Oh boy, it’s time for an update. So much has gone on since September, the last time I updated you. Honestly, the last two months have been so physically and mentally draining that I don’t want to recap them. I am drained. All I have the energy to do is listen to podcasts. Even then, I find myself falling asleep sitting up. I the energetic equivalent of a garden slug. Although, I’m pretty sure the garden slug has more pep.
I keep hoping for progress. My son has had difficulty since school started. We had to reschedule and restructure his day multiple times. He has been routinely having panic attacks. It got to the point where he could only go to three classes. I was also called a lot due to him having panic attacks and needing me. Sometimes the call would go to voice mail and all I could hear was my son’s incoherent stuttering on the other end. I would often come to sit with him in the office.
Once the school physically walked him to class and sat with him. Then they refused to let him call me. I wrote a very strongly worded letter that they could not do that again. I’ve got a kid suffering from horrible anxiety and was hospitalized for suicide attempts. Not the kid you want to upset and embarrass in front of his peers. I had trouble getting him to go back. I told him I made sure that it would never happen again. I do not think the school was very happy with me after that. There was definitely a cool reception for me after that.
I understand that they had the best intentions for him at heart. However, many people do not understand anxiety disorders. There is a lack of understanding and empathy for those with mental health issues in general. My kid is normal. He just has this issue.
I kept taking my son to school, sometimes staying hours there myself.
The school kept pushing me to enroll him in another school and another program. I felt we couldn’t give into the anxiety and would just have to work within the school parameters. Then we got a letter from the Dean of students saying he had to meet with us because our son had missed too many days of school and is a truancy problem. He said we needed a plan for my son. Um, that’s what I thought we had going with the school. I kept thinking why doesn’t this guy know? Don’t they all communicate?
My understanding was that the school and my son’s therapist were working together. So I made the appointment. We get together with the dean and some other members of staff. So the Dean has us fill out this paperwork for the county. So we begin to answer all his questions and he fills out the form. We went through everything that has happened in the last year and what we have done.
Halfway through filling out the form he stopped writing as he ran out of room on the form. He was very surprised at how much we had done. In fact, we have done everything. There could be no more recommendations. The “plan” was the same one we had before. To slowly get E to integrate into each classroom. Like to keep adding five minutes each day until he can stay for the whole period. Unfortunately, this was not working.
Several weeks pass and I get a notice for another meeting. This time with more staff, most of the people I have dealt with before. E has not been improving. So they try to force my hand. They wanted him to go to school at the other junior high and be involved with this special program. He would be in a room with kids who have high functioning autism. He would have two classes there and then be in regular classes for the rest of the day.
If he can’t go to regular classes at his old school with teachers he knows, how is he going to attend regular classes at a new school? I know the stress would push him over. Homeschooling is not an option. He can’t stay at home for the rest of his life. Making his circle smaller only increases the anxiety. So I felt we were at a stand still. My husband thought we should try it.
He often agrees with whatever the person running it says. He doesn’t deal with the schools and doctors like I do. I get so angry at him for this. I have dealt with anxiety and depression my whole life. It runs in my family. I know what I am talking about. These are administrators and teachers, not mental health professionals. So what to do?
Then it dawns on me. I will let him go to the new school if he gets to stay in that special room for every class. They will only integrate him if he is comfortable. That way he is with the same teacher and same aides. It will help alleviate his stress. They have two weeks to see if this works. If he gets worse, he is going back to his own school. If he is the same or better he can stay. He will still have a new case manager and social worker. At least he knows the school nurse as she is our neighbor. It’s hard to leave everything you know. Even if you don’t go to it all. So far nothing has improved but it has not gotten worse either.
I have had to pick him up a few times due to the anxiety making him unable to do anything.
In reading the paperwork done by the dean of students I noticed that it said that if no changes were made the matter would be referred to the district attorney. Huh? They told me this was just a formality. So I called our family attorney. She said she knew what it was, but there was nothing to worry about. She said they do that if there are families where the parents won’t or can’t help their kids. Since we have been doing everything and can prove it, the county will do nothing. That was a relief.
Also, at this time, I took my son to his therapist. The therapist up to this point has been trying to get E to work on his anxiety and being supportive. This time she decided to play bad cop. She really lit into my son and had him distraught. She told him that we (his parents) were going to get into trouble and he would be taken away. Then she told him she wouldn’t see him again until he could go to four classes. This didn’t work and he was so upset he thought he was going to be put up for adoption. Don’t know where that came from. I spent the next few days telling him he wouldn’t be taken from us. He clung to me so tightly. This changed nothing. Now, I am trying to find a new therapist b/c he won’t go back to the old one.
I spent a week trying to get him into a new therapist in town. I called 4 times and sent one email. No response. So now I have a phone call into a new place. I hope the will call me back. I really feel that he needs some counseling. I have also started calling a second therapy group as a back up. They are not taking new clients and have an extensive wait list. So they gave me the name of another therapist to try.
We have increased some of his meds. He still has his psychiatrist. E has however lost weight. So the psychiatrist is worried. E won’t eat any breakfast or lunch because of his anxiety. Add to that his sensory issues and he barely eats anything. He definitely does not have a balanced diet. We try to supplement things with nutritional shakes and supplements. It’s the best we can do.
Our son’s grandmother came to visit for about a week. I spent that week, both morning and evening, sleeping. I was so exhausted I couldn’t get enough rest. I think since I can trust grandma to handle things my body was trying to catch up and rest.
I want desperately to have a different life. I just feel so buried with everything I don’t know what to do. I have ideas of directions to go, but time?
I’ll update you again shortly.