Remember that old PSA from the late '80s? A guy shows an egg and says, "This is your brain." He points to a frying pan and says, "This is drugs." He cracks the egg into the frying pan, which begins to fry, and he says, "This is your brain on drugs."
I can relate to that spot, now, but in reverse. The stark reality between Dylan being on medication and not was crystal clear this past weekend.
On Saturday, I did a craft fair. We got there about 9:30am and because my husband was working, Dylan had to go with me and be with me all day.
At 9, he's old enough to go off a bit on his own. He tried out the maze. He went to the playground. In the booth, he sold World's Finest Chocolate for school and watched my friend's 4-month old baby. We even slipped away for about an hour or so to attend my company's Family Fun Day.
I heard nary a cross word. At about 4:00pm, he said he was ready to go home. When I told him we had to be there until 5:00pm, he was perfectly fine with that. He even ended up going off with friends just as the fair ended to go to a family game night. While I'm sure the meds had worn off, he was seemingly well behaved.
Sunday was another day altogether.
I don't particularly like him to be on medications seven days a week. I completely get that there are good reasons to do so and for some kids it may very well be a requirement. But I like to give Dylan the chance to see the difference between being medicated and not medicated. I also like to give him the chance to fall asleep on his own, since the medication rebound makes revs him up just as he needs to wind down.
So Sunday, he was unmedicated. The difference between Saturday and Sunday was remarkable. Getting Dylan out the door took forever. Fifteen minutes after he started dressing, Dylan was standing in the middle of the living room naked save for one sock.
When we got home from church I asked him to clean his room and provided an itemized list to help him check things off. It took five hours and at least three declarations that he was finished (despite the fact that some items on the list remained completely undone). At several points when I looked in, he was playing with the toys he was supposed to be putting away.
Five minutes before brunch, he tried to take a break by getting a snack. When we said he couldn't have a snack since brunch was almost on the table, he stormed off. He argued over little things and told us to "just stop talking" so he could finish.
I know it's a difficult decision to medicate. A recent NYC play apparently addresses that very issue. But it was plain as day this past weekend that the medications help him get through the day, help him to exhibit self-control, and help him to be happier with the world around him. I wish there was a better alternative. But until one appears, I'm happy to have medications - however imperfect.