When Winning Looks Like Giving Up

Six thirty five this morning, Tunes enters my room having an anxiety attack. “Don’t make me go, Mom. I don’t want to yell at anyone.”

I hate these attacks! They are robbing my son of his life. Of his childhood. Of his right now.

He’s going to miss another day of school. A day where someone is probably going to yell at me for not making him go.

A day that is going to slip him farther back in his classes that he already has Fs in. He’s only got three classes to go through, and he can’t get through them.

He swears he’s going to pass them, and he probably will. He has done this every semester since sixth grade.

But if I make him go, the illness will turn him into a person he doesn’t want to be. It’s already done that to some degree already.

He’s cold. Uncaring. Not helpful. Lazy. Disrespectful. Selfish. Mean. Cross. Irritable. Grouchy. Sad. Depressed. Anxious. Hurting.

But THIS isn’t my son! I know my son. He’s creative. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s a leader. He takes control. He gets things done. He loves little kids. He’s confident. He’s carrying. He’s loving. He’s so much more!

But this illness steals this from him. And when he has an attack, it ravishes his body. It holds him hostage. It makes him do things he doesn’t want to do.

He snaps at people. He calls them names. He intimidates. He can’t focus. He can’t get anything done. He turns into an ass.

I don’t like using that word, especially to describe my son. But you know what I mean when I say it, don’t you.

He doesn’t WANT to be that, but he has no control.

During these attacks he’s doing everything he can to just get through the moment. Which, a moment can last hours. He can’t breath. His chest hurts. His stomach is upset. His heart his pounding. His head is throbbing. He just wants to stop hurting. He’d do anything, agree to anything to just make it stop.

And then here’s someone telling him to listen in class. Do the work. Be polite to those who talk to you. Help your sister. Smile. Relax. Knock it off. Be friendly. Suck it up. Stop being such a jerk.

Oh, I could force him…Oh no I can’t. I’ve tried. You know what happened? I got text after text.

Mom, please let me come home. Just this one day mom. Please, I can’t do this. It hurts. Mom, I need help. Please help. Make it stop. MOM!

It breaks my heart.

Then, when he tries to force himself, he does what he should. He goes. He listens…well maybe. He sort of does the work. But it’s not right. Then he snaps. He yells. He becomes, well…you know .

See, I think my son forces himself every day. Everyday is hard for him. Everyday he struggles. Everyday he does what he thinks he should. Everyday he listens, well maybe. Everyday he does work, sort of. And he snaps. And he yells. And he’s difficult to be around. And…and…and, yeah.

People see him as an ass.

But on those nights when everyone is asleep, when the house is quiet, he talks with me. And he laughs with me. He shows me things he can do. He’s so talented. He’s so smart.

And he so can’t see it.

So here we are. I let him stay home. Was it the right thing to do? I don’t know. Maybe yes, maybe no. But I believe there are days when he just can’t force himself anymore. And that’s ok.

To continue to fight, he recognizes, turns him further into someone he doesn’t want to be. And that’s what I recognize as a victory, not a defeat.

Be well, my son. Do whatever you need to do to get through this moment, for as long as this moment is. You are not weak. You are strong. What you do is loving.

And you are so very loved.

2 thoughts on “When Winning Looks Like Giving Up

  1. You don’t realise how beautiful this post was to me. I am 23 years old and suffered since I was 8 from anxiety attacks, that my parents just did not understand. In fact, they punished me for them. There is no wrong or right way to deal with this issue, without getting help and support from therapists and doctors, however you sound so supportive, understanding and loving, that sometimes that can go a long way to cure as well. Thank you so much for sharing, it has meant a lot to me to read these words. Would love to keep in touch, please take a look at my blog and follow if you’d like. We have some similar ideas and things going on. https://thesuitcasekiddealingwithabrokenhome.wordpress.com


    1. Thank you for the encouraging words. I’m often left wondering if I’m enabling him or being supportive. He’s 17 and a bit of a hustler but I always want to error on the side of love. Forcing him to do something sometimes makes me think I’m trying to force a kid with no hands to tie his shoes. That would be unreasonable. So thank you again. I’d love to follow your story. I’m sure it would give me hope.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s