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Oct 20

Mental Health Day

I kept Julianna home from school today.

There are very few things that I’ll regret from raising these three kids.  But one of them is the two months that Marc and I spent trying desperately to get Sam to go to school before his accident.    When the anxiety kicked into high gear, and the physical complaints were overwhelming, he had constant abdominal pain, and sitting in class was next to impossible – we thought we had no other choice.  He had to go to school.  That was the only option.  If we gave in, then the anxiety would win and he’d never be able to live a normal life.  We were told that over and over again, by everyone.

We tried so hard, with incentives and punishments, and mental health experts, and school adjustment therapists.  Different drugs, different treatments, and it spiraled from there.  It was terrible, and I’ll never understand why someone, anyone, didn’t just shake me and tell me that we didn’t have to do this.   Homeschooling is a lot harder with Sam in many ways, in part because of the accident, but also because there’s a lot of school based anxiety around failure – but if we had started it before the accident and we didn’t have the vision issues to contend with… it’d be a breeze.  Even with all those complications, it’s so much easier than threatening and sobbing and struggling every day, and he’s thriving.

I’ve also got my Jessie – my beautiful, bright and so sweet Jessica Mary.  Who scored a perfect score on her ELA MCAS, and brought home a report card filled with As and Bs.  Last night, she fell apart, because she’s so stressed out all the time, and feels like she’s always behind and exhausted.  She’s a freshman.  A freshman.  The amount of pressure that she puts on herself, all the time, and I can’t figure out how to get thru to her to get her to chill.  Relax.   She’s so driven and so focused – but she’s only fourteen, and it’s so much harder than it should be sometimes.

So when Julianna started crying today in the drop off line, begging me to please, please not make her go today – I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Julie isn’t Sam, and she isn’t Jessie.  But if I have a chance to not make those same mistakes, to teach her mental health skills like it’s okay to take a day and breathe, then I’m going to do it now.  Before she becomes a freshman who’s so stressed out that she forgets to eat all day.  And if this continues, and the drop offs get harder and harder, I’m going to pull her out way before it gets as bad as it was with Sam.

She spent the day drawing and dancing.  I have no regrets today.



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