I checked in on my blog a few weeks back and was astounded to see its still being read all over the world so I thought I would maybe come back to it. You found it useful before?
2 years have passed since my last post yet it feels like 2 minutes. Reilly has moved to a different school as he is almost 12 now. As he grows older we are faced with new challenges which means we are still treading water. Life is never straight forward. He is still my best mate. He still squashes his cheeks into mine as often as physically possible. He still barely sleeps. He still hates school but he has acquired some new words.
School is the reason I wanted to come back to post. We are having huge problems just now getting Reilly into school. He is incredibly anxious and spends most hours throughout the night repeating no school, home, on occasions he will try and make himself sick. On Monday night this was from 1am until 6am none stop.
How can I send him in when he is this anxious? I suffer terribly with anxiety at times. If you tried to force me to go somewhere I don’t want to go I’d lash out too.
Reilly not going into school affects everything, work foremost. I can’t get anything done in the typical working hours during the day and tend to work between 11pm and 3am when he’s still awake and then grab a couple of hours in the morning. He hates me taking on the phone so if he’s with me all day that’s a lot of rejected calls, usually by the man himself.
Now this is not a reflection on his school or his teachers. I don’t think it would matter where Reilly went to school. He has days where he comes home and he has had a nice day. The two hours daily pre-school however pretty much cancel it out.
Tough love is usually the usual advice for school anxiety. Tough love is not for me.
When he eventually falls asleep after sometimes 4 hours of his no school mantra I look at him when the alarm goes off in the morning and it genuinely hurts my heart to start the process of just getting ready to leave the house. His responses are what some would consider extreme. I have a hole in my wall from the sheer force of smashing his elbow into it, a clear communication that he’s not happy. He shakes, sobs, throws clothes out the window and hurts himself. How long can we keep this up and keep trying? In the last month he has had more days out than he has had in because I can’t watch him do it. He’s bigger and stronger than ever.
So what’s the answer? If I home-school I can’t help with the charity or work. The snippets of free time I get during school hours would be diminished. Selfish to think this way? Possibly but those few hours a week are worth their weight in gold for my own mental health.
Now the reason I returned. This week I delivered a defibrillator to 14 year old Liam who was found unresponsive in the bath on Mothers Day. He’s here to tell the tale because of CPR and swift treatment. I didn’t know when I went to their home that Liam was autistic. Fascinating character who wants to become prime minister to sort out the cost of living crisis.
He told me that he thinks his heart was poorly because he is so anxious about going to school. He thinks the stress of school made him collapse. As I sat listening to him it really hit me how Reilly must be feeling. On top of that he is living in constant fear of his dad getting into trouble with fines and courts because as we all know attendance is King with schools. Attendance however for our families is not. Happiness is King. Liam certainly gave me a lot to think about. He did give permission for me to share his thoughts.
Are you in or have been in a similar position to us?
How did you find your resolve?
Did you look at alternative provision? Switch to homeschool or other.
Please let me know.
There is a huge movement at the moment for Not Fine in School and Petitions around exempting children with issues around anxiety etc from attendance fines so please do support them if you see them on social media.
ps its nice to be back.
He still loves his buses and you can often find us sitting in a bus stop whiling away the hours while he notes their registration numbers. He now hates planes and we had to miss out on a lovely holiday last year as he point blank refused to get on a plane. Still super handsome and still the most precious treasure.
An exhausted C xx