The day I came close to breaking point

9 Sep

I would be telling lies if I said everyday was a good day in our house! Yes, we have had many bad days…Little man can often go weeks at a time without having a major paddy. However with my hand on my heart, Little man has never been as highly challenging as he was Yesterday (Tuesday, 08, September)

Things were pretty much “normal” when I collected him from school. He done a fair bit of moaning, not surprising given the times in which he finally goes  off to sleep of a night. I knew he must have been feeling pretty crappy, so didn’t pay too much attention to his name calling and stroppy ways. I had not prepared my self for what was to come that evening! My gosh it wasn’t pleasant

Tuesday 08 September 2010 would be a date I would remember for time to come, as I’m almost certain that this was the day I very near hit breaking point.

My nine (Very soon to become ten-year old) had gain total control over me! His mother. He seemed totally uncaring, selfish and extremely hateful towards me. Let me explain my meaning for TOTAL CONTROL! I had become so tired and sick of the situation we were now in. My son had me crying in public, I then went on to have a panic attack in the supermarket. Can you imagine the scene.. Mother with two of her children and her nephew stood on the food aisle in Sainsburys crying as her nine-year old throw himself around the store. Yes, his had the classic supermarket meltdowns but this was oh the DADDY of them all. He abused me with hurtful remarks, Throw items, refused to move, bashed his 7-year-old sister across the supermarket with a trolley, cried, jumped up and down screaming “Please, I said I was sorry”  as I contemplated leaving the shop. I considered running way, or better still screaming, nothing precise, Just screaming to let some frustration out! Instead I just ended up with a crying daughter, a migraine, and one hell of a panic attack. God only knows why it’s called a panic attack as I was far from panicking! I was just utterly exhausted, drained mentally, and shocked at the extent of the behaviour and worse the inability to care about mine and anybodies upset.

Not knowing if I was coming or going I realised that we were fast becoming a tourist attraction. I’m used to stares, unwelcome comments from snort nosed strangers. I don’t normally rise to such ignorance. However When some couple stopped to have a nose, like we were caged animals at the zoo I had no choice. Was the situation that bloody interesting? Well, this couple seem to think so and unlike other fellow shoppers peeking as they passed on by, These guys were grabbing their popcorn and were in the front row! Needless to say, they got their show! One which concluded with me asking if they had nothing better to do in their lives then stand watching us and somehow find our abominable display entertaining. Yes, they said nothing just scattered of shaking their heads. Our the trip came to an end with me having this panic attack and members of staff asking if I was Ok. I felt so silly! A panic attack over my child.. I kept thinking they would think I couldn’t cope! It’s ironic really, as stood there I felt like I couldn’t, and felt so for a good few minutes. Then I remember, the challenges we have faced together and I allow myself to have that breakdown, after all do they contend with things like this on a daily basis. Just like little man slowly filling up in till he explodes and it comes gushing out, I needed to do that too and at home laid in bed next to my daughter who was so tired and unable to cope with him constantly storming into her room name calling. I found myself crying again. Listening to him going up and down the hallway acting out the same bus routine he does every single day and night I wondered if he really did have feelings as today would suggest he didn’t!

I know my son does have feeling, if anything he can be over emotional. It just seems at times that he considers himself to be the only person in the world. ..I know that it was just a really bad day, ones I bound to see again, It just sometimes we get through them better then others.

.. Well, my children have been back in school for five days but have only attend three of them days. I emailed the AWO (attendance and welfare officer) who works for the LEA explaining why my children were not in school. How could they go to school that morning following the kind of day we had the day before ? My daughter didn’t sleep till the early hours and I managed a few hours only once I heard the announcements of random bus stops being shouted out, I knew it was safe to. This must have been at least 5am. I’m surprised the baby, my nine month old son got some sleep given the extent of the noise throughout the night.

