If you’ve read my About stuff, then you know that I process my life: the ups and downs, by writing. And lately, things have been mighty tough around my home.
I don’t know if they are more or less tough than when my father died and in response, my bipolar mother spiraled out into mania so far that she had to be hospitalized. I don’t know if they’re more or less tough than when my mother came out of the hospital and within a few months was severely depressed; so depressed that for the first time in her life she was hospitalized for depression about six months after coming out of treatment for extreme mania, delusions and paranoia. I don’t know if they’re more or less tough than Moms taking her life on Christmas Eve 2012 a few months out of the hospitalization for depression, ten months after Dad died.
I guess there isn’t really a more or less tough, there’s just different. When your child is hurting, you can’t compare it to anything else. It’s your baby. And my baby, who is now 13, has been hurting. His brain has been invaded by anxiety and panic attacks.
He’s actually had anxiety for years, and it always came up around school: having to be in school. You see, he’s an exquisitely sensitive soul who is not wired for Duality Consciousness. He is created for pure love and Unity. As an empath he feels everyone’s feelings (and then some) and wants everyone to be happy. When they’re not, he wants to do what he can to help them feel better. He also picks up on things that his brain can’t even process, which causes it to categorize those things into the “unknown and assumed to be danger” category, causing anxiety.
In school, my son struggled to learn things like reading, writing and math because they don’t come easily for him, and there is never enough time or one on one attention at school. It didn’t take him long to feel stupid. The one time of day when he felt great was recess, when could be free to do what he wanted, to play and laugh with his buddies. When teachers used loss of recess for the class as a whole, to punish one or two people who weren’t towing the line, it literally killed my son’s soul. He was doing what was asked, and yet was punished anyway. The one part of his day that allowed him to feel ok became a bartering chip that he often had no control over.
Each year of school began with a chat with his teacher to explain what his challenges were and how to work with him. Finally, a 504 Plan was created to give him some accommodations. Two years later when his performance fell, an IEP was created to add special education remedial help and more accommodations. Some years were ok. Some were beyond miserable. It depended on the teacher. Along the way, I’ve tried to get him help with two different counselors (no go there).
Last year was a year from hell for the kiddo. He missed about a quarter of the school year. Because it was his final year of his elementary school, and there was only one teacher per grade, putting him into a different class would have meant moving him to a different school where he knew nobody. A school that was 3 times the size. And I’d have to drive him and pick him up every day. I pushed him through the year telling him that the next year, at his middle school, would be different; would be better.
He’d be able to get up and walk between classes so he wouldn’t be stuck in one room all day. If he didn’t get along with one teacher, he wasn’t with them all day.
Once again, last fall, I met with my son’s counselor, his special ed teacher, and the vice principal. I not only met in person with them, but handed them a one page summary of what I thought they needed to know about my son. One by one, I connected with his teachers. Things seemed to be going along fairly well with one exception, one teacher. His new special ed teacher. What a fucking nightmare it turned out to be.
Fortunately, through a series of events, there was a change of teacher. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I had a meeting with the new teacher. Much better fit. All was well again. For a while….
To be continued…