As a parent, all of your children are the apple of your eye and you look at your kids through rose coloured glasses. Hey, I think my kids are the most handsome beautiful children I’ve ever seen. Their behaviour – well I know it’s not great sometimes but they’re kids who have been through a lot so I tend to excuse some things.
From a very early age though, I knew something was very unique about one of them. He was completely different to his siblings. As a baby you couldn’t leave the house without him screaming, it was almost like if he was overwhelmed by the environment he would go into meltdown, this started at a couple of months old and still continues to this day. If he is overwhelmed, he has a meltdown.
Socially he was always unique. He has a couple of really close friends but he’s so sensitive and switched on to bigger things that little quarrels rock him to his core. Once again causing meltdowns.
And he worries. Boy, does he worry. I am a worrier myself so I know what it’s like but I’ve only been a worrier since becoming a parent, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have the weight of the world on your shoulders as a kid.
Even before the marriage break down I had concerns. He had his hearing checked, his sight checked, he’s seen school psychologists and everyone came back saying he was fine. I wasn’t convinced but I eventually let it go. Until recently when a panic attack set in for him. To watch your child have a panic attack and stand by helplessly because there’s very little you can do is not easy. I knew I had to do something.
A few nights later there was the night of zero sleep. Not a wink. But he was completely wired. The next day you would never have guessed he hadn’t slept.
There’s the major separation anxiety and the fear of being left alone.
And he’s now excelling at Maths. Something I am so very proud of and something that I hope is just a coincidence and he will start excelling in every other subject soon.
His behaviour is having an affect on the relationship between him and I. Sometimes he drains everything from me leaving nothing for the other children.
I’d spoken to friends who have children who have different disorders – ADHD, Autism, other sensory disorders and the advice was all the same. Take him to the Dr ASAP. You know what, I knew that’s what needed to happen but actually making the appointment, going to see the Dr and sitting there saying “my son needs help, my family needs help” was actually very difficult but when it was done – the relief. It was like a weight had been lifted off both of our shoulders.
One thing that he said to me after I told him we would be going to the Dr was “good Mum because I don’t like feeling like this”.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
As a parent there is a lot of guilt that gets carried around. Was this my fault, did I leave him too early as a baby and go back to work, did I not pay him enough attention, did the divorce and events following cause this. That’s not helped either by other people also pointing the finger at me and blaming me but then I think back and remember that these concerns were there long before his father and I broke up.
One thing one of my friends said was. He won’t remember the arguments and the strain on our relationship – he will remember that I was the one who got him help and his reaction and relief when he knew he was getting the help reassured me that this was the best thing for him.
So, a whole new unexpected and at times not so pleasant journey awaits us. One I will document but sometimes it might be vaguely to protect the privacy of my children.
My hope is that if I can help at least one other parent out there reading this, with similar concerns, putting off making that phone call to make that phone call – my job is done x