I decided to go to the school to speak to little mans class teacher. Turns out that the teacher was away from class and told the children before leaving to behave or they may not attend the trip he was planning. Little man freaked when his friend started to misbehave and was now convinced there was no trip. Such a small thing can seem so big to Little man. Since I’ve told him that the trip is still on, his settled a lot more. Today was like yesterday never existed, and he was polite and well behaved. So Tuesday wasn’t a great school day. It was a worrying, anxious school day, which resulted in him coming home to take it out on mum. 😦 We have had worse things happen, worse days but never with this degree of challenging behaviour. It just goes to show, that our children on the spectrum can become bubbling volcanos within a second, No warning no sign. The smallest and most simplest thing to us, is the most huge to them. Challenging behaviour can be triggered by al sorts… You’ve been warned!!

Oh one last thing! I started smoking again after a year and a half. Yes, I was disappointed with myself, and it’s a stupid thing to do… But my god it felt so good! Stress & cigarets are a match made in heaven.

9 Responses to “The day I came close to breaking point”

  1. Rachel September 12, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Oh Claire, this is awful, I really understand as I have been in exactly the same situation with mine (minus the panic attack- they normally come on at home when she is trashing the house and hitting me!) It sounds like you really needed to let it all out- it’s horrific, especially when people stare and make you feel like the worst person alive.

    Thinking about what would be nice is if people actually asked if you were OK and offered to help, rather than stare.

    I wish there was a spa just for parents of asd kids, where we could go so that we wouldn’t end up at breaking point most of the time 🙂



  2. Lynne Owen September 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Hello Claire

    Your blog has kept appearing on my emails I do not know why, but we had some contact via Freecycle Lewisham and I gave my stuff to someone else after having problems with emails and people not picking up etc etc. Now I have read your blog I feel how feeble I have been in getting fed up when I hear about all you have to live with. I do not know what support you are getting- I read recently that persons with children with Autistic spectrum problems get so little from outside services. I am a retired social worker so I do have some understanding of what you experience.. CAn I wish you all the best and hope that things go well and you get any support you need.

    best wishes


  3. Claire September 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Thanks all for your kind words and comments. @ Gavin, I really don’t know! Offering to help is a no no for us but only because it would highten little mans stress. I would fear he would become rude to those helping. I expect people to look they always will, however it’s the stopping and getting a good look that bothers me. Another thing I hate is when people laugh. Arrggh Its not bloody funny. @ Linds..You know what I’m going to say don’t you! Reading your comments, messages or post always make me say “G does the same” it’s crazy to read about a child who has this extent of a transport obsession. I know many children with autism/aspergers love transport, but everything Jo & G does is the same. The way Jo would think to make a train or bus out of baskets or trolleys is what G does almost every singel time we are shopping. He always wants to push the trolley and pretend it’s the 194 amongest others lol.

