Saturday, January 15, 2011

Given Up

Given Up -Linkin Park
(One of Red's favorite songs by his favorite band)

Stuck in my head again
Feels like I'll never leave this place
There's no escape
I'm my own worst enemy 
I've given up
I'm sick of feeling
Is there nothing you can say
Take this all away
I'm suffocating
Tell me what the f- is wrong with me!
I don't know what to take
Thought I was focused but I'm scared
I'm not prepared
I hyperventilate
Looking for help somehow somewhere
And no one cares
I'm my own worst enemy

On Thursday morning we had a therapy appointment with the Pediatric Psychiatrist.  We see her about once a month to evaluate medications, to see how they are working, or not working, to determine if we need to make tweaks or adjustments.

He doesn't particularly care for this doctor because she tells him the naked truth.  The truth can be painful.  She thinks that his behavior especially with me, borders on harassment and abuse.  She once told him if he didn't make some changes that she may have to take him out of this house for a while.  He definitely did not want to hear that.

He's sitting there in her office,  his head in his hands, looking down at the ground, frowning -like he's being tortured.  I tell her about the issues we've been having lately. The fighting every morning to get him out of bed and to school.  He tells her how miserable he is at school because he doesn't have any friends.  He says that he's so tired, that he's nearly falling asleep in classes.  He goes on to say that his fatigue is the reason he can't get up in the morning.

We call him on the fact that he got up easily during the break.  At the same time, she realizes that during school he is much more stressed.  The bottom line is that she increased his Focalin by 10 mg to help with his cognition during the school day.  I would say that the session was somewhat productive not fun, arduous -but worthwhile.

I gave him a little break after the appointment.  I drop him off at Best Buy -while I run into Nordstrom Rack to look at shoes for a few minutes.  Afterward, we grab a couple of burgers for lunch.  Finally, I take him to get a haircut.  The day before, he came in home from school angry -starring in the mirror.

"I'm ugly! Look at my eyes! Look at my hair!  I need a haircut.  That's why girls don't like me -that and the fact that all the girls at my school are white and I'm black.  They don't like me because I'm black!"

"Son -no one in our family is ugly.  You are very attractive.  Try smiling and see how your eyes light up and you look so much better," I say as he's staring in the mirror.

"I can't smile."

He does look ten times better with his haircut and his face shaved.  He grows these soft little baby hairs on his face.  When they are shaved it really does help light up his face.  When he stands up straight and tall and holds his head up.  He really is quite handsome.

I tell him, "Honey, you have to love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you.  You have to believe that you're handsome for other people to feel that."  Again, I remind him that all of the men in our family are black, handsome and smart.  He is no different.  What's more -they are loved by women and his time will come.  "When you mature and start loving will find the right girl."

I may as well be speaking French.  He doesn't get it.  He doesn't believe it.  The problem couldn't be something that he could fix.  It has to be everyone else's problem.

When we arrive at school it is his lunch time.  I encourage him to go up to his social skills classroom since he has already eaten lunch.  He opts to go to the cafeteria to "hang out" instead.   He did stand with his head erect and took the frown off of his face -no smile, but no frown.

I am worried about him wandering aimlessly through the cafeteria with no special education staff or student mentors on alert.  Instinctively, I decide to skulk around behind him to observe his behavior.  I want to see for myself if he is actually having a good time at school, while making me think that he is miserable.  I also wondered if he was acting "weird" and freaking people out.

From across the room I watch.  He paces back and forth -never sitting down.  He exchanges a few words with someone sitting at a table.  I couldn't see who.  He paces around some more -looking completely lost and out of place.  It broke my heart.

I am instantly taken back to a high school experience of my own.  After leaving middle school, where I had a wonderful circle of friends and knew just about everyone, I went into a high school where I hardly knew anyone.  I walked around feeling lost, lonely and out of place.  The few people I knew, I could never find them.  I just stood around, trying not to look conspicuous -praying that others didn't know how lost and pathetic I was feeling.  I came home everyday and cried and begged my mother to transfer me to another school.  A week later -I enrolled at another high school that my best friend attended.  I didn't know many people, but I at least I had one person in my corner.

The pain that Red has been feeling suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.  He is just as lost as I was for that one week -only it keeps on going, and going, like the Energizer bunny.  Not only that -but he has no clue what to do about it.  He is trying desperately to cling to a friendship with a girl that he has known since kindergarten.  The problem is -she has a boyfriend and they don't want to be bothered with a third wheel, especially a third wheel who is socially clueless.

There are other boys in his social skills class who reach out to him, but for whatever reason he rejects that friendship.  The only person he really hangs with -is another boy, who also has special needs and is even more socially clueless than he is.  However -he knew this boy last year in middle school, so there is a sense of familiarity -a comfort zone.  He hangs out with him,  although deep inside he's feeling like this isn't good enough. Why can't I walk the hallways with a group of friends laughing? Why can't I have a special girl who likes me just the way I am?

Here enlies the anger that he comes home with everyday.  This is why he HATES going to school.  In the hallways he sees kids walking in clumps, talking and laughing -being silly while he walks alone.  In corners he sees couples hugging and sitting on each others laps, kissing and smiling at each other.  He wants it too.  He wants it desperately -but he has NO IDEA how to go about getting it.

He is trapped behind the glass doors of his own mind.  In some ways...he is his "own worst enemy".


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