You’re waiting at the gate and watching your child walking into his classroom. You’re putting on a brave face, smiling and waving in a hope that he can’t see how broken you are that you have to leave him there. You know that his day is going to be rubbish. He will come back upset. He will feel as though he doesn’t fit in and he will beg again to never have to go to school again! You leave for work feeling heavy and alone! No one really gets what you are feeling or thinking. You are either accused of being to soft on him or causing an issue where there isn’t one!

You arrive at work! Late again!

An hour later you get a call from the school. “Your son has hurt his back and needs to come home.” You explain to your boss that you will have to leave AGAIN and he isn’t impressed at all. He gives you that same look that everyone else gives you when you start to talk about your son. You pack up and leave for the school. When you arrive he is sitting alone outside in the car park. No school staff and in tears. He is in pain but smiling because you are there. He is always smiling when you get there!

You give him the biggest hug you can! He gets in the car and doesn’t want to talk again. “I just want to be left alone” he says. You respect this and start to drive. You put on the radio and fight back the tears. Things are getting worse. This time it was only an hour that he lasted in school and only an hour that I lasted at work. You get home and he runs into his room. Next thing you hear things being smashed and broken so you run to his room and open the door. He is trashing his room and screaming. He’s crying and shaking and telling you that “he is never going back and he would rather die.”

You sit in the corner while he trashes his room, ripping off curtains and pulling the cupboard doors off. You want to cry but this will only add to his feelings of guilt and would make things worse. He then throws himself on his bed and tells you that he wants to show you something! He hands you his book. Its called “100 ways to die.” You start to read through this page by page and realise he has already thought of 82 of these. You now can’t hold back the tears. You have to leave and move to another room. Later he comes to you. You hold the space for him to heal. You both cry together and you hug him so tight that you think he may explode! This feels so good!

You start to think horrible thoughts like “what if he does kill himself?”

This makes you feel sick and you start to panic. Your heart speeds up, you are sweating, your legs become weak and you cant breathe properly. This goes on for what feels like forever. Your thoughts are racing.

You become that anxious mom! You now have panic attacks regularly and they happen whenever you think about losing your child. These evolve and soon you are having panic attacks when you leave your son at school, when you leave him at home with anyone and when you even leave him in his room alone!

You imagine that he is going to hurt himself any day now! You tell yourself that you are going to lose him!

Life has become impossible to balance. Something has to give. So you leave your job. Now what?

You son is now refusing to go to school at all! You decide to home educate him and keep him safe. He starts talking finally about life in school. You are in shock! He shares;

“I walk the corridors alone. No one talks to me and when they do I wish they didn’t. They call me things like retard, fat, worthless, stupid. They throw things at me, trip me over, spit on me and pull my trousers down. They empty their drinks on me and they rip up my homework. They tell me that everyone would be better off if I was dead. On my last day there some of the boys invited me on to the field to play. I followed them and when I got there they all attacked me. They jumped on me, strangled me, kicked me, spat on me and punched me. I finally lost my temper and I threw one boy over my shoulder and punched another one. I stood up and screamed at them all If you come near me I will kill you! They backed off.  Mom, the worst thing is that lots of people came to watch and no one tried to help me! I don’t trust anyone anymore! I don’t want to be alive cause its too hard!”

You are furious but trying to keep control! “I’m sorry!” That’s all you can come up with. “I’m just so sorry!”

You storm the school. You are pissed! You sit with the head teacher and few other staff members. You demand action! The head looks at you and simply says “if I punish the other boys then I will have to punish your son too as he also hit one of the boys.” You cant believe what you are hearing! Your son finally stood up for himself after years of bullying and he is going to be punished too! You decide that having anything to do with this system is useless!

You walk away knowing that they will be the reason that your child loses an education. They couldn’t keep him safe. When you drop him there he is in danger!

So you leave and feel powerful within your situation for the first time in a long while! You go home and your husband doesn’t get it! He tells you that you are being too soft and that you have to work. You tell him that your son comes first. He disagrees!

So you leave him too!

You get in your car with your son and your clothes and you leave! You drive over 200 miles and start new! You’ve left all that’s negative in the distance! Its a new start and it’s a hard start, but a safe start!

The anxiety never leaves. You become anxious about everything! You still wake up at night having bad dreams and walk into his room to check that he is ok!

You need to see that he is still there and that he hasn’t hurt himself!

http://www.tanjasharpe.com
Counselling & Mindfulness Therapies – Specialist Autism Therapist

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