  4. linds' Ingham September 9, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    Oh poor you. I’ve been in a similar situation, really I have!
    Joseph doesn’t often enter into supermarkets, I hate supermarkets anyway and only shop in Waitrose for the essentials that can’t be picked up at local markets (not cos I’m posh but cos I can’t handle all the glaring white lights, clusters of trolley people in their ‘what do I need to buy?’ bubbles and beepy-ness of the place, and I don’t even have AS!) Jo loves Waitrose because they have machines which vend stickers for bakery items and vegetables and he likes to cover himself in the stickers. The staff in Waitrose seem to be picked for their friendly attitudes and so we rarely have a problem and when I explain to the staff that i’m sorry about the stickers but ‘hahaha’ (adopting light hearted banter voice so that it sounds like a joke but also a vague threat of what would happen if they tried to stop him) its better than him forming a line of shopping baskets and pushing them in a long snake like fashion across the floor whilst pretending to run the Southern service to East Grinstead.
    Once upon a time though Jo had a massive meltdown like you described, I had a panic attack as well (back then I was still only newly diagnosed with manic depression so didn’t have any happy meds placating my system) and Joseph pushed the trolley at me and I cried and pleaded… considered running away. A rotund Waitrose worker lady walked up the aisle and stared at me horrified and made some awful remark about young parents/terrible parents/ what she would do… I don’t remember now, I was hyperventilating into a paper bag at the time! I was rescued by a lovely chap who manages check outs who was ( and remarkably still is) quite fond of Jo and his train announcements and who had helped us once before by sprinting straight to the freezer cabinet to break open a mega sack of ice when Jo had seen fit to plunge himself head first out of a trolley whilst emerged in a similar fit of rage! He ushered us to the staff area, got me a drink, got Jo a drink and when I told him of his colleague’s rudeness he helped me make a formal complaint. I never saw her in that shop again so I don’t know what Waitrose do to their ruder staff members but they obviously do something ( feed them on Organic diets for six months then turn them into tender hand reared fillets to be sold exclusively by the company?)
    Its exhausting isn’t it? Its hard work trying to educate teachers with all they need to know about our children in a mainstream setting and its tiring having to deal with the aftermath too. Not forgetting of course what an ordeal it is on our transport loving little ones ;o) “why can’t I go to school in the Transport Museum well, I would learn how to drive the Jubilee line and that’s all I need to know…”
    Big hugs wonderful lady, you do so much for others and you are an outstanding parent X

  5. Carmel A Jones September 9, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Sadly, it is often an accumulation of “little things” that will set off these things. I’m an adult aspie and have had outbursts for “no apparent reason”. It could be something as simple as rude service in a shop that would set it off but would come at the end of an accumulation of setbacks, big and small. I still have a fairly severe meltdown once or twice most years and smaller ones maybe once a month.

    As a child, I didn’t have many but that was because I tried so hard to be “normal” and mum didn’t like “emotional displays”. Having to cope with adulthood meant that the former mechanisms for managing upsets finally broke down in a big way when I was about 21 and unemployed for over half a year.

    Some people having a meltdown like to be held (I do) but others would find that even more troubling.
    I hate it when people ignore it when I am upset or make smart ass comments such as “snap out of it”.

  6. Gavin Bollard September 9, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    Sorry you’ve had such a difficult day. I’ve been there, done that, too but it always tends to happen to mothers more than fathers. I’m not sure why exactly – possibly because mothers tend to do more shopping with the kids.

    Seriously, I’d like to know what a mother would want passers by to do in this situation. I’ve seen things like this a bit and I feel like I should help but I’ve no idea what the right protocol is.

  7. amanda neal September 9, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    oh bless you claire – what a nightmare!xx

  8. lishanne September 9, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    Wow I have had many momments like this with my little man. At the start of this year his teacher decided to take long sevice leave. The teacher that was taking over my little man had had issues with so that whole time that his normal teacher was off we had behaviors. something so small at anytime no pre warring can set them off. I have had days like this myself too. and yes after two years of smoke free i started again. I can not explian the relief that a smoke can give you when under so much stress.
    I suffer anxiety and the doctor pput me on so medication it works really well. Only every now and again do i have a attack but i dislike that i have been reduced to a stress head of a mum . that has to take medication to get by at times. but there is very little help out there.

  9. mumtoj September 9, 2010 at 4:23 am #

    Hugs to you all (()) We had a day like that last week just because I’d tried to put sunscreen on, at the time I was in tears begging my 4 yr old to please come away from the front door, away from the eyes of all the other parents in our street who just happened to be walking their children to school, to put his clothes back on, trying to convince him that it was ok and that mummy would wash the sunscreen off. Thankfully I eventually got him to daycare and so had a few hours to calm down and destress before it all began again that evening. You’re so right our lovely children on the spectrum can indeed become bubbling volcanos within a second.

    Oh and well done you for saying something to those rude people who were staring, well done to all of you for coping, so what if you have a breakdown, hey we as parents deserve the occassional one don’t we? xx

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