New Year, New Behavior, Part 4

There are times when we wonder why we waited so long to do something. Why we fretted, why we were hesitant. This is one of those times.

My family’s sensitive genetic makeup is such that we respond almost immediately to anything in our systems, whether it’s ibuprofen, caffeine, cold medicine, or stronger stuff. With prescriptions, doctors warn us that it may take two to three weeks to see any differences. With us, it’s often by the end of the second day. For instance, eleven years ago when I was on Zoloft for OCD and anxiety, I felt noticeably better on the second day after starting it. I felt so much better that I wished I had started sooner, that I hadn’t kept putting it off.

Last weekend, Nigel began his experience with Risperidone. His doctor started him on a very low dosage, and the literature included with the prescription mentioned that we probably wouldn’t see any behavioral changes for about two weeks. At the end of the second day, I could already see a difference. He was not argumentative. He was more complacent, relaxed. He was agreeable. His behavioral therapist also noticed it at his social skills class the next day. This is the kind of improvement we need for him to be able to go back to regular school. Of course, now that his body has adjusted to the very low dosage, he is no longer as agreeable as he was for the first few days, which I expected. We see the doctor in two weeks whereupon the dosage will be increased. But the process has begun. And it’s working.

And so, since I can already see how much this medication will help Nigel with his socialization goals, I can’t help but wonder why I was so reluctant to get him started. Why didn’t we do this before? Why did we constantly bang our heads into the wall (literally) in frustration, when we had options? Why was I so fearful of going this route? I don’t really know, but it’s not worth it to me to obsess about it any longer. Life is about learning. We learn and then we continue on. We make adjustments and we move forward.

Part of moving forward for me is recognizing when I need to take a break and then actually doing it. We tell our kids to let us know when they need a break, but we tend to ignore our own needs. When you have a lot of plates up in the air, it’s hard to justify walking away from them to take a break. But I know I need one, and I know my boys do too. So we’re packing up and heading out. This little clan is going to the coast for the weekend. We’ve rented a small cabin right on the beach, and my sister and brother-in-law are joining us. It’s a place we’ve been to before, one we all love, but we haven’t been there for three years. And that’s just too long. Nigel came to me last night at midnight, red-eyed, asking, “Mom, are you sure you remember how to get there?” He is so excited; he’s beside himself. This morning he actually said, “I am overzealous about going to White Rock.” He and Aidan have been counting down the days. So that’s how I know – we all need this. And I shouldn’t have waited so long to do it. So whether it’s trying new medication or taking a break when we need to, I’ve learned not to put it off. I’ve learned not to be afraid. I’m letting the plates fall where they may, and we’re taking off for a few days. Ciao!

9 thoughts on “New Year, New Behavior, Part 4

  1. Tera

    Have a really terrific vacation. All of you…relax, play, enjoy!

    As for risperidone, we initailly saw good changes with the medication. After a couple years, however, it seems as if I’m not sure it’s working anymore. We’ve changed the dosage, both up and down, and I’m just not convinced it’s working. So, I am again going through the process of: If it’s not working for him, should I stop putting it into his body? Is it really working, and he’d be even worse without it? Should I take the chances and take him off it?

    Last year, we tried another drug which is supposed to work similarly to risperidone…and it made Kaeden absolutely wild and rage completely. It was 2 weeks of pure hell til I could get it out of his system again. At least risperidone doesn’t have that effect on him.

    Good luck…I hope it continues to bring Nigel some peace. That’s what our guys really strive for. And if it’s working for him, Kudos to both of you.

  2. mama mara

    This is just what I needed to read! While you are wondering, “Why did I wait?”, I am wondering, “Why didn’t I leave well enough alone?” Taz had gained a lot of weight on his seizure med, Depakote. Also, his psychiatrist said that if Taz didn’t need the Depakote, he would prefer to have him take a different med. Depakote, you see, is also used for mood stabilization, and Taz’s moods? Not so stable.

    So we switched him to another anti-seizure mood-stabilizer. Now he’s a complete basket case, and I am beating myself bloody for it.

    We gotta stop being so hard on ourselves. We do the best we can based on the information we have. ‘Nuff said.

    Have a wonderful vacay!

  3. Fearless Females

    Oh what a yummy post and what a yummy cabin (I think I have food on my mind!!) I agree with this post so much that I could have written it as my own. I too held off on starting Nick with meds in fear of, well, being on meds… but I got the guidance that i needed and the education–just like you did; so good for you!! Good for you that you didn’t rush into something that you needed more facts about.. It’s funny too because Nick responded to the med within the first few days and hasn’t needed to increase dosage, so I agree with the fact that some people respond faster (more sensitive) to drugs… even for me, caffeine and alcohol work right away—yippy!!

    And have a great get-away!!!! Drink wine and relax and have fun—going fishing??

    I’m planning our get-away as we speak!!

  4. Melinda

    I was thinking the same thing…..Noah and I could use a break. I was already sitting here and planning some mini trips!

    Hang in there and have a good break!

  5. M

    “Why was I so fearful of going this route?”

    because 1. you’re a good mother and 2. you care deeply about your sons and 3. change is scary. those things combine, make something like a new med quite tension-creating. i’ve known people who have done extremely well with med, it’s really given them a great coping tool, removed some of the internal barriers to progress. so…it’s exciting that he’s responding well. that’s so great.

  6. kyra

    wonderful!! i so love that he said overzealous! and i’m so glad to hear that this is working.

    have a fantastic time on your get-away.

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