I’m protected by a shield of professionals around me – who meet and collate information to make sure our needs are met. They have the hard task to integrate our child into a mainstream setting with all the challenges that come with it. And those challenges are magnified by unknown sources around us. Our strongest battle always reverts back to educational handling of a condition few people know anything about.
I did the school run yesterday having woken up on a relatively good morning. Here was my first mistake: I was relaxed and behaving like a normal mum. I didn’t have my armour on and my emotions were exposed just enough to send me over the edge.
Yesterday I smiled and passed exchanges with parents en route. It had been a relatively good start to the day.
Then I found out something that sent me into an unprecedented state of panic.
A group of parents had used an online forum to exchange views and versions of behavioural incidents that had happened at school involving my child. Not only did they debate what could be ‘wrong’ with her but assumed that maybe she had ADHD or was it Autism? Or maybe it was just down to the parent that they had seen on the playground who had no control of the child? So some parents asked their children to recall the incidents in the day at school and the name was then dropped of the child who had done it. Yes, my child.
Parents had been shocked and angered by the severity of the incident forms that had come home and needed to vent. I had felt the same thing too – in fact I broke down in tears about it only nobody knew about that.
I had called the school and discussed that these were written with such detail without further support which would ‘typecast’ us further into a bad bracket. We needed work on it and suddenly my worst fears had been realised. Before this I had been desperately approaching parents on the playground in order to explain further and that I was dealing with it at home. I felt like a person campaigning to explain, to be understood, to not be judged. I just didn’t get to these parents in time.
If I didn’t care or was a bad parent then maybe it would have been easier because I could have just carried on. But I couldn’t. I would never condone violence or accept my child to hurt others. In fact, that is why I never let her out of my sight. I am run ragged always watching to protect not only my daughter but others she comes into contact with.
I think I hit rock bottom yesterday and I got scared. I lost all control. I felt so angered, saddened and frustrated that I lost it in the street.
I came home from the school and began screaming, crying, grunting and kicking the fence. I became feral uttering sounds; it was the last straw to send me tumbling over. My eyesight was hazy and I was unaware of onlookers. My dad found me and put his arms around me, picked me up and ushered me to the car. He used calming tones to reassure me things would be ok. I lost sense of reality. I have never experienced something like this before.
My poor father, with tears in his weary eyes (who has been concerned lately about my fragile mind) told me to use this to my benefit, “your pen is your sword.”
He was right.
In that forum somebody had stepped up and put the gossip to a halt. That parent referred the group to my blog and explained the condition to the best of her ability. It shed some light on the situation. These words on these pages paint a different story. One of tragic sadness, one of desperation, one of what life can really be like with a hidden disability.
It may also highlight ‘that’ child who has been so fraught with anxiety in the past that she was unable to go to the toilet for days because her whole body shut down and she could not follow daily tasks. A beautiful child who cannot control a condition she has and who wishes she had a different brain. And of a mum who cannot guarantee that her daughter will be able to live independently as she grows into adulthood. If they had of asked me in the playground then I could have told them about that. All of my sadness and of my grief of having a child who is not just like theirs, but of a daughter who I am often very proud of for overcoming obstacles daily. I want to shout from the houses that she can go to the toilet now – what an achievement! My estimations have changed, I don’t care if she can’t read, I don’t mind if she is unable to do multiplications. I simply want her to be able to integrate into society.
I am truly sorry that my daughter attacks, it is her response system. It is not an excuse, but an explanation. I am also embarrassed by my own performance in the street – my meltdown. I can guarantee that my daughter feels a range of emotions about her own behavioural responses.
And here I am, writing another blog. I am fractured, admittedly, but I’m not fully broken. I will put my armour back on to fight another battle. I cannot afford to be under attack. I will use the cathartic route of writing as my weapon and to heal my tormented soul.
I’m strong like a warrior. I can fight like a warrior. I will write like a warrior.