I thought I had seen some dumb things on the internet. I am a regular surfer and seem to be sucked into vortexes of idiocy on a regular basis. But then I came across Nicole Arbour’s video and realized I have only just scratched the surface.
I will spare you from watching the painful video, and give you a summary (you can thank me in the comments. Seriously, just TRY watching 20 seconds.) The jist of Arbour’s argument is this: ADHD doesn’t exist, kids only experience symptoms of ADHD because they eat Fruit Loops and McDonald’s, treating children who have ADHD with medication is child abuse and turns them into zombies, and something about a dragon at HMV. At least, I think that is what her argument was. There was also talk of sticking fingers in drinks, getting tired of sleeping with the same person over and over, and Usain Bolt. I think there was probably a full sentence in there somewhere, but I didn’t catch it.
It is abundantly clear that Arbour, of “Dear Fat People” fame, makes videos like this in order to prey on controversy and go viral (her page cover photo even boasts of how many views she has received,) and like most ridiculous attention seekers, she should probably just be ignored. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding treating ADHD with medication is alive and well. Videos like this simply amplify it.
I say without shame that ADHD medication has made my family better. My nine-year-old was diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago, after several years of suspecting as much, and after careful consideration and appointments with a specialist, we decided to put him on medication.
It was scary. And I felt guilty. Which is funny, because I felt no guilt when I gave him antibiotics for an ear infection or puffers for his asthma. But suddenly, treating this particular medical need was “drugging my child.” But what scared me more than the medication was the increased risk of addiction and suicide in teens with untreated ADHD. That statistic absolutely terrifies me, and so treatment became necessary before we reached that point.
I expected some improvement with the pills, but the difference was shocking. Once we figured out the right dosage, my child—who was not able to focus, who was constantly disruptive in school and at home, and who was becoming keenly aware that he was different from other kids—morphed into a child who loved school, who was working and learning at his potential, and who had the confidence boost to match.
Our relationship with him changed too. We spent less time trying to manage behaviour, and more time talking with our amazing kid. Making eye contact with his teachers no longer sent a shiver down my spine in anticipation of today’s laundry list of grievances. Instead, encouraging notes and completed assignments were coming home.
Here is the truth about what medication does for children with ADHD. It does not turn them into zombies, it does not erase their personalities—it lets them be themselves. The medication works like a dial on a radio, adjusting until the static is gone and all you hear is the beautiful music. ADHD medication has reminded us who our son really, truly is. It gave him back.
More importantly, he feels it too. We have reiterated many times that what we care about most is how he feels about this medication. Two days into starting, he turned to me and said, “Mom, I feel good.” Being able to focus clearly enables him to do things he truly enjoys, like drawing, reading, and learning to play the piano. It clears the way for the best in him to shine through.
So, while I will not be giving Nicole Arbour any more attention for her offensive, idiotic, attention-seeking stream of consciousness, I am going to address those who judge people for “drugging” their kids, and particularly those who think their children would benefit from medication but are afraid of the stigma.
You do what is best for your child every day. When they need comforting, you hug them. When they have made poor choices, you redirect them. When they are sick, you help them heal. ADHD is no different. There are certainly ways to treat ADHD without medication, and if those work, that is great. But if it comes to the point that you and your doctor believe medication will help, but you are hesitant because of internet trolls like Arbour and those who are like-minded, well, to hell with them. You do what is best for your child and your family. And anyone who has something to say about that can bugger off. Or perhaps they can set up a camera and look like a raving moron, ranting for likes. That seems to be working well for Nicole Arbour.