My son, my puzzle.

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During this transition I’ve realized a few things. And remembered a few more.  

When dealing with more than one (chronic) illness or disorder we pick the biggest /worst /most impacting one of the moment, and tend to let the others slide a bit, forgetting that all are a piece of the puzzle.
Dude doesn’t just have a rapid cycling bipolar diagnosis, but has developmental coordination disorder – mild brain damage,  sensory processing disorder, OCD, severe anxiety and panic disorders.
For years we shuttled him twice weekly to physio, OT, doctors and therapists.

But as with almost all chronic illness there comes a point where you hit the maintenance part. Where they’ve taught you and helped all they can and so you just figure it out and live with it. And when you live it every day it just becomes, until you don’t really think about it until crisis or flare up or new information arises.
Some of those puzzle pieces get lost, but the main ones remain because they are the biggest pieces of the puzzle, in our case bipolar was and is the biggest piece of the puzzle, but the other pieces complete the picture.

Forever we’ve known that Dude becomes exhausted both mentally and physically quicker and more severe than his peers.
We tried shortening his days and weeks as the school year went on and it was becoming harder and harder for him to get there and triggers were making life literally a hell for him.
See he starts school off fantastic, by December it’s a struggle, but by February it’s damn near impossible to get him out the door without rapid cycles and debilitating panic attacks.
No amount of shorter days or weeks were helping. Nothing he tried to cope was easing the overwhelming fears.
DCD amplifies his exhaustion and frustration, and SPD makes it incredibly hard to handle the noises, lights and people. School is tough for any teenager, it’s down right painful for him.
By mid year his mind and body are so fatigued that the thought of leaving the house alone is exhausting.

So now we are here working with the school to shorten his year. And we realize that it’s not only the biggest puzzle piece, but the whole puzzle that make up the reasons for school being such an incredible stressor, no matter how excellent the school, for him.

In having made this transition, it’s brought me back to the little pieces and how they all fit together in my child’s brain, how they all play a role and how we need to adjust at any given moment depending on which pieces are showing or missing or are mixed up .

As a parent when your child is ill, you search long and hard to find those missing puzzle pieces. You move heaven and earth to fit them all together! And there’s nothing like the relief of finally having them all in place.  There’s also nothing more frustrating than knowing even with all the pieces, there’s no cure,for any of them.

Those puzzle pieces sometimes confuse me, frustrate me, hurt and leave me lost. Sometimes we choose the wrong piece and have to spend hours upon hours trying to find the right spot. Or we have a spot the piece just won’t fit. And we just keep trying!

Because when the puzzle is complete and sitting perfectly just as it should before a piece of the puzzle jumps off the table again, right then the puzzle is beautiful!

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