Life Update: When does it get better?

update

It’s been a considerable amount of time since I put up a life update on my blog. When I left off my son was told not to come back to the school he was attending. So, after a nightmare of quickly trying to get him in another school we were able to find something. We started in the summer with English tutoring. He seemed to really like the teacher. I had high hopes for the new year (academic).

I have decided to continue with my son’s main therapist. She said, she pretty much reached the end of working with his anxiety. Basically, all that is left is to do anxiety challenges. Since Covid, the therapist isn’t doing them. I am taking them over from her. Instead, she is going to be working on his depression. All summer we have been doing challenges. We’ve been concentrating on malls and stores. We do challenges two to three times a week.

E is also still going to Gender Identity therapy. Being LGBTQ+ is still a major adjustment for him. I asked him if he still thinks he is Transgender. (He was born a male) He said yes. I then decided to discuss with him that his Dad and I have a slightly different idea. We believe that he is bigender or gender fluid. Meaning both genders at the same time. He said he can see those terms applying to him but he still wants to be considered Transgender. Even his pro-LGBTQ therapist thinks he is both.

I asked him if he wanted to try some different clothes out at home. He declined. He said he likes the way he dresses. He dresses and presents male. The only things female about him are his long hair and his choice of a gender-neutral name. So, we will see what becomes of it. His therapist is going to be talking this year about body issues. Since he seems uncomfortable with that. It is a topic that definitely needs to be explored.

September saw the start of the new school year. The first two months he seemed to do well. Then I took a three-day weekend alone at a hotel. After which he got worse. He is supposed to go to school three hours a day. Two classes and one study hall. Sometimes due to his anxiety he spends the entire class period in the bathroom. He gets nervous and needs to be in there to dry heave or go to the bathroom.

When he is actually sick, he can do remote learning with the school. He can’t do the study hall online, but we get charged with it. We get charged for any class he misses without a two-week notice. I had hoped to have added another class by now, but it hasn’t gotten to that yet.

He’s been a steady low C student. Yes, at least it’s passing. He used to be an A and B student. He’s so much smarter than what he is doing. He just does the bare minimum to get by. I think it is a combination of factors from his health issues, his learning issues, being away from the normal school routine, and not willing to put in the effort. Right now, our goal is to have him in school, the physical building for all classes and not miss as many. Because of his medical/psychological issues for the past four years he hasn’t learned a lot of skills other kids have at his age regarding school. How to study, how to take notes, how to do a project and break it down etc. We are starting to teach him this. He has a long way to go. Sometimes he comes out to my car when he is having a panic attack. He usually does it during study hall. So, I cannot leave the premises. All year, including the Winter months I have been sitting in my car in the parking lot. I wish I didn’t have to, believe me.

The start of the New Year brought a new set of classes. E is still having problems with panic attacks, wanting to leave school and getting sick. I am running out of ideas to try with him. I have deep concerns about his future. I try not to think about it too much. I don’t have the time. At the present it is more work than I can handle. I wish he had a little bit of improvement. Can the universe give me something?

His food therapy is still every week. The progress is so slow. I wish there was even a noticeable improvement. He has made some gains, but it is microscopic in an everyday sense.

My son has had two major meltdowns that I have never seen before. One was very frightening. I’ll talk about the frightening one first. My husband had gotten angry with E over something. E didn’t want to discuss it. Dad pushed, and pushed. E asked why, which he always does. It’s something an autistic kid does. They want to know the reason they are doing something before they do it. It’s not being smart or refusing, but understanding. My husband has told me before that our son should just do what he’s told without an explanation. It’s the “because I told you to” command he keeps using. My husband has also told me that I interfere in his parenting too much. I intervene when they start getting louder and louder with each other. They are capable of going from 0 to 100 in a matter of a few seconds. This time, as the yelling increased I kept my mouth shut. It was hard. I saw it was not going well but did nothing. My son finally reached his limit and when he does he flees. My husband yelled at him to “get back here.” That was it for E. He lost it. He held his hands over his ears, started crying and screaming “shut up” over and over again. That was it. I had to intervene. Our son seems so capable and smart it is sometimes difficult to see he has needs that other kids do not. So many people think he is fooling us too. We know that he has times when he is pushing the truth aside, we also know that sometimes he doesn’t realize he is. He just wants to avoid conflict. So he tells you what you want to hear. As long as he doesn’t get yelled at it.

I grabbed E and held him and told him he was going to be okay. Once I had him calmed down, I explained what his dad was talking about. What I saw is what I think they call an Autistic meltdown. I can’t be 100 percent certain, but it was frightening none the less. His dad is a wonderful dad. He is very kind. Sometimes he just doesn’t get what is going on. I have more understanding having been through this and I’m the one always going to appointments.

The second one was recently. He had a panic attack in the car and was unable to go into school. So, I called and told the teacher that I would try to get him to come in, but I wasn’t sure when that would be. As I was talking, I used the pronoun “he” instead of “she.” He had another meltdown similar to the other one in some ways. I got him calmed down and after school we talked about. It was a good conversation.

We have so many big things in life happening to him and us that it is difficult to stay on track. We juggle a lot as a family and stuff gets dropped. It’s not because of any reason other than there are more pressing fires. It’s both tiring and frustrating.

In other family news, my mother has gotten cancer in various places. She just finished radiation. It seems to have gone well. My nephew who is in his 20’s had a stroke. He is trying to get better and will have surgery. We’ve had another niece get married. Our beloved dog had to be put down due to an aggressive form of cancer. From diagnosis to death, it was only one month. We put her down when she started to have trouble breathing. We didn’t want her to suffer. She was the best dog I have ever had. Such a sweet dog. I wish she could have lived forever.

I will write an additional follow up in a few days.

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