When Life Isn’t Safe

When we don’t feel safe we do all sorts of things to feel a sense of control. And the first thing that really worked for me when I was very young was eat. Food helped me feel better. I saw it in a hypnotic healing session several years ago. And not only did I see it, but healed the part of me who came to light.

I’ve never been skinny, even when my brothers were when we were all children. But I didn’t become obese until my thirties, when I had everything I wanted, or so I thought.

Today I was reminded of a comment my doctor made to my mother at my physical exam when I’d just turned 9, which was that I was about 5 pounds too heavy. My mother was always obsessed with the numbers on the scale, and eventually I was too. Happiness and our weight became directly correlated. Mom started diet after diet, and by the time I was a teenager, so did I.

Back then, there was never a conversation about mental health at physicals. I’d never even heard about mental health. And I certainly had no clue my mother was mentally ill. When I grew up there weren’t any conversations about appropriate touch either. These things just weren’t talked about.

Being the focus of my mother’s verbal attacks, she wasn’t a safe person. How screwed up is it to have the one who you bond with first, the one who birthed and nursed you, also be the one who viciously attacked you? No wonder I blacked out so much of my childhood. Food became my salve. But I had school as a refuge, and playing with my best friend down the street.

Her house was safe for me, and her mother was like a second mother. A sane mother whose moods weren’t extreme. Who not only showed me love and who was always there for her children, but who also demonstrated what being angry looked like without attacking someone.

Taking after our mother, my older brother discovered that controlling his younger sister made him feel safe. No, he wasn’t a focus of our mother’s attacks, but he lived under the same roof and was also affected by her. Watching how my mother treated me, unfortunately, his behavior was more physically domineering and turned sexual as he began to enter puberty.

Between the situation at home and the stirrings of my own puberty, by nine years old I began to put on a little weight likely in response to my own anxiety. The thing is, so did my son around the same age. But in his case it’s because he was born prematurely with a nervous system that has always struggled to be regulated, and he lives with anxiety. Food also helps him feel better.

We all develop coping mechanisms that help us feel safe and in control when life doesn’t feel safe. Sometimes they involve behaviors we do to ourselves, like eating. And sometimes they are behaviors we to to others, like controlling them. After my mother dominated me by verbally assaulting me, and no one caught and disciplined my brother for his behavior, I never developed healthy personal boundaries.

Life had repeatedly shown me I couldn’t control those around me, and don’t get me wrong, I tried, I was a shit to my younger brother for far too long, especially when we were kids. I grew up with poor boundaries that I could only voice when I hit the end of my rope. And they came out very loud and hot, not unlike my mother.

The beauty of healing using hypnosis has been two-fold. It’s helped me let go of all sorts of emotional triggers. And it’s educated me on why they were formed in the first place. It’s changed me quite significantly from the inside out, while giving me a hell of an education on the human condition.

I can now look back at my life and say I lived with a fair bit of anxiety. I felt it so often, but didn’t know what it was. And over the course of healing my inner world, so much is now gone.

The tricky thing over the past few years is I’m not myself. Living with or being around people who have anxiety, I sometimes run their stuff through me. And after having lost 95 pounds fairly easily back in 2016 and 2017, the first few years of my Kundalini awakening saw 75 pounds come back.

Over the past two years, my weight has been very gradually declining again, about ten pounds per year. And every now and then I find myself plagued by food cravings again. Things I’d already successfully addressed in healing sessions.

Yesterday afternoon I spent hours craving sugar, waiting for the cravings to subside. I finally gave in around 8 pm and went out and bought some candy. I bought more than I usually buy when I want to satisfy my sweet tooth, but didn’t think much of it.

And today, in the light of a new day, pieces of a puzzle fall into place. Feelings of the world not being a safe place were flooding my energy field, but they weren’t mine. These days, as much as I know bad and dangerous things can happen in the world, my core belief is the world is inherently safe. I was vibing off someone I’m very close to. And the emotions running through me sparked sugar cravings and buying more than I needed. Sugar changes our brain chemistry and can make us feel safe. And over-buying can be a coping mechanism for stress/anxiety.

