This post first appeared on the Facebook page of mom and author Stephanie Giese. Stephanie is a mother of five, writer at Binkies and Briefcases, and an advocate for foster care and mental health awareness.
It’s been a while since I posted a mental health advocacy message, so here is your daily dose of my unsolicited opinion.
I told you *Nick was doing well, but maybe I haven’t done a good job of explaining why.
If you need treatment, medicine is good. Take it. Talk about it. Refuse to feel shame about it.
Treatment is good. Seek it out. Talk about it. Refuse to feel shame about it.
I have eaten a vegan diet for years and feed my children a lot of very healthy food.
I have an entire case of essential oils on full display, diffusers in every bedroom and our living area, and a peppermint roll-on in my purse and vitamin supplements in my medicine cabinet. I have taken my children and myself to therapy for over a decade.
I understand natural remedies are valuable. I believe that in my core.
But just in case you need to hear this: Medication is also very, very valuable.
If you need it, take it. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you are smart enough to recognize a need and find a way to get help for someone who is suffering.
Maybe that someone is you. If your children need it, then how awesome we live in a place and an age when they can get it. I am thankful for healthy foods and natural treatments, but in reality none of those things are what kept my son alive and my family safe this year or last year or the one before that.
Nick has been to in-patient treatment four times since 2017, and I don’t know if I can count the number of emergency room visits or crisis calls.
But we have had a full year of stability now, which is saying a lot considering what 2020 threw at everyone.
I took this photo a few weeks ago because it felt important to share. But it sat on my phone until a friend’s post reminded me how important it is that those of us with experience talk about it and normalize treatment.
These are my son’s morning medicines. Just the morning dose.
There are 3 other doses at various times throughout the day. 12 pills and a liquid suspension in total every single day, not counting supplements or CBD which we use on occasion with full support of his team.
At times there have been even more. It took five years to find the correct combination and it will change again as his body chemistry does. Is it ideal? Maybe not.
Is it annoying and expensive to make appointments and fill prescriptions and meet each month with the school nurse? Yes. Do they have side effects? Yes. And that is okay. It’s more than okay.
In our case, it is literally life-giving.
So, thank you Resperidone.
Thank you Sertraline.
Thank you Quillivant.
Thank you Abilify.
Thank you Topamax.
Thank you Clonodine.
Thank you pediatric psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists.
And thank you to everyone else making it normal to talk about where to find help.
*Nick is 100% fine with me talking about his medication and brain health. He thinks it’s a bit weird that some people might not know it’s ok to take medicine when you are sick, but he speaks very openly about his experiences.