Kendall’s healing from ADHD
Kendall is a spunky and spirited girl, which is exactly what we love best about her. It’s what’s gotten her this far in life. She’s not afraid of anything, she loves people and interacting. She asks small questions and big questions. She wants to know people deeply. She especially loves experiences such as travel, sports, art, theatre, nature. She wants to experience life at full speed ahead and in all colors of the rainbow. She loves life and she puts herself out there to experience it all even though she has physical limitations. She shines bright and people take notice.
In 2010 at the age of five, she began kindergarten. She was bonkers. Yes, bonkers. I’m not quite sure what happened that summer between pre-school and starting kindergarten, but something had shifted and bonkers is the only appropriate adjective to describe her kindergarten self. Spirited is good, bonkers is bad. She began to struggle in school and we started to notice unusual behaviors at home such as banging her head against her bunk bed, hitting, biting and overall disobedience. We brought her to our pediatrician at the time, who quickly diagnosed her with ADHD and promptly started a medication. We had our answer, she had ADHD and we had a plan to eradicate it, or so we thought.
The first few weeks on the medication were dreamy. The medication worked almost immediately, and we felt this huge sense of relief as the behaviors that we had seen previously disappeared. As parents, we felt this huge sense of REST. We no longer had to worry about her harming herself or her brothers and we received better reports back from school.
We only gave the medication once in the morning before school as directed. After all, the side effects of the medication were many and we wanted to be responsible in dosing. After the first month we noticed that the dose was no longer cutting it, behaviors started to return and by the time Kendall would arrive home from school we saw the behaviors again, but now they were ten times worse. We were horrified. As the medication wore off she became manic running around the house, incessant talking, yelling, and the head banging came back only worse. There were several times we needed to physically restrain Kendall for her own safety and the safety of others.
We did not recognize our daughter. When the medication did work, Kendall’s spunky spirit was no longer with us. Her body was there, she walked around, she spoke occasionally, but the spunky excited-about-life girl was nowhere to be found. The medication hijacked her spirit as we no longer felt her true presence. She walked around aimlessly, without a smile and no longer participated in life as she once had.
Our pediatrician suggested giving another dose after school, which we did, but that dose created new problems. Between the steroids she was on for her lung infections and the added ADHD medication she was now not sleeping at night. She would stay up till all hours in the bedroom she shared with her little brother banging around, talking, yelling to the point where no one was sleeping. We went back to the pediatrician and he suggested a powerful sleep medication in addition to oral steroids, inhaled steroids and multiple doses of ADHD medication. We didn’t even mention that Kendall was acting so lifeless, and to be honest, we didn’t want yet another medication at this point, so we didn’t ask.
I took the prescription for the sleep medication and walked out the pediatrician’s office feeling completely defeated. After sitting with this information for what felt like forever, and after I read through all the side effects to all the medication she was taking at the time it felt as though the addition of more medications may create an even bigger problem. As Kendall’s mom, I’ve always tried to look at her health long term. I thought to myself, is she going to require all these medications the rest of her life? At the age of 5, how was her body going to handle all of this for the next 75 years? I knew there was more to life than treating symptoms. I listened to my inner wisdom.
I searched online. There had to be someone out there who could help. I stumbled upon a special diet that could reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Feeling like we had lost Kendall’s true spirit to the medication and loving the vibrant soul that she is, I knew we had to try. It took some time, but with the help of an unprocessed whole foods diet, and our functional medicine doctor we were able to wean Kendall off the ADHD medication. We never needed to fill the prescription sleep pills. It was the first time I realized the true power we have with every meal we prepare and eat. The foundation of our health is what we put into our bodies.
We would later learn that Kendall was born with congenital Lyme and the ROOT of all her symptoms lies there. You can read more about that HERE. We still adhere to an unprocessed diet and it’s helped our entire family. This is where our journey with functional medicine began.
“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” -Ann Wigmore