Saturday, February 27, 2016

When You Get a Chance to Help

It's very rare that I get an opportunity to help my son in some meaningful way.  Recently an opportunity to do just that landed in my lap.  It took me a while to act on it, but after thought and consideration, I asked for a lunch meeting with my son's adoptive mother.

Lately, my son has been having some problems in school.  The school and teachers have been trying to figure it out.  His adoptive mother and father had both talked about it with me.  And that's when I started noticing glaring similarities between myself as a child and my son.  So we decided to talk.

I explained how noise can be fine, but too much noise gets on my nerves.  I like hanging out with friends, but I don't like crowds.  I'm now an adult, so I have the choice to walk away from situations that stress me out.  And if I can't walk away, there are sites where I can listen to ambient noise to block things out.  I can snap my fingers and try to breathe so that I don't lash out.  Then get away from the situation that is stressing me out as quickly as I can.  But again, I'm an adult so I have that choice.  School wasn't always a great thing for me.  Mostly because you have very few choices when you are in school.  When I was a teenager, I would wear headphones in the halls between classes so I wouldn't just smack everyone I walked past.  Band was a solace for me.  I explained how there's a lot of sound there, of course, but it was sound that was organized.  And in the middle of the band it's almost like being wrapped in a cocoon of sound.  Drumline was especially good for this.  As you can imagine, almost twenty teenagers with drums, xylophones, and cymbals can be loud.  But again, it was ordered sound.  It was sound that made sense.  And it was always so loud in there that not only was it a cocoon, it was the only thing I could think about anymore.  When playing with the drumline, it was the only thing on my mind, and the two or three lines of thought I always have going finally went quiet.

But currently, my son is 5.  I explained to her that I feel rather useless in this situation since much of my coping involves things only adults can do.  But she assured me that hearing what it's like is helping her to understand and giving her ideas on what to do.  She asked me questions about odd things he's said and I found that I could give her reasons and explanations because I remember having those problems and I still have some of them myself.  I did apologize that some of these reasons don't really make logical sense.  But they are reasons.  Whether they make sense or not, I know that's what going on in his head.  He just lacks the vocabulary to express what is going on.

Like I said before, it's rare that I get the chance to help my son in any way that's meaningful.  But, it seems that this time, I can.  I've started therapy again and with their help will hopefully think of other things that will help my son cope.  The worst part for me right now is that I remember what this was like and I remember how much it isolated me and drove me nuts.  But I keep trying to tell myself, he has me, he has his parents, there will be test results coming in soon, and possibly a therapist for him.  He's not going to have to suffer like I did and like my father did.  We can offer insight and hopefully this will help.

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