With this realization I’m hoping the next time I find myself reaching repeatedly for sugary treats, I’ll be able to stave them off more easily. And looking at the issue of not feeling safe in the world (which came up in a healing session in 2016 or early 2017) in a future healing session might not be a bad idea either. Peeling away another layer of the onion.

Some of what I’m healing these days are issues I’d already healed and were put to rest. But between my “new” level of consciousness and living with active Kundalini energy, things are being addressed anew.

Triggered!

*Warning: this post gets very graphic and may be disturbing.*

Recently I began sharing my family’s deep dark secret with a cousin I thought didn’t know. Much to my surprise she’d known for forty-two years. Forty-two years ago, while my father had sworn me, my brother and mother to complete secrecy about my brother having molested me to the point of my becoming pregnant, someone very close to my father spilled the beans to his sister-in-law, my aunt. And she told my cousin who was in her early thirties at the time. She kept the secret.

Not knowing my eldest cousin knew about the secret I wrote her a three page letter spilling the beans, or so I thought. I told her about how when my mother was manic she’d verbally attack me, and I described my older brother’s predatory behavior that began when I was still in the crib. Through several healing session using hypnotherapy I’ve seen things my brother did to me when we were very, very young. And because of doing a lot of effective healing, my memory was also able to spontaneously retrieve things I’d long ago forgotten. Things like wrestling as kids.

Sure, lots of kids wrestle, trying to best each other. But how many kids get off on pinning their younger sibling down and then working up a mouthful of spit, slowly letting it hang out of their mouth, aiming for their pinned sibling’s mouth? Letting the spit hang and then fall, trying to get it in their siblings mouth? Or on their face? It may not sound like a big deal but the most sacred and personal part of a person’s body isn’t their reproductive organs, it’s the mouth.

Having your mouth violated is incredibly damaging.

In Marilyn Van Derbur’s book, “Miss America by Day,” she recounts a conversation in court with a judge:

I said, “My father penetrated every part of my body, but one of the worst acts he did was to French kiss me.” The judge stared at me in bewilderment. I told him how I had always tried to mentally separate my head from my body. I tried to cut off my awareness of my body and “not be there” by focusing on going into “nothingness,” but when he invaded my face, I had nowhere to go in my mind to escape.

For some reason, I was always strong enough to never let my brother French kiss me, even when he tried. That crossed the line.

I also shared with my cousin about other behaviors my brother did that gradually escalated from probing parts of my body to making me stand naked in front of his friends, to eventually raping me. I didn’t mention about being forced to grab his friend’s erect penis. I’d never seen an erect penis and didn’t understand what was going on with it.

After my cousin read my letter and called me, we talked for quite a while and I told her to share it with anyone she needed, to help her process the info. Yes, she knew I’d been molested, but hearing details can be hard; and especially so when it’s family you care about.

Not too much later I received a letter from another cousin by marriage who’d had her own story of being molested. And a letter from the initial cousin’s youngest brother, who sent me love and support, and who wanted to call. Yesterday we talked for about an hour and a half about all sorts of things, and I was surprised to know he’d known my secret too. Initially, I thought only one cousin knew because she’s the only girl and she and her mother were exceedingly close. But no, apparently all three siblings were informed.

One of the things he mentioned triggered something lost and forgotten in me. When he was first told about his young cousins, the disbelief made him question himself. Did he really hear it right? Was it actually true? This is the brain in shock. It tries to deny it and block it out. He recounted that a number of years later he wondered if we’d gotten caught up in child’s play, being curious, exploring bodies and sexuality. And years on he realized I’d been through something horrible.

A while after our conversation, the comment about children being curious and playing around sexually triggered something deeply buried. After I’d given up my daughter for adoption, my parents sent me to a psychiatrist. They thought they were doing the right thing. What I’d forgotten was the attitude and assumptions the psychiatrist had toward me. She assumed I’d been a willing partner to the sex, and that it was mere child’s play and curiosity that had gotten out of control. When she asked me questions, she always made me feel like I was complicit. For decades, I blamed myself for being raped. DECADES!! (I finally saw a therapist in my late thirties who helped me turn this around).

