After a nightmarish sixth grade year, I spent the entire summer pumping up my son with thoughts of, “middle school will be different, and different is good.” It became my mantra any time my son expressed worry about September.
Continuing the story from my previous post…
September arrived and I met with my son’s counselor, his special ed teacher, and the vice principal on the second day of school. I not only met with them in person, 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. She went off on him and he shut down for 2 solid weeks. I could have killed the bitch, but bit my tongue because my kid had to deal with her every day.
Fortunately, through a series of events (meetings), there was a change of teacher. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I met with the new teacher. November began with a new special ed teacher and high hopes. It seemed to be a much better fit. All was well again. For a while….
Then a month after Christmas break, my son got sick. Because it happened the day after I’d made a huge energetic shift during a healing session, I thought that he was reacting to that. When I create healing during energy work, it affects not only me, but my family. And adjusting to a big shift can take a few days. So, I didn’t question the fact that my kid didn’t feel well.
Because he’d had other times of not feeling well, being a combination of physical illness and anxiety, and had missed a week of school at a time, I didn’t get too worried when he missed a week of school. But, by week two, with no fever, no obvious signs of infection or viral sickness going on, I became concerned. At that point, I really needed to take him to a doctor, but my son’s pediatrician knows less than nothing about energy work and energy healing. I wanted to take the kid to a naturopath who knew about energy work, and who was intuitively gifted. The one person I knew that fit the bill didn’t have any openings for a month. But he referred us to someone else with similar qualifications. Synchronistically, this other doctor had a cancellation pop up and he was able to see my son pretty quickly.
Another week passed with no improvement and more visits to the doctor. Testing was done (getting a blood draw from someone who is terrified of blood draws and who is bigger than me was no small deal), and the day the results came in, my son finally fessed up.
It was all about anxiety. He couldn’t handle being in school any longer. Not one more day.
His system is so very sensitive. He picks up on everyone’s emotions around him and probably from the collective consciousness as well. He is all heart, and being thrown into middle school with kids who are not heart-centric and who have hard lives, was part of why it was all too much. My son couldn’t tolerate being around so much bullying (yes, he’d experienced some before, but there is so much more of it in middle school), drugs, and the like. Trying to pay attention in a room of 30 kids who are all hormonal, when he has ADD, was too hard. Trying to understand what the teacher was teaching when he has dyslexia (and trouble focusing), was too hard. Having only 4 minutes to pack up his stuff, get to his next class and be ready by the time the bell rang, when his brain processes things slowly and he was constantly worried about being late, was too hard. It was all just too hard. He cracked.
My baby was cooked.
The doc had intuitively picked up on the anxiety and stress the first time we saw him, but until my son was able to voice it and face it, there was nothing to be done. The day he fessed up, I knew I had to pull him out of school. He’d wanted to be homeschooled before, but I just couldn’t face it. I couldn’t handle it, partly because I didn’t understand what homeschooling could look like, and also because I didn’t understand the amazing freedom we would have. All I saw was having to shove a bunch of information down the throat of a child who hates to read, doesn’t understand math easily, can’t spell, doesn’t get grammar, and whose hands don’t write well. All I saw were potential battles (like ones we had over homework through a lot of elementary school).
But when your baby is broken, you do whatever you have to do. I withdrew him from school the next school day.
Since then, I’ve been learning about homeschooling, unschooling and deschooling. I’ve been doing healing work on myself around my own shit that’s been coming up around my son and his issues. And I’ve been trying to help my son cope with his anxiety and depression that have been ruling his life for the past 3 months. It’s been rough. Very rough.
Part of the challenge was discovering that over the course of years of my son’s diet and extreme stress, he has developed some physical issues that we weren’t aware of until the testing was done (blood test, saliva test, and applied kinesiology). Because my son’s new doctor is also an intuitive healer, he has skills such as testing the body for resonance with substances like food and medicines, and intuitively reading him. As part of the gathering of information to see why certain blood tests raised red flags, he tested my son’s body for a variety of food sensitivities. If you eat foods your body doesn’t resonate with (is sensitive or allergic to), over time it can adversely affect your digestive tract, causing a host of problems and setting you up for illness over time.
You may not have symptoms like breaking out in hives or having gastrointestinal distress. Symptoms might include having chronic low levels of congestion that you don’t even notice if you’ve always been a little bit stuffy. Or you might just feel tired. Catching this sort of thing early on can avert big time health problems later on down the line. (I wish I’d known about this sort of thing when my son was younger and had chronic sinus infections).
Fortunately, things that were caught will hopefully be reversed with a change of diet. Therein lies the challenge: changing my son’s diet. You see, having sensory issues, my son’s sense of taste and smell are extremely heightened. And as such, he is a very particular eater. He can’t handle the taste of many foods (veggies in particular), and textures in others. Unfortunately, many of the foods my son loves include gluten and dairy, two of the foods we had to eliminate. Potatoes are a no-go too. He can live without french fries and never liked potatoes otherwise. The fruit we eat most in our house is apples. They had to go too. Shit. What am I going to feed this kid besides chicken and rice?
The doc wants him to eat vegetables. He won’t eat any except corn – and that’s more a grain than a veggie in my book. So I stressed myself out trying to find ways to get veggies into the diet of a kid who can taste a half teaspoon of orange flavored liquid vitamin D in a 16 oz. berry smoothie. I shit you not.
So far, I’ve found 2 recipes that include veggies that he’ll eat willingly: cornbread (dairy free, gluten-free) with grated zucchini, and putting fresh spinach into a smoothie. Having to figure out what to feed this kid has truly sucked. Lots of experimenting. Lots of failures. A few new successes though.
The dietary changes have been accompanied by stress, grief, and depression: having to say goodbye (at least for now) to foods he loves. I went through a grieving period when I had to stop eating dairy five years ago, and when I had to stop eating sugar two years ago, so I know what it’s like.
Emotional resilience has also been a challenge for my son. With the way his brain is wired, not only are his physical senses processed differently and can be dysregulated, but his emotions can be dysregulated as well. He sometimes has trouble processing through an emotion, especially when it’s running high. Grief/depression has been a bitch.
The food changes for my son have also brought periods of low blood sugar, directly increasing anxiety.
Between not being able to eat what he wants, feeling physically lousy, and having anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, my son has felt like hell for the past six weeks or so. Many nights, he can’t go to sleep because of the anxiety plaguing his brain. So, he’s had weeks of his sleep being upside down, and he seems even more messed up then.
Not since he was a preemie in the NICU have I felt so helpless where my son is concerned.
I finally told his naturopathic doctor that we needed some help with the anxiety. Diet and Reiki wasn’t enough. “Is there a supplement you can give him to help him feel better? It’s been so hellish for too long.” Yes. So we are trying a few supplements to deal with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. I picked them up yesterday. One of them is lithium. Lithium!
Hearing the word lithium sent me spiraling back to the first time my mother had a breakdown (at about age 50) and was hospitalized and finally diagnosed with manic depression. She was medicated with lithium. She took it for years until her body started to have negative side effects that were attributed to lithium. My son’s naturopath very quickly assured me that this supplement is NOT the drug my mother took for years.
Here we sit, the kid’s sleep only halfway upside down lately (going to bed around 2 or 3 am and getting up around noon). New supplements to try.
And how have I fared with all of this stress? Well …