Friday, April 2, 2010

We All Have Our Critics!

For years I’ve been researching my son’s illness. During this time I’ve come across many articles about childhood mental illness and medicating children. What bothers me often is the critical view and lack of compassion I see in society. Below I’ve listed actual comments left by the general public regarding parents using medication to treat their child’s mental illness. Check it out:

Haven’t we found enough ways to give kids excuses to give up and blame something else for their problems? Buck up parents, turn off the TV, be good examples, and quit looking for pills to give your kids so you’re satisfied that you’ve done all you can do to help your poor babies. Think of them as poor sick babies and that's all they’ll be their whole lives!

My experience has been that meds are predominantly given to boys who don’t behave the way teachers and parents want them to. Who dominates the classroom and the parenting? Women. Draw your own conclusions.

ABSOLUTELY disgusting. Giving a 6 year old drugs?? Let’s get real, here. You may as well be sending them out to a street corner to ask for meth! Do you really think, that because a doctor prescribed it, it’s safer? Huge misconception! You’re in for a rude awakening and so are your children. I feel VERY sorry for them.

You’d rather have your kids be perfect little overachieving robots than being... kids?

Most are mentally messed up by parents, family, and home situations that don’t take them into consideration or care. Drugs very often are the shortcut to parenting. 


Ouch! That kinda hurts. I wish I could show the world what we’ve been living through. If they were there when my son wanted to kill himself at only 7 years old or saw the bruises he created on others during a rage, would they think differently? If they saw that we’re dedicated parents and that for the past 2 years we’ve been trying everything possible before turning to medication, would they still judge us so harshly? If they heard my “medicated” son say that he now feels happiness inside instead of anger and sadness, would they support our decision to use meds?

Why is this so different than a parent giving insulin to a child with diabetes or giving a child with a heart defect daily medication? Why are these parents praised for providing essential care, while I’m looked at with disgust?

Believe me, turning to medication is a very scary step. I’m aware that there are risks with side effects and that we don’t know the long term impact of these drugs on our kids, but what other choice do I have. Changing his diet, fish oils, exercise, parenting techniques, therapy and love didn’t help my son. If left untreated, he may die. So until science can find a better way to rescue my son from this illness, I have no other choice.

I know I have my critics, but if they were in my shoes, what would they do?


  1. I have the same sadness about how society may percieve me. However,I can also say that I held some of the same beliefs until I was giving my second child. In fact, I'm sure that those beliefs delayed my seeking help. I felt that -

    "meds are predominantly given to boys who don't behave the way teachers and parents want them to. Who dominates the classroom and the parenting? Women"

    You'd rather have your kids be perfect little overachieving robots than being... kids?

    Most are mentally messed up by parents, family, and home situations that don't take them into consideration or care. Drugs very often are the shortcut to parenting.


    I held the same beliefs, further with a family history of chemical dependancy, I was horrified with the idea that medicating a child would CAUSE addiction. It was eye opening for me to read the Harvard study that found FAILURE to medicate a child with a dx of mental illness caused 50% higher chance of chemical dependancy.

    I held those beliefs until the rages kept getting worse and no amount of good parenting practices helped. I held those beliefs until the rages were getting more and more violent. I held those beliefs until my baby was in a 2nd story window trying to jump. I was forced to suspend my beliefs and get my baby some help.

    So, I have empathy and understand where these people are coming from. I wish that we could help spread awareness to help our kids.

    This is not our fault and it is not our kids fault - it is not even those ignorant people's fault! I would imagine the biggest perpetuator of these false ideals is our "must look perfect all the time" society that never "sees" the truth when it's not pretty.

  2. Wow. It always amazes me how people are so quick to judge what they know nothing about. I've even encountered people who do not believe there is such a thing as mental illness. Someone told me once - it was just an excuse people use to behave badly!
    I honestly wouldn't know how I would respond if someone left me a comment like that.
    And so long as parents like you are doing what is best for your child - that is all that matters, right?

  3. The truth is people are allowed to think whatever they want to think and people will say whatever they want to say. I have a bipolar son and I am skeptical of meds and constantly question their use, although we have used many over the years. I have many friends and family members who won't even read my blog because they can't stand the idea of a child having a mental illness (or maybe they think it's catching ;) regardless of if we use meds or not. I wouldn't worry about defending your use of medication but rather just do what is right for your family. Only you know what is right in your situation and for your child.


  4. UGH! Don't even get me started!!!

  5. I am saddened that mental illness STILL has such stigma in this society...but all we can do is keep ourselves educated and educate all those around us, and hope they do so to all those around them!

    I can relate-- so many people are questioning your parenting skills when my son has an "episode" in public (rare but does happen) and it's just awful- They want you to do something to stop your child, but if you're using medication, then you're just "wrong." If they could live just ONE week in our shoes, they'd be begging to put him on anything--

    Don't let those comments hurt you, because it's not worth it-- you know in your heart you're doing all that you can.

