I’m not even sure where to start. Today was just what we needed.
We finally got in with the psychologist for the boys and it was eye opening. She was able to shed some light on things.
She also made it very clear that we are doing a good job and that our current situation is ideal. Homeschooling, being outside, reducing electronic time, being here at camp. She agrees that deciding to homeschool the boys was the best thing for them. She also knows about our camp and volunteers at the big mountain bike race that we do every year.
First we talked about/with Ethan. After some time, we all made the determination that he is thriving in his new situation. He is very active, always outside, riding his mountain bike, doing races, fixing bikes in the bike shop, playing in the woods, etc. He is doing well with his school work and focuses well. His ADHD is managed and as far as his anxiety goes, she feels that all that we are doing is working well for him. Deep breathing, talking through things, meditation, etc. She said that if at any point we feel he isn’t managing his anxiety, we can talk to the doc about getting on a med for it. But at this point I think what we are doing is working. I’m not against meds, but I would prefer to keep trying non-med options first.
The whole time we were talking about Ethan, Levi was blurting out and couldn’t sit still.
After talking about/with Levi, she has some suggestions and recommendations. She said that it’s pretty obvious that his ADHD meds aren’t the correct dose. She thinks that’s the first thing that we need to address. Also, he doesn’t sleep much at all, and hasn’t in a long time. We have been trying Melatonin and it’s not working for him. We have tried many, many things that are not medication. She thinks it’s time to try medication. So next Tuesday we are addressing those things with his pediatrician. The biggest issue is his anger. He blows up easily and gets frustrated at the drop of a hat. I think it is because of his lack of sleep and she said that that’s a possibility. But our family history of mood disorders and his inability to sleep at night + his anger issues makes her concerned about the possibility of a mood disorder (Disruptive Mood Dysregulation). But we are focusing on sleep and ADHD first.
They are both going to be seeing a counselor once a month or so. We are going to continue to work on non-med ways of managing these diagnoses. She recommended a book that I’m going to buy called 10 Lessons that Medicine Cannot Teach. She said that he needs physical outlets that he’s not currently getting because he’s not a fan of being outside or doing gross motor movement. Basically we are going to have to force it for a while. She also gave me a phone number of an occupational therapist to work on sensory input/output.
Now. I try really hard to do most things natural these days. But. Meds for mental health is NOT something I’m willing to budge on. Meds have changed my life, and I’m on quite a few. They have changed Ethan’s life, and I know that with the right dosage, they can change Levi’s also.
Some additional things we are doing:
We are reducing electronic time even more… only using electronics first thing in the morning while we get adjusted for the day (mostly because I move slow in the morning haha), then no more the rest of the day. They will be allowed to use them more on weekends.
I will be making sure to take the boys out for walks, hikes, or bike rides most days. When I don’t go with them, I will expect them to go outside. Ethan does that anyway; it will be an adjustment for Levi. We have talked to him about what’s going to happen. He heard straight from the psychologist about why it’s important. He needs a physical outlet and being outside makes a huge difference on mental health.
So basically all that I have been focusing on lately has led us to this point. I’ve already been working on reducing electronics, getting outside as a family more, sending the kids outside more, and being a “wild + free family.”
God knew just what we would need and he has made it all happen in His timing. I’m so thrilled with out things are turning out. I’m going to continue to be my kids’ advocate and help them get the best help they can get for their mental health.