This will be my first blog based on immediate emotions. Today was one of those days. My son is a “runner” and it can become extremely frustrating. I felt his emotions change last night and I could have guessed that we were in for another fun ride. Again, I am not looking for sympathy because I am so blessed to have this angel in my life, but I am looking to bring light into someone else’s life who may be going through the same thing. If you thought you were alone, you are not.
So, what is a runner? We have found over the last couple of years that my son has a real problem with his “fight or flight” mechanism. Our encouragement for him is to continue to fight no matter what the issue is. We like to look at it as an inner battle that he faces on a daily basis. I know he has the power to fight whatever it is that keeps dragging him down because I know what he is made of. I know what his core values are. I believe that the education he has acquired in a psychological arena is so more advanced than even many adults he deals with…but, sometimes he wins and most time, he still loses.
Today, it does seem that he had a “trigger” that took place in a classroom that threw his thoughts and emotions into a spiral of confusion. I believe that when this happens, he may be more related to a caged rat trying to figure out a maze than a typical 16-year-old boy. I don’t know what his actual thoughts are, I just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will do anything to be in his “safety zone.”
Today, this meant finding any way to get back home into his bedroom away from anyone or anything. He walked out the back door and ran (probably walked). When I initially received the phone call from the school, we thought he might be hiding in a bathroom since this is usually his first line of defense. I tried to call him but he didn’t answer. A text response a few minutes later stated – “I’m so sorry. I was doing fine and wasn’t thinking about anything bad but then out of nowhere, I started getting these weird thoughts and I tried everything to make them go away and I started getting really emotional and couldn’t control it.” I was able to keep him communicating and determined the path that he had taken. I mapped it to see how far he was vs how far he had left. I have to admit that I was thinking of letting him finish the walk thinking the 3.6-mile journey might help him clear his head.
When I finally picked him up on the side of the road, he had walked 2.2 miles in 33-degree weather. I had been on the phone with him for about 30 seconds asking him his surroundings when I spotted him and he spotted me. I pulled over and placed my hazard lights on as we were on a busy road and he casually turned around to start walking towards me. He had no emotion on his face. No relief at all. I can’t even imagine how cold he must have been and he just casually opened the door and sat inside. It felt like forever as I waited for the cars to pass from my side mirror behind me but I was finally able to merge. I waited and waited to see if he was going to say anything. I have honestly lost most words when it comes to these kinds of situations because I still don’t understand and it takes everything out of me to remain a steady support system. My thoughts were going crazy wondering if this new school was now going to tell me that “he was too much for them to handle.” As I have heard many times, his “running” creates a liability issue that most schools don’t seem to be able to take on. My thoughts were – “Really N, not again! What are we going to do now?! We’ve used up our last support line!! If this doesn’t work, I don’t know where we will turn!! We are out of options!” Obviously, I wanted to scream but I know that does no good. He is well aware of the consequences of his actions. I do believe that he doesn’t have the control that I need him to have. So, I sat there. Silently. Trying to feel him?
I looked over and silent tears were slowly falling down his cheek. No quivering lip. No sound. Just the tears. He didn’t look at me or couldn’t and very clearly stated, “I know you are tired of hearing it Mom but I really am sorry. So sorry. I’m a disease. I need you to know I tried. I tried.”
I know he tries. I know he wants to be different but I believe, about my son just like I believe it about anyone who is different like this, that he and everyone like him are God’s creation. He is meant for beautiful things. If I can get him through these years, he will have learned so many amazing lessons. “What doesn’t break us makes us stronger!” It will make him stronger! This is hard and knowing that we will now once again be back in the “punishment zone” within his new school where he will probably be having to pay for his actions today by in school detentions that turn into more in school detentions when he isn’t able to follow through while we wait for 7 – 15 days for his “episodes” to diminish to the point where he can pretend to be normal for a week to two weeks before we get back on the mary-go-round is almost an unbearable thought. It is just another never ending loop.
My job is to support. My job is to continue to learn in order to support with confidence. My job is to make sure that my home is not somewhere that he “needs to run from”. I want him to get an education and I want him to be a successful adult – HE WILL BE A SUCCESSFUL ADULT. I want him to figure out how to make peace with the cards that he has been dealt. I need him to have the confidence to fight like hell when his emotions take over because I know that he has the power and the endurance to WIN!