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Monday, October 24, 2016

My Invisible Job

This morning I woke up tired. Once I got my head on half-way straight, I realized that I was pissed off. This weekend sucked, royally. Saturday morning I woke up and thought to myself, Shit! It's meltdown day. I got that sinking, queasy feeling in my stomach.

There has been a meltdown over homework, or time-management, in general, every.single.weekend. Like clockwork over the past few weeks.

Anxiety is a nasty bitch. It can't be explained. It doesn't make sense. There is no magic formula or protocol to follow to get  rid of it.
We are tweaking and attempting to manage it, with meds and therapy but it's slippery like a soapy, wet dog during bath time.
 
He melts down about being late, or not making it at all to Tai Chi and Kung Fu class. The irony here is that the meltdown either makes him later, or it completely depletes him of energy to go at all. 

Does he really want to go? He says he does, but he keeps sabotaging himself. 

He has managed to fall behind in Kung Fu. He should have tested for a yellow belt weeks ago. This is really no big deal, but to him, it leads to more feelings of failure. It's just one more thing that he isn't completing.

The meltdowns are not as severe as they were over the summer. He is more measured. He knows the lines not to cross. However, they are still disturbing, disruptive, and emotionally draining for him and for me. They effect the whole household.

The concerted amount of patience that I give him leaves me with nothing leftover with the adults who live here, my husband and my mother. The tension in the house is thick and mucky. It's definitely not exactly conducive to romance. We can barely tolerate each other.

There is little energy even for myself. Yoga hasn't seen me in the studio in months. I absolutely will not miss my therapy. It's the one thing I make sure I reserve for me.

I am trying to give Blue every support possible. He's seeing an excellent therapist who is working with him on strategies, time and anger management.  Last week we had a Person Centered Planning meeting, where his Facilitator helped him with time-management brainstorming. He has a personal mentor who is also working with him on breaking down assignments, time chunking, and coping skills.

His anxiety...his black and white, all or nothing thinking, seems to keep getting in the way of the application of these skills in heat of the moment.  If there is a plan, and something happens to throw it off by 5 minutes, it's over! Can't do it! Can't fix it. Can't change it. Can't move forward or even sideways.

I try to coax him into the mindset that the plan is more of a guide. There has to be a degree of flexibility in order to use it.

He is blessed with a teacher in his Advanced Placement Calculus class who has been more than accommodating and willing to work with him after school. She is even willing to break down assignments. He does fine at school,  but at home...nada! Nothing seems to help.

He won't consider dropping the class. In fact, he was highly insulted when I brought up the possibility. That would mean that he failed. Mind you, his counselor told me that he doesn't need this class for college unless he plans on being a math major.

I usually give him the benefit of the doubt. I am always trying to find the bright side of a situation. My first instinct is optimism.

I look at autism and anxiety. I study it. I turn it inside out, trying to figure out answers.
What is the motivation behind this behavior? 
How can we help him? 
What is this mental block that's in his head? 
What has him so traumatized that he is almost immobile? 

Yesterday, my optimism flew out the window. Fatigue can do that to you.  I found myself doubting the authenticity of his meltdowns. I started feeling like he is doing this on purpose.
He is trying to drive me up a fucking wall! 
He is being lazy! 
He doesn't really want answers. He wants to just sit there on his god damned phone, texting and watching videos!
He is avoiding responsibility! 
He begs for solutions, only to meet each of them with objections! 

This morning as I drove him to school, I wanted so much to just lay into him.
What is your problem? 
Everyone is willing to help you. 
Why are you unwilling to help yourself?  
This is bullshit! 
I need to take away your phone and your privileges! 
I need to drop you off at the library and not pick you up until your work is done! 

Last year, the library totally worked. If not, then he went to Starbucks or Panera. Why isn't any of this working now? 

I'm a grown up. I didn't say of any of the vile things that were in my head. It would only upset him more and start his day at school off in a downward spiral. I kept my thoughts to myself. After I dropped him off, I drove to Starbucks to buy a cup of energy to help me face the day.

Once again, I stifled my anger, which I know isn't healthy. But, what choice do I have? There is no one's ass that I can kick, legally. And if there were, I would probably be too tired to do it.

It was bad enough yesterday when he told me that I was embarrassing him by walking outside the house during his meltdown, because I didn't want to give him an audience.  I actually said, "I don't really give a shit that you're embarrassed! I'm tired of listening to you scream!" 

I have moments when I feel like a failure.  I've never had to ground him or take his phone away.  I start thinking, I did it all wrong. I should have disciplined him more. I start to question everything I'm doing and have ever done.

Then again, he has always handled his business. If he didn't, he dealt with the natural consequences without completely falling apart. Now, it just seems stupid to have to resort to taking things from him. He is seventeen. He wants to go to college. He is going to have to learn to discipline himself.

I won't be in college with him, telling him to put his phone away so he can get his work done. He has to do this if he wants to be successful.  The best way to learn is to fail a few times, to feel the sting of your choices. It's a painful process for a mother to watch.

At this point, any way that I insert myself into the process of helping or teaching him these life lessons, only seems to create more of a power struggle. He has to take ownnership of his life.

So, he works with his therapist,  his teachers, counselors and mentors. He wants to be seen as a mature, serious student to them. He can be a baby with me. There is no need to impress.

There comes a time when as a young adult, you have to remove your own mental blocks. You have to take the advice of the professionals and peers that you respect. Your mama knows nothing anyway, right?

Once upon a time, he was fully capable handling his schoolwork and even managing a great part of his daily living skills. I don't know what happened. I don't know if it's fear of becoming an adult, or fear of leaving high school and transitioning to college. It could be unconcious, self-sabotage. Lots of seniors in high school go through that when they are afraid of the new life they are facing.

I don't know what else to do for him, or even if there is anything for me to do.

I just know that I'm exhausted.