Saturday, November 18, 2006



So, Christine and I headed out for a nice dinner last night. Thai food at Satay. Just the two of us, the kids happily ensconced in the confines of our dojang participating in a kid's night out. And we're talking about stuff that's been going on lately with our kids and I finally just had to own up to the simple fact that I'm depressed. Not clinically, out of control depressed -- I think I'm safe without pharmaceutical or psychiatric intervention -- but I've spent the past couple of weeks in a sort of low-level buzzy fog sort of depression. I'm not terribly communicative. I feel muted. It's hard for me to get myself started on anything, or to feel terribly excited about anything right now. I'm in a sort of ... gray, damp cloud.

The reasons are simple, I think. After two years of trying to find a way around it, we've realized that we will almost certainly need to put one or both of our kids on ADD/ADHD medications. The real stuff. Ritalin, or Adderal, or Stratera, or something similar. Uppers, or anti-depressants.

I don't really want to get into the specifics of the past months or so. They're actually fairly pedestrian -- no big events, no huge breakdowns or catastrophes. Just the slowly dawning realization that things aren't getting better. They're getting worse. And for all the effort and time we've put in on avoiding artificial flavors and colors, administering omega-3 fatty acid pills, attempting to maintain a structured environment in our home and work with our kid's teachers to do the same in their school, attending Tang Soo Do classes regularly, and attending child psychologist sessions weekly to try to encourage good non-medicinal behavioral modification techniques to keep the kids on an even keel, it's just not working. Grades are falling, suddenly and rapidly. Social development is at a standstill. And, in Trevor's case, the kid just ain't happy. Days consist of a constant vacillation between generalized contentment and anger, frustration, and tantrum behavior. Dozens of tantrums and outbursts a day.

And, for my part, I find my relationship with my son, in particular, being defined by frustration and anger. This, obviously, is not good. Something needs to give.

But I feel like I've given up. I don't want to put my kids on medication. I feel like I must have missed something. But I've plugged away at this for two solid years, now, trying to avoid the easy fix, trying not to let pharmaceuticals do my job as a parent. And what I sense, now, is that ...

... well, this isn't a job I can do. I've failed.

And I wish I could say that this was all just my usual lack of self-esteem, or that I was reading too much into it. But I can tell in the silence and platitudes of friends when I mention this stuff that they think I've blown it too. That I'm taking the easy way out, here. Not everyone, mind you -- most of the folks that have been involved with us over the past couple of years know that we've exhausted ourselves trying to avoid getting to this particular space on the game board. But people that are not quite so close to the nexus of our lives -- but yet still people whose opinions I value -- have met my disclosure that we are seriously considering medication as a last resort, now, with a resounding ... silence.

Could it be worse? Hardly. If you knew these people, you'd know that silence is the worst of all possible responses.

And on one hand I want to tell them how hard we've tried to avoid this, and how it's killing me to do this, and how I wish someone, somewhere would suddenly pop out of the sky and whap my kids on the head with a magic wand that would suddenly make this all better. But it just ain't happening.

And I'm so, so tired of trying to defend myself on this. I feel like whenever I try to defend myself I just come off as self-justifying, as if this all just got to be too tough and I said screw it. And I swear on the lives of my kids nothing could be farther from the truth. I've never shied away from a challenge. I've never believed that the shortest and easiest path is necessarily the best one.

But we've run out of dead ends in this particular maze, after willfully ignoring the one direct path through all along. And I just don't know what to do anymore.

So yeah, I'm depressed. And the holidays are coming. And we have our appointment with a child psychiatrist in a few weeks to get our first round of meds. And I just want to hit myself. Make this my fault. Somehow extract a pound of flesh from myself and spare my kids this crap.

Mood: Ummm... hello?
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