Today I thankfully saw it coming before it happened. I even, for a moment, thought of being one of those mom's sauntering on into my sons class with a cup of hot coffee in my hand. But, I know better. Yesterday went well so I was on my guard.
As I pulled up and parked I heard the change in my sons voice as he said, "I don't want to eat in there!" He was talking about the cafeteria. Before we left he had decided to get a hot lunch. Pulling in he saw all of the kids in front of school and anxiety hit like a fright train. I quickly got them out and went as fast as I could, while I gently squeezed his hand. He was mumbling undiscernible words as we got closer. Then about ten feet from the door he dropped, dead weight. I quickened my steps pulling him as I went. I tossed my keys and his backpack on the ground so that I grab the door handle and got him inside where my back up was.
When he is feeling this way the only thing that helps is time and a firm rocking motion. Gently, but firmly holding him and rocking him seems to reset his brain. I once heard that firm hugs release dopamine and oxytocin in your brain. If I am able to catch it soon enough then the result is almost instant. My husband and I have talked countless times about medication for his anxiety . I think at this point we want to continue to try and help him work on controlling it on his own.
Today as we were inside and I knew that he was safe from the parking lot and the road. I dropped to the ground gently rocking him and talking to him. He began to relax and calm down. I told him that I will bring him lunch and that it would be ok. He calmed enough to get up and interact with the teacher. Then he changed his mind and tried to run again. My hand was already still on him so, he only got an inch. The aid that he loved is learning how to work with him during his high anxiety times and she is learning from the best. In the past I have watched his teacher with him. she gently holds him and tells him that she can't let him go because she wants to keep him safe.
I can say without one ounce of doubt, that I hate the fear that I have, as his mom,knowing that there could be a day that he gets away. When he is in that fight or flight frame of mind he can't think or reason. I pray every day for his safety. Every time I hear of yet another child, teen or adult who has wandered and died my heart breaks just a little bit more. I know that it could be my son.
The last I checked he was doing good. I did bring him a lunch and left it in the office. I know that when I pick him up this afternoon he will be happy and probably not want to leave. But, there is tomorrow that I have to worry about. So, in the morning I will ware my running shoes instead of flip flops just in case. My coffee? Yeah that will stay in my car.