I thought it was about time I wrote about how my son started on this journey.
This could take a while, so I will probably just add to it when I have time.
I remember the day so clearly, the day I can look back on say it was the first time my lovely, kind, gentle, good-looking, healthy, I thought happy teenager showed the first signs of what I see now as the start of this journey. He would probably say it was earlier, but this day was the first day I realised all was not well in my sons world.
He was 15, had a girlfriend, a lovely girl and she called me, Faith is not well, he is laying on my sofa and can’t breath. I asked to speak to him, he was distressed, told me he felt really ill, felt his heart was racing, and was having trouble getting enough air.
I don’t know how, but I knew he was suffering a panic attack.
I told them to find a bag to blow into, not to panic, stay calm, he was OK, this will pass, it was just a panic attack. He couldn’t calm down so I went and picked him up, once he was home he seemed to calm down and was OK.
I didn’t dwell on it, I had 3 children, he was the eldest and had his exams looming, life was busy and he seemed OK.
It was soon exam time and he suddenly seemed unhappy about going into school. He said something had happened and he had been made to speak in front of a group of his peers, I think there had been an upset of some kind and this was the schools way of dealing with it, get the group together and get them to discuss it.
He caught the school bus every day, it was about a 30 minute journey. One day he said he couldn’t go on the bus. “Don’t be ridiculous, of course you, can”, I sent him off but he came back. “The bus didn’t turn up”
OK I will take you.
The next day he had an exam. I can picture him sat on the sofa telling me he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t go in. he felt sick. I started to panic then. He has to, this was the physical part of his PE exam, this was what he wanted to do, the career he wanted to follow. Again I said “you have to” Then he started heaving, not being sick just reaching.
Well I thought he was putting it on, he can’t miss this exam, his whole career depends on it. I really did think that, he was my eldest, I didn’t know, I had such high hopes for him, I thought this was so important.
I can laugh at this now “a missed exam, ha is that all” what I wouldn’t give for that to be the biggest of his problems.
So I took him in the car, I dropped him off, and hoped he would be OK. I also made an appointment for him at the doctors.
When he came home he told me he hadn’t been able to do the exam, he was to ill. I was angry, upset, disappointed, so I took him to the doctor.
“Stress! he needs to learn some relaxation techniques, some deep breathing, here is a leaflet”.
Well that didn’t work, he got through his exams, some he missed, others he got through by me taking him in just for the exam.
I told the school, but they just thought it was normal exam stress.
So that was his first failure, I look back now and wonder if it was his fear of failure that made him so stressed.
Then it was the school prom. He had his first real suit, his girlfriend a beautiful dress,
But he didn’t know if he could go. He felt sick. he argued with his girlfriend, why didn’t he want to go?
Maybe I could have a little drink mum to settle my nerves?
Well what could be the harm? If he didn’t go his girlfriend would be so disappointed.
And what a beautiful couple they made. I just wish he didn’t suffer with these nerves at social occasions.
About this time a friend introduced him to marijuana. When I found out I was shocked and concerned.
I was also totally naïve, never having had anything to do with drugs, I really knew nothing about them. Probably a little in denial as well I think.
He told me it was only occasionally he would smoke, just when he was with his mates and they were all chilling. hey mum it makes me happy and relaxed, stop worrying, I wont try other drugs I promise, I don’t need to, this is fine, it makes me able to be OK with everyone.
My goodness. It looks like he has found the solution to his panic attacks.
Life was good. he applied for an apprenticeship with a local company and got the job. He loved it, I was a very proud mum.