Finding the Thrill Through the Agony

Agony of defeatOne of “those” days. You know the kind. A day when you are sure you have been secretly selected to test every aspect of Murphy’s Law. A day when you actually turn around and look for the hidden camera, because this has to be a set-up. I’m convinced those days come to me in batches – LARGE batches. Today was day one of the most recent batch. I should have expected it. After all, earlier this week I had finished some work ahead of schedule. I tried a new recipe, which my son actually ate. That was enough…no more good things or I’d get too used to it.

So, today it began: the downhill spiral. Oh, it really wasn’t so bad. It was, however, consistent.  Many of the things we just have to shake off as bad timing – like hitting EVERY red light when we’re already late for fencing class (and having forgotten some equipment).  Some things we have to shake off as silly human error – like spilling the milk when trying to make breakfast and put clean dishes away at the same time.  The hard ones (for me, anyway) are the ones that we can’t explain.  I guess I like to know who to blame.  Whether it’s my own clumsiness, or lack of planning, or that guy who times the lights on the road – I can point to a reason for what goes wrong.

With my son, it’s not so tidy.  Today – actually the last 12 days, but especially today – was difficult.  Today was filled with anxiety and tears and hurt and sadness and so much more that breaks my heart and tears my soul.  He is sleeping less lately, maybe that makes it harder to keep things in perspective.  He is not eating as well as he used to, maybe that adds to the irritability.  He’s counting the minutes until the end of school, maybe the pressure of the last push is too overwhelming.  Or maybe everything we’ve been doing to help manage his symptoms from ADHD and Aspergers up to this point just isn’t working anymore.  Please, don’t let it be that.  I was finally breathing easier.  We were making progress.  Do you know – he actually walked right up to someone recently, extended his hand to shake and introduced himself!  By himself!  He did it!  You don’t know what a big deal that was to us.  I was so happy I almost cried right there in front of everyone.  So, why is every day peppered with actions and behaviors that are like an anchor, pulling us down – drowning us?

We were at the doctor again today – well, two doctors.  More medicine.  Nothing too serious, thankfully, but another setback.  Another frustration.  I feel so ill-equipped to care for him.  Do I question the tests enough?  Do I push for the right tests and fight against the needless ones?  Does a pro/con list make sense when talking about my child’s well-being?  If anything comes with a “con” stronger than inconvenient, shouldn’t it be thrown out as a possibility?  Am I advocating for him in the right ways – in the right places – at the right times?  Do I shelter him too much?  Do I push him too much?

I want to try essential oil diffusers and modify his diet – but his sensory issues mean change is going to create more anxiety, not relieve it.  I want him off the medication – but reducing it puts him in high-gear and turns him into a whirling dervish who can’t function or focus on learning coping mechanisms.  I want him challenged at school at his level – but traditional settings and homework expectations push him to crying in the fetal position most nights.  The more I research, the less I know what to do.  And I’m beginning to hate the term neuro-typical.

I grew up in the era of ABC’s Wide World of Sports.  The dramatic introduction spoke of the “…thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”  I often feel as battered and bruised as the skier that wiped out in 1970 and graced the opening credits for decades.  My bruises are more emotional than physical – but it takes its toll on a person.  I need to cling tight to the thrill of the victories – I know they’re there.  And they’re significant and should be celebrated.  But, somehow the agony wins out, time and again.

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