This changed everything.
Friends, we are finally seeing brave women step out and embrace mental health, admitting they’ve been a champion who asked for the help she needed.
But this isn’t my hand. This is the hand of my seven-year-old son.
Parenting an extreme child is unlike any other type of motherhood.
My son’s prescription ran out yesterday.
Not like other medications, this cannot simply be “called in”. It must be picked up in person, dropped to the pharmacist in person, and can only be refilled on the last day of it’s duration, per insurance regulations.
So this morning, after spending most of the night up with him battling a cough, we were awake by 5am and warred against a barrage of emotions and complete lack of impulse control without the help of his medication.
By 9am we we’re driving around town for a change of scenery, awaiting the pharmacy to open at 10am so we could get some much needed relief for his brain.
Between 5-11:30am, before his meds began to take effect, he spit, he kicked, he hit, he threw things, he screamed, he called names.
Why do I tell you this?
Because this is the real, raw, unfiltered everyday life of a special needs parent.
Sure, some of the logistics may look different, depending on diagnosis.
Maybe you spent your morning changing, cleaning, and dressing your teenage child who is fully dependent. Maybe you loaded a feeding tube. Maybe you calmed an outburst because the cereal bar company your child loves changed the boxes and they swear it doesn’t taste the same.
If you are parenting neurotypical children, please be kind.
See, we never dreamt, as we stared down at our pregnant bellies, of intentionally medicating our child. We never wanted to be late to events or school functions or even have to skip them altogether. But I promise you can trust that we know what is best for our kids.
And friends, we are tired. I am too exhausted to take unsolicited parenting advice from you, Karen.
I get that you are convinced that medicating my child is my worst adult decision, but sit down for this, K-Swizz, and lean in close: You. Are. Wrong.
This little white pill you see in my son’s small hand is his lifeline. This is the single opportunity he has at success each day.
See, without this little guy, his brain moves so fast and furiously through millions of thoughts in a single minute that he has no chance to make a logical or informed decision.
Without that pill, he cannot be who he really is–smart and strong, kind and thoughtful, hilarious and fun. Without it he only has one option–lightning speed, zero thinking before acting. Sometimes that looks like running and climbing and jumping, but most often it looks like it did this morning.
Parenting my boy is my greatest joy and my hardest assignment. No one who isn’t living this life can fully understand, and that’s ok. All we ask is that you take a moment to be thankful for your abilities and to not judge our different or inabilities.
Be kind always. Ask questions often. And never assume, because I can guarantee almost every special needs parent will agree that however hard you think our daily lives are, you can safely multiply that indefinitely.
This little pill offers our son hope and opportunity. It offers this mama maybe three hours a day of relief and a sense of optimism that, on most days, is otherwise too dim to be visible.
In our house, no topic is off limits. Not mental health, not medication, not sex nor drugs nor any other. I may mess up a lot of things, but our kids will grow up knowing that they are safe in our space to ask questions, to talk freely, and to be exactly who they are, even if their brain requires some assistance to let that true version of themselves shine. And we will not be shamed for that.