I am not suitably ashamed of my child’s ADHD. It’s become something of a sticking point in conversations with other people about her progress in school, her mounting self-loathing and her growing frustration with being “literally the stupidest person in the world.” I do not hang my head and squeak out an admission about my plans to succumb to the sexy siren call of amphetamines only after taking her to six different acupuncturists and two chiropractors and a priest.
Nope. If people ask me about my kid’s disorder, I am happy to look them in the eye and tell them that, after an uphill battle with her school’s administration and finally, finally getting the 504 plan she’s entitled to by law implemented, my next step will be to get her the medication she needs.
I’m not embarrassed of my own mental health diagnosis, I’m not embarrassed of my kid’s, and I don’t want her thinking she ought to be. Which is why it both elates me and pisses me off that a new, delicious chewable drug for ADHD may be available to her when it’s time for her to start taking medication.
I’m elated, obviously, because my kid refuses to take a pill and has been known to spew shitty-tasting liquid meds across the kitchen like a hokey spit-take gag. I’m pissed because Adzenys, the drug in question, isn’t even in widespread circulation yet, and people are already gripping their pearls and bemoaning the state of children today.
Adzenys, unlike its delicious chewable cousin grape Tylenol, is being held up as a sign of the end times because it has a very naughty acronym associated with it: ADHD. It’s another sign that parents, too lazy to parent correctly and too eager to blame their child’s shitty behavior and inattentiveness on anything but themselves, will happily cram yummy zombie pills down their children’s throats. If they can do it without stroking their esophagus, more’s the better! Maybe they’ll sit down and shut up faster, right?
I am constantly being told that parents like that exist. Not me, of course, concerned, unsolicited-opinion spewers assure me, but other moms. Those moms. Mythological ADHD moms. I haven’t met one myself, but maybe I’m just not paying attention (hey, where do you think my kid gets it from?). They probably hang out with a girl gang made entirely out of the welfare queens your cousin’s girlfriend’s sister is totally always meeting at the grocery store and the women who name their kids Lemonjello.
The conversation that surrounds Adzenys’ evils is largely the one that says people will be more apt to abuse it now that it’s tasty, but I call bullshit on that one. Not just because you’d have to be the world’s biggest naif to assume you could get high on a child’s dose of amphetamines, but because if you really do want to get wasted, you probably aren’t concerned about the deliciousness of the delivery method.
No, I suspect that this has more to do with everyone’s favorite whipping child — a diagnosis of ADHD and the drugs that are used to treat it. Every day on my Facebook I’m barraged by shitty, unfunny memes about kids and their made-up diagnoses from “friends” who either don’t know about my kid or know and don’t care. Memes like this one…
And this one.
Oh, and we mustn’t forget this one. Haw-haw!
I suspect that all this pearl-clutching comes not from concerns that kids and drug seekers will shovel Adzenys into their mouths in a way they don’t with grape Tylenol tabs because of what it treats.
Medications used to treat ADHD are easy to get into a moral panic about, because the underlying attitude is that it’s a lazy way to treat a fake disorder. Kids with fevers deserve our sympathy. Kids with ADHD deserve our skepticism at best and our outright scorn at worst.
So far I have been told to give my child essential oils, a shot of espresso, Mountain Dew and fucking bong hits to treat her ADHD. That’s how loath people are to lend any legitimacy to the notion that the drugs her doctor — remember those, assholes? — wants to prescribe for her might be helpful or effective.
My child has faced an uphill battle from all sides when it comes to her diagnosis. She’s been told that she’s lazy. She’s been told that gifted kids/girls/kids under 12 don’t get ADHD, and she’s been told by actual Dumpster fires masquerading as adults that she just needs to try harder to focus, because there’s no such thing as ADHD at all.
She won’t get that from me. I won’t teach her to be ashamed, and neither will her doctor, who has been kind and understanding throughout this process, and who, I hope, will give me more information about Adenzys when the time comes.