Gabe's 10th birthday is coming up next month, and since he's on the verge of double digits and all the incredibly complex and personal issues that are going to ensue as a result of that, he's not a topic of discussion here all that often anymore.
And every time I write about it, I mention that we've thought about medication and considered medication, and weren't ruling it out entirely, but that we were still not comfortable going that route.
And I know that there are probably people out there who will read this and will shake their heads in disappointment, and who will think we're making a huge mistake. And I might have done the same thing if I was in their shoes 3, or 4, or 5 months ago.
But I can't be concerned with what other people think. I need to focus on what's right for my child, and my family, and at this point, I feel like this is what's right.
I've talked to our counselor, I've talked to his pediatrician, I've talked to other parents whose kids take medication, and I've read endless articles about it.
I can't say that we've exhausted every single non-pharmaceutical option avaialble to us, but we've certainly tried other methods, and some have worked to varying degrees, but we still struggle. And more importantly - Gabe still struggles.
And as he gets ready to make an enormous transition - to middle school - next year, I am scared for him. I'm scared about how he's going to adapt to a much, much larger school, with a lot of kids who he doesn't know, and with more (and more difficult) work to do, as well.
He's my baby, and he'll always be my baby, and I worry about him. I want him to do well, and I want him to make friends, and I want him to enjoy school and not feel frustrated and anxious and worried and alienated.
Making this decision is, as I pointed out in the title, one of the most difficult things I've ever done. I actually think I decided a few weeks ago, but couldn't bring myself to say it out loud. I feel like it's an admission of failure on my part as a parent - like I can't help my kid, so I need to medicate him.
But I'm trying not to think of it that way, and instead think of it as what it really is - us trying to help him be the best Gabe he can be.
We don't know how this will work, or if it will work, or if he won't like the way he feels on the medication - and we're obviously considering it a trial. But if there are no bad side effects, and he feels good taking it, and he feels like it's helping him - then we'll likely stick with it for the foreseeable future.
I try not to judge anyone for their decisions, and I ask people to not judge me for mine. If you have never raised a child with ADHD, and never seen them struggle with work that they are clearly intelligent enough to complete, but just can't focus well enough to do so; if you've never seen your child yell in frustration that "I just can't get my brain to stop!" - then you can't say what you would do in my shoes.
These aren't shoes I ever wanted to wear, and I'm still not entirely sure how this is all going to play out, but we're doing the best we can, and what we feel is right for our family, and when it comes down to it, that has to be enough.