I want to thank everyone for your wonderful comments on my last post about Tom Cruise. I was pissed as all hell when I wrote that and I thought that I would share a little with you about why I am angry.
As I mentioned in that post, I have dealt with manic depression. As a matter of fact, I have battled it most of my life. When I was a teenager, I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me. All I knew is that I felt like I was on a roller coaster. Up one minute, down the next. My mother used to joke that it was the Gemini in me, I had two personalities. I was filled with self-loathing and my behavior was very self-destructive.
It wasn’t until I left my second husband that I finally got a diagnosis for my problem. You see, depression is not something that a person readily wants to admit. There is still a stigma attached to mental illness. It took a lot for me to admit to myself that I had a mental problem.
I received treatment, part of which involved taking an anti-depressant. In fact, I took Paxil, the same medication that Brooke Shields has been taking. I am not currently on medication as my symptoms have improved, but you better believe that if the need arises again, I will not hesitate to get another prescription.
It angers me that Tom Cruise and his ilk think that they are so smart and knowledgeable that they know what is best for people with mental illness. His remarks about Brooke Shields were unfounded and arrogant. How could he possibly know what is right for her? Because he “cares” about her? If he really cared, he would have taken his concerns to her privately and not slandered her on national television.
However, as mad as I am at Mr. Cruise, what angers me even more is Scientology’s stand against giving medication to children with mental illnesses and Attention Deficit Disorder. Celebrity Scientologists like Kirstie Alley, Kelly Preston, Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley have been waging a war against the psychiatric community for years. While I agree that schools should not force parents into medicating their children, I do not agree with their position that psychiatry is not a science and that children with ADD should not be on medication. Where are they getting their information from? L. Ron Hubbard, a man with no medical background.
My son has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). When he was a toddler, I thought that his hyperactivity was just part of that age. When he started school it was a different story. He was in constant trouble for talking and not doing his work. His teachers started gently suggesting that he be tested for ADD. At that time, I did not believe that Attention Deficit was a real disorder. I modified his diet, gave him vitamins, and tried numerous methods of discipline. I even tried herbal supplements. Nothing worked. He was in constant trouble at home and at school.
When he hit second grade, his teacher called me in for a conference and told me that he was the most hyper child she had worked within the entire 20 years of her career. She told me that he needed to be on medication. I was indignant, after all, she was not a doctor, how dare she try to diagnose my son. It’s a matter of priorities.
After taking a summer off to stay home with my son, I really got a good glimpse into what the teachers were dealing with on a daily basis. He was completely out of control. I was baffled and didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I had always prided myself on not being a lenient parent, however, no matter how much I disciplined him, his unacceptable behavior would continue. I decided that perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take him to the doctor and have him tested. The test results were definitive, he had ADHD.
It took almost a year to find the right combination of drugs to help him, but there has been a major improvement. His medication allows him to concentrate on his school work without leaving him zoned out. He is happier because he is no longer in trouble all the time. This may have been one of my light bulb moments.
I have had so-called “caring” individuals try to give my advice several times on how to deal with my son’s problems without the use of drugs. Nine times out of ten these people do not have a child with ADD. They are basing their opinions off of what they have heard, not what they have experienced. They do not take into account that I spent two years looking for alternatives. I have read and researched just about everything I can, pro and con, about this disorder. I have had him tested by over 5 different doctors and taken him to clinics that specialize in childhood behavioral problems. More importantly, I have lived and experienced it.
Putting my son on medication was not a snap decision made because I didn’t want to be bothered with dealing with his problems. Medicating him is not easier on me. I have to keep him on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid because employers don’t want to provide decent insurance. His medication costs over $700 a month. I still have to deal with the schools constantly. I have had 3 school conferences in the past 4 months. How could anyone think that medicating him is a convenience.
Attention Deficit Disorder does not just affect a child’s schoolwork. They not only have a hard time concentrating and taking directions but they also have stunted emotional and social growth. It affects their ability to socialize with other children and make friends. It breaks my heart to see my son struggle with making friends. Kids his age just don’t want to be around him because he acts two or three years younger than he is. Even worse, now that he is becoming a teenager, he is starting to be interested in girls. Given that girls mature faster than boys, it is going to be very hard for him to find a girlfriend.
To these Scientology celebrities I say, walk a mile in my shoes. Live with a child with ADD, without your money, without your nannies, without a husband. Work a full-time job and see what it is like to get fired for missing work to take care of the constant school conferences, doctor appointments and having to scale back your hours to ensure that you are at home to make sure your child does his homework. See how well you can manage.