Do you ever feel like people look down on you for “medicating”?

What do you feel about the gung-ho types who insist they control their bipolar with nothing but supplements and 10 hours of sleep a night? I am getting a little upset at having to defend my choice to medicate my daughter. I don’t doubt that this DOES work for some people and that these things can be effectively used in conjunction with therapy and meds. I just get worried that people diss meds. They can be life-saving and I KNOW how bad my daughter is without them. Without them she’d probably be dead. So, no I don’t LIKE the fact that she takes them, but the alternative is worse and supplements alone will just not cut it.

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Wow, what a loaded question. One that I’ll probably get much flack for answering. BUT I totally get it. When I tell people my son is on meds I get so many different responses. It’s not even so much in the words…as it is in the LOOKS. People look at me like I’m just trying to sedate my child because I am not capable of handling him. They think I’m pumping drugs into him because my parenting skills are lacking so much that it’s easier than trying to discipline him.

And sure…that’s fine….

But to those people that think that…have you ever held a child in your arms who is almost as strong as you as he kicks and screams and bites you THROUGH your clothes to the point where it leaves a bruise? Oh…and WHILE he’s on medications? But I can probably guess what you’re going to say next, “Well, if he’s medicated, it’s obviously not working.” But that is SO not true.

BEFORE he was medicated, this was almost a daily thing and I was drained emotionally and physically by the end of each week. Now it happens SO rarely that I actually have the energy to handle the situation. It still happens, and it’s always going to. There is nothing I can do about that. Meds, Therapy, Everything….it means so little when it comes to bipolar disorder. But that ‘so little’ mean SO much when it comes to parenting that child with the disorder.

I’ve seen my child without meds. I’ve seen broken toys, thrown furniture, screaming, yelling, you name it.  And it happened DAILY. But on meds… it’s rare. On meds he’s almost the person that he would be if he didn’t have this illness. I’m not trying to sedate him, I’m trying to help him.

Things I don’t miss since I started him on meds…

I don’t miss him telling me that he should die….and how

I don’t miss him telling me that he hates himself and so do I

I don’t miss him trying to punch himself in the face, arm, legs

I don’t miss him trying to bang his head against the walls, floor or other hard objects in front of him.

I don’t miss him being depressed

Have you ever seen a 7 yr old depressed? Have you ever seen a 7 yr old hide under a table and cry because his life sucks? (And believe me, the child has EVERYTHING he could ever want and need.) Have you ever had a child scream in your face that you’re fake, everyone’s fake, nothing in the world is real except him?

If you haven’t, I completely understand why you think it’s unnecessary to medicate a child. If you’ve never witnessed these things, I totally understand why you think us parents are crossing lines and not giving them a chance to “grow out of it”.

But let me explain something…if I was to wait till he “grows out of it” … actually, that’ll never happen. We don’t grow out of bipolar disorder. It progresses. It gets worse. It gets harder to treat. The only hope us as parents have is to catch it before it gets worse. We know that meds won’t fix it, but we are hoping that, with time, we will be able to teach our children how to manage it.

And do I LIKE this? Not even I tiny bit. I don’t even like that I have to take them. But I do. Because it’s necessary.

As my husband says….it’s like eating Frosted Flakes….part of a complete breakfast. And medications for bipolar, is a part of a complete treatment. There is so much more that we are doing for our child. We are working with our school, our therapist, or family. Medication is actually only a small part to this healing process.

If you had diabetes, would you stop taking insulin just cuz it’s a “medication”? Not a chance. However, does that mean people aren’t going to look at you funny because you’re poking a needle into your arm? Probably not. But is that going to stop you? Nope. And sure, just because you keep doing it doesn’t me that it will cure the illness, you’re still going to be diabetic. Same goes for medicating bipolar… it doesn’t cure the illness, but does it help keep it under control? Absolutely. We don’t medicate ourselves or our children because we WANT to, we do it because it’s necessary.

I do hope I haven’t offended anyone with this post, but this is my life. These are the things I’ve had to argue within my own mind. These are the things I’ve had to repeat over and over that it IS the best thing….because it is.

And seriously….I am NOT saying that I am right and those who think differently are wrong. Because I can’t. But I can say that I am doing the best I can to help our child!

7 thoughts on “Do you ever feel like people look down on you for “medicating”?

  1. I have to say as the author of the question, we DO use many supplements- light therapy ox, vitamins D and B12, B6, magnesium, calcium, fish oil, St. John’s Wort (carefully, it can induce mania), so I am not against them. I just know how critical meds are, too.

  2. Oh I agree. there are so many options out there. Still, I also know that those are only supplements, and they can’t do what meds can. (Though I wish they could! Minus the fish oil….I saw the line “No Fish Burps” on the bottle, and as an avid HATER of sea food, I’ve been turned off since! LOL)

  3. Meds have given our son a shot at having a life, where before, we weren’t sure he’d make it through his childhood years, we weren’t sure he wasn’t going to seriously harm us, we weren’t sure how we were going to get through a rough night. But with meds, we now have hope.

    It has changed our life, even though it is still hard, we are making it. If you asked my son if he is glad he is taking meds, he would tell you he is. It isn’t fun, but he can tell that he feels so much better taking it. He has shared that the medication makes the bad side of his brain go to sleep.

    Is he zoned out, not connected because of the meds, absolutely not. If you never saw the medication, you would never know he was taking it.

  4. WoW! I can’t imagine what you and parents like you have gone through and continue to go through with your children. Me, the depression alone would scare me so much that I’d be rushing to the doctor for answers ASAP! If that meant meds, you better believe me, I’d have my kid on em! There would seem to be no alternative.

    I know how hard it is for me to do my relaxation exercises. How would I get a child to do them? And, how much good would they do? if the child is having a tantrum etc.. People that criticize you for medicating your son are totally ignorant of the situation. And, where’s the duck tape? Just kidding!

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