My oldest son walked into the kitchen last night while I was drying the pot I had just used to make marshmallow squares. He leaned against the wall, eyes downcast, unfocused and spoke in a soft voice:
"Mom. Tomorrow. Just so you know. Something has happened and I cannot remember a SINGLE
I put down the pot and gave him a hug. (no hug back)
I told him it was fine. He was fine. He remembered stuff--he had an 87 going into the exam! You can't have marks like that if you don't remember stuff?! Right?
I could see the tears forming in his eyes. He still wouldn't look at me.
"Ok. Get your jacket we are going for a walk. Your brain is in overload and releasing all sorts of chemicals. We will talk. We will walk. You will burn those off."
"I can't. I need to study. I have no time. I have to get to bed. I need sleep for the exam. Maybe it will come back." The panic was building.
"Coat. We are walking"
So we walked and he blurted out his frustrations. I used every little bit of everything I have learned to help him see it was a horrid negative thought spiral he was in and the emotions being produced by these thoughts were causing his brain to just shut down. He listened. He argued, he agreed some.
I suggested when we get home he would get his math and we would work through it together.
Let's be clear here. I got 52% in calculus in grade 13 a milllllllion years ago. There was no hope of me understanding what he was saying....but by having him talk about it and explaining it to me, I hoped to show him he knew more than he thought.
So he talked. I nodded a lot and smiled and said things like, "Oh yeah. I can see that.", "ok so what do you do after that?", " So what does derivative mean?", "Can a line really continue to get closer to another one and never touch it?", "Asymptote? Is that a real word? Is that what you use to carry your butt around....ASS EM TOTE?" ( I got a small smile).
We worked like that for awhile. He felt a bit better but still, he is convinced he will not do well. He got in his jammies, and lay on my bed and I dimmed the lights and ran my fingers through his hair in hopes he would get sleepy and crawl into his own bed. It had been a long time since he had let me do that......
He hugged me goodnight and told me he loved me and appreciated everything I did for him. I told him I would do anything in the world for him --and I loved him so much.
It is hard to watch your kids go through things like this. With my mental health issues and his dads we are going to get him some professional help. If things go well on the exam he will scoff at the help, but he needs it. We all need it.
And the amazing thing was---he didn't suffer alone in his room---he came to find me. He asked for help.