Last night my blood boiled. Rage rose up and seethed out of every pore in my body. That bitch! That fucking bitch! I was practically shaking. And finally today, when I could call a safe friend to vent and get emotional, I burst in to tears, bawling so hard I couldn’t breathe. Again and again. My body was right back to fourteen and fifteen. Shame, guilt, and other emotions wallowed around in my head. I second-guessed and third-guessed myself. Did I actually allow it all to happen? Did I invite it? Was I ok with it? And then I remembered the things that came up in my healing sessions, my truth. I absolutely did NOT invite it and I wasn’t ok with ANY of it.

After venting and bawling, my body was toast. Even though I went out and did one quick errand, when I came back I crashed, napping for more than two hours on the sofa. My body feels like I’ve been in a car wreck. Exhausted and traumatized. I’m spent.

Because of the state my body is in, very sensitive courtesy of Kundalini energy, all this old crap from my past is coming up and out. Fortunately I’ve got a healing session already set for this Friday to help move the rest of this memory out of my body. No more holding onto trauma from my past. Time for it to leave!

Is it easy or pleasant? Not necessarily. But I’m doing it. The role of Kundalini energy is aligning me with my true authentic self. Bringing up all the trauma I experienced growing up, the crap beliefs about myself that were created, and forcing me to let it all go. My body is processing deeply held trauma, often times briefly revisiting old feelings and emotions. But instead of cycling them around and around and shoving them back down, they’re moving up and out. Layers and layers, not only from this lifetime, but others as well.

I thought all the shit from my life had already come up and had been healed. Surprise! Here’s a wallop for you just in case you thought you’d reached a comfortable and peaceful place! Fuck me.

Thankfully, I’m getting good at releasing, letting my emotions and tears flow. Finding support in healing in a few people around me. Setting myself free from trauma. Like it or not, it’s being processed out.

A Few Things I’ve Learned About Trauma

Over the past several years I’ve had quite an education about trauma through a journey of healing my own. And what I’m realizing is how little the general public knows about it. No big shock though because people tend to do everything they can to avoid trauma and pain. We numb it and deny it until the cows come home. The thing about trauma is it’s patient. Very patient. The effects of trauma will stay with you until you deal with it.

trauma is patient

Initially, trauma will put you in a spin cycle of mental torture, sometimes so painful that the brain will actually block it out. For much of my adult life, I had very few memories of my childhood. When we’re overwhelmed, our brains flip into fight, flight or freeze mode. In my case, there was a lot of freezing because fighting did nothing and I couldn’t flee.

The thing about trauma is that it’s shocking. The initial phase of any traumatic event is shock. When my brother first crept into my bed at night and began to feel me up, I was in shock. I knew with every fiber of my being that it was wrong. It felt wrong.  Shock becomes embedded in our physical tissues.

After shock comes denial. What just happened? That couldn’t have possibly happened… to me. What the fuck? No. I must have made it up. I must have done something to make it happen. I must have caused it in some way.

Or the time I was at work and a drunk co-worker suddenly kissed me. We were in an elevator with no witnesses. He was old enough to be my father. And the kiss was 100% unsolicited and unwelcome.

What the fuck was that? I’ve barely spoken to this guy, ever. I was in shock. I couldn’t even react. Did I report him? No. I made excuses for his behavior. He was drunk. It was late at night. He’s been working here on the ship for months away from his family. I didn’t want to cause trouble because we were out in the middle of the ocean working. I essentially blamed myself for his bad behavior. That’s what we do.

That’s how our brains try to make sense of something completely unexpected and out of character. The brain creates all sorts of thoughts in an attempt to help us survive; to make it through the shock. It was my fault. I did something to cause this to happen to me.

I was 37 and in therapy, the first time I realized being molested wasn’t my fault. That I wasn’t to blame. For the first time in my life, I felt like a victim. I’d been groomed and victimized by my brother. And through memory recall during hypnotic healing sessions, I realized this dynamic went back to when I was in the crib. I was that young.

After being assaulted in the elevator at work, I made myself a promise. If it happened again, I’d defend myself physically with every ounce of strength I had. He’d be sorry. Fortunately, it never happened again.