  6. We are just walking through the beginning of my son's rages and trying to figure out what is going on. We have been blamed by many people that this is our fault and we don't know how to parent properly. It is extremely hard. I am so scared to put my child on medication. We did and it was not a great experience and we just got him off. We are now trying and there empowerplus vitamin/mineral product. I am unsure this is the route to go but I am willing to give it a try before we head back to medication. I am open to meds but I just want to try other things first. It reassures me that by reading others stories that it is not us doing this to our son. Thankyou to all the parents that share their stories and insight which can help all of us.

  7. Hey Anonymous,
    I understand your fear of meds, we all feel it. Don't be discouraged by a bad med experience, there are a lot of options and each kid is so different. Our doctor warned us that there would be a lot of trial and error with meds, not only with the actual choice of medication, but with the amount too. If the vitamins don't work, don't be afraid to try the meds again. Even though we went through some bad experiences with meds, I am still hopeful that the new medication my son is on may have changed his life for the better. So far, so good.

    And as for feeling bad about the criticism you get from others, you are not alone. I have had strangers make very hurtful comments. Hearing other parents living through this hell too has been very helpful. We love our kids so much and to walk around with the feeling that others blame us for our child's behaviors is just too much to handle. Know that you are a great parent, just your commitment to trying all options, like truehope, is an example of your love and dedication to helping your child.

  8. My mother in law wouldn't talk to me for MONTHS when I put my son on meds. His dad and I are divorced and he lives with his parents and when the kids were there he didn't have any really bad episodes. I invited her to my house to see one. The night that I had to call them to come help me, I think she finally understood. My husband wasn't home and my then 11 year old was getting stronger than me. My 7 year old daughter locked herself in the bathroom and called her dad to come help. People just can't believe something until they see it. Bipolar is real. It affects children. It hurts whole families. I am so much more of a parent than the people who criticize meds. Half of them probably don't even know what their kids do on a daily basis.

  9. Hi MIch- I’ve read through all your posts, thank you so much for all the feedback. It’s good to know that others understand with experience what we’re going through. I hope things improve with his meds, middle school is a very scary time for these kids, we aren't there yet, but it scares me. Also, going through puberty is a whole new journey, since their meds may need to be adjusted and as they get bigger, they can cause more harm to those around them, very scary stuff!

  10. I am an adult with ADHD in France, and I hear those kind of comments from... physicians !!
    Yuck !!
    They shall have a little background of mental illness, but what do they do instead ????

    I can complete the list with the comments I've heard, as from my stepmother (an American psychologist in France, unbelievable I know) and some physicians I could cross in 25 years of life :
    - "If her mother terminated her parental rights, we wouldn't get there" (she could also add "and I would have a child on my own, she is sterile". My father repeated what his wife said, because since she is a psychologist, she knows whereas her mother is just her mother)
    - "This mother pretends she loves her child, but she doesn't : if she were loving her child, we wouldn't have had those results" (so-told good friends. Now, their daughter is in 3rd year of medical school, and miserably failing. Amazingly, during all her school years, she was having 16/20 as general average, and I was always considered from them and from dad-his wife as worthing less than nothing, a waste to put in the garbage)
    - "You pretend to suffer from ADHD whereas you are lazy, finding an excuse to play suffering you don't feel" (a physician)
    - "If I were your father, I would have made back all your education without your incapable mother" (a physician)
    - "You'll never be able to have a job even with the best diploma : your mother created the deafness and a socially inadapted person" (a so-told-good-friend, who has no diploma. Well, I earnt y Bac, the French equivalent for SAT, it qualifies you to go to university)
    - "Someone as intelligent as you are can only pretend that she has cognitive impairment : if only your mother gave you up !" (a so-told-good friend)

    But, as an adult with "just" ADHD, those so envidable people today will not be so envidable tomorrow : who can say that one of their children will miserably fail at college, who can say that they will have no one becoming disabled after a car accident to the point the person is like a 6 months old baby whereas he was an account manager before living with his wife and two children, who can say that those envidable people will not be charged against for law offences, who can say that they won't get a cancer, a heart disease or a respiratory failure from cigarette etc etc.... ?
    No one.
    And in the meantime, the child who was considered as someone "to put in the garbage along with his mother who pretends to love him" will be an adult who makes the highest, the best, like playing music like Chopin, being a famous actor playing in the most important films of his times, the attorney who never gives up to defend the most vulnerable's rights etc....

    Well, I am one of these adults. With only my Bac, I am fighting to make a law change and I've earned quite a success (the French government accepted to write a change for the law I am fighting to make change. Still loads of work to do, but we are on the right path : my mom, my psychiatrist, my GP can't believe that I could get so many results while alone or nearly alone and with very limited means, only a laptop, an Internet connexion and a landline).
    Those who loved so much criticizing want to come back, but no way : i have never ever forgotten, they can apologize whatever they want, they will never gain back what they lost. The day they suffer, surely I will never ever run to help them, letting them even die on the road like wastes.

  11. Giulia-You bring up some good points about those who society rejects, that could possibly be the next great accomplished person, and how those who have it "all" can have it taken away instantly.