite. We knew these may happen, and he is measured and weighed frequently. He has grown in height but lost weight. It's difficult to get weight onto him, he does a lot of sport. Luckily, he is still hungry at breakfast, and usually has cereal, yoghurt, eggs, toast, and fruit. His lunchbox comes back barely touched, and evening meals can be hit and miss. There's no point getting cross and being pushy, it's not his fault. We get as many calories into him when we can.
It's going to make a massive difference to his life, but most importantly it's made him happier. Hindsight is hard, and regrets are sometimes fatuous, but it's hard to have neither when it's your child.
He's come a bloody long way on a very bumpy road.