The thing about the trauma around having been molested was the complexity of it. Years of being bullied that rolled into full-on sexual assault. Rape that went on for a few years until I became pregnant and the pregnancy was discovered. And then very shamefully hidden. Talk about driving home feelings of blaming myself. I didn’t tell because I’d get in trouble. He threatened me to not tell. And when it all came out, the shit hit the fan.

My father was mortified and swore us all to secrecy. Trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma. Mountains of self-blame supported deep shame as I was hidden away in a home for unwed mothers and sworn to secrecy. I could tell no one that I’d been molested by my brother, not even the other girls at the home. My doctor knew because she diagnosed the pregnancy, and so did the woman who ran the home.

I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. And for years I didn’t. I was locked tight with shame.

What owning being a victim did for me was free me of self-blame. I finally knew it wasn’t my fault. That one step was HUGE.

When I was in my mid-forties and was using hypnosis to try to heal food issues, during a session I experienced a deep and very unexpected healing that left me free from all feelings of shame. It was like a cement mantle was lifted from my shoulders. Just incredible. I hadn’t realized how ashamed of having been molested and having a child out of wedlock I’d been. For decades there was an invisible placard on my forehead reading, “Used goods.” It was now gone. From that day on, I’ve never felt shame.

But when someone is a victim of trauma, blame and shame stay with them forever unless they’re addressed.

Once I realized I’d been a victim, anger set in. Every time I thought of my brother or had to speak to him, anger would bubble up and I’d want to hurt him as much as he’d hurt me. And because so few people knew about our past, I felt obligated to hide my anger. To act normal in public.

But after our parents died, I was ready to speak my truth. I told a select few people and anger raged inside me.

This is where many people who’ve experienced trauma get stuck. They get stuck in anger, sometimes funneling their anger in positive and constructive ways. But anger that’s recycled over and over through the body without an outlet eventually harms us. And this is where healing work shines.

During several healing sessions, anger and other painful emotions came up and were healed. Feelings of disempowerment were dissolved, and lots of soul retrieval work helped me release anger triggers. I eventually reached a point where I could think of my brother and I wasn’t immediately thrown into the past accompanied by feelings of wanting to see him hurt. I can think about and speak about what he did to me without feeling shame or anger. And because my brain is able to remain calm when I recall the past, more memories have surfaced. Memories that are hard to hear about.

As the #metoo movement gives victims the courage to speak out against their perpetrators, what the general public needs to know is that when a person comes forward, they’re usually terrified and would prefer the whole thing had never happened. They are likely filled with feelings of blame, shame, and disempowerment while at the same time knowing that what happened was wrong. Dead wrong. And yes, it can take years or decades for a person to be able to face what happened. Dredging up the past when someone hasn’t done healing work, is very painful. And because the brain’s higher functions are shut off when a person is in the fight, flight or freeze mode, certain details about the past are lost. For instance, I don’t remember the first time my brother raped me. I can ballpark my age, but I couldn’t tell you exactly when.

Perpetrators are skilled at picking their victims. They hold power over their victims and don’t attack when there are witnesses. I’m not talking about some random victimization, I’m talking about the vast majority of traumatic assaults that happen between people who know each other at least casually.

My brother held power over me because of years of bullying that our parents didn’t see. Because he was my brother, I wanted him to like me and play with me. He knew he could control me. The worse he treated me, the more I tried to get him to like me. It’s a twisted dynamic because I thought my actions caused his behavior. I felt responsible. It’s how children (and a lot of adults) think.

It took years of work to shift my thinking from feeling responsible for my brother’s behavior to hating him for it, to realizing he’s pathetic and a very internally disconnected person.

When traumatized, a person enters a state of shock which evolves into self-blame and sometimes shame (depending on what happened). Moving through shame and feeling powerless, a person taps into anger and reclaims power. And finally, healing anger allows a person to feel at peace again. It’s a process that takes as long as it takes. Even if it’s a lifetime.

Anxiety Rained Down

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 …

 

 

Shazam! Here I Go!

Welcome.

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…