Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Anxiety: The First Week

Last Thursday was the first day of school for my kids.  My anxious little man turned out to be NOT anxious about the first day.  I had taken him in to meet his new teacher and see his classroom the day before.  We also chatted with the principal and both of my boy's teachers from last year. 

On the first day, he went in just fine.  I had to put a little pressure on his back to make him keep walking, but nothing major.  He did great!  Same with Friday.

Monday morning sucked.  My boy cried.  I dragged him across the field.  He clung on to my arm so tightly he actually hurt me, and I was concerned there would be bruises.  We left in plenty of time to get there by the bell, but by the time it rang, we were still only halfway across the field.  By the time I got him into the building, through the office's late procedure, and to his class, he was quite late.  As we stood in the hallway outside of his classroom, him hiding in his hoodie and me, pleading with him to go in, the principal walked toward us.  She offered him many options; she could ask his teacher to come out and meet him in the hallway or he could hang out with her for awhile or he could go hang out with his teacher from last year (who now teaches kindergarten).  No, no, no was his answer, and the principal told me that at his level, he is fine to miss some school, and to take him home, calm down and come back at 12:30 to meet with her and his teacher to make a plan.

We did that, and now my boy enters the classroom every day before his classmates, in the morning and at lunch.

Tuesday morning we went early and his teacher was on supervision duty, so she set us up to hang out in the neighbouring teacher's classroom until the bell.  Smooth and easy.

Tuesday at lunch my boy had to go to the bathroom 5 minutes before it was time to go back to school.  He went.  He took his time.  The school bell rang at 12:45 and he was still in our bathroom, at home.  My daughter and her friend are starting school at 1:00 this week, so I took the three of them to school for 1:00.  After the girls went inside, I took my boy to the office, got him a late stamp and escorted him to his class.  In he went, without a fuss.

This morning he freaked out before he left home.  His oldest brother aggravated the issue.  Lots of crying and freaking out happened.  I got my boy to school and to his class before the bell rang.  We sat on a huge pillow in his classroom and he read to me, as is now the routine.  When it was time to sit on the carpet with the other students, he wouldn't go.  I eventually coerced him over to the carpet, with the conditions that while he is at school this morning, I go out to purchase him a watch so he can count down the minutes until he will be with me again, while he is at school; and also that I leave my water bottle with him, so he has "something to remember" me by.

Today the anxiety is worse than yesterday; yesterday worse than the day before. 

Monday morning was the first time ever that I actually seriously considered homeschooling him.  It seems like a simple solution, but the truth is, I don't want to save him from this.  I want him to triumph over it.  Running away is not a solution; I figured that out in my own journey.  Running away makes things get really bad really fast.

Also, selfishly, I really just want some time to myself.  Four kids in school during the day and me at home alone for a few hours in the morning and a couple hours in the afternoon is a heavenly treat to me.  It's been over 11 years since I have had this, and my whole being craves it.  Time that is just my own, to do what I want to and see my friends and try new things.  To make solid plans for myself.  I want to be a person again. 

My child needs me, my children need me, my husband needs me...but I need me too.  The emotional battle is draining.

Please Lord, let us find solutions soon.  Lasting solutions that are not dictated by someone else's schedule and availability.  Solutions that will not lead us into financial ruin.  I know that You will provide the strength I need to get through this, but I am growing weary in the fight.  Help me to endure with patience and cheerfulness.  Please.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I think my heart actually broke today.  My chest hurts.  My throat hurts.  I cried harder than I have in longer than I can remember.  I couldn't hold it in and I couldn't suck it up.  It was so bad that I had to go bug my hubby in his (home) office.  Normally I cry completely alone - I don't ever want anyone to see me.

But I am hurt.  I am weary.  I am emotionally exhausted.  My spirit is beaten down.  I don't feel like I can be strong any longer.  Not for one more step.

The psychologist that I got my son in to see turned out to be a fabulous match.  After my boy's first session with her, he was already so much better.  He didn't cry all day every day about everything anymore.  He stopped clinging to me. 

In his second session with her, she asked him to choose a worry to "zap" and he chose the biggest one - his fear of school and getting sick at school.  We worked on that for an hour.  I am so ridiculously proud of him.  My boy is amazing.  Since that session, he has been even better.  In five days I have seen him express anxiety ONE time.  ONE. 

We are doing our homework.  We are believing this is going to work.

Well, I was until today.

Today I called the psychologist's scheduling office to book more appointments because the scheduler had not yet replied to my email that I sent awhile ago, asking to book our remaining eight appointments.

It turns out that there are no openings until October.  Two months from now.

School starts in three days.

I feel like I was punched.  Hard.

Finally, FINALLY I had some hope.  I was so excited about this, and knew that it was the key for my boy.  He is excited to go to the appointments.  He is smiling and happy again.  He is wonderful.  How am I supposed to break this news to him?  I know that he will be crushed.

I hate thinking, "Why can't this be easy?" but my brain keeps going there.  I feel like I've been fighting for this so long.  I'm so tired of trying to get help and being shot down just as we get off the ground.  It has happened over and over to our family.  I don't understand what we are doing wrong.  I'm starting to take it personally.

I can't even think clearly to try to figure out our next step, which is a big thing for my 'doer' self.  We could just take the wait and see approach, but what if things get horrible over the next two months?  There is a chance we won't be able to afford the sessions at all by October.  Then we'll be back at square one.  Again.  With another few months wasted.

I'm just so done with trusting professionals.  Why can't I just fix things myself??  Why can't I protect my family from being hurt? 

So very frustrated.  :(