Three days of out of school suspension (OSS). 😞
Recently our son received three days of OSS for aggressive behavior towards his teacher. I have mentioned before about my son's struggle with a mental illness. He feels things so much stronger than most people. From happiness to sadness to anger and everything in between. It is very difficult for him to regulate his emotions. This causes him to be incredibly caring and very emphatic, but also act out when angry.
The consequences of his behaviors effect our whole family. It is heart wrenching to see his struggle. He wants to be included, to be "normal." He is very sad and apologetic after he calms down and it hurts him to know how he acted.
Understandably, this effects his ability to have friends, be successful on a team, and make it through the school day without problems. This most recent behavior that lead to suspension was severe.
We do so much to help him. He has numerous community supports he works with (mental health and medical) and a team at school. We've participated in parent/child interaction therapy. We've tried behavioral charts, earning privileges, loss of privileges, and grounding. I believe some of it helps but we're not where we want to be. Not yet.
I cried today while in a conference meeting with my son's school team. I hate he acted the way he did and I hate that mental illness has such a strong grip on him right now. But. . .
We won't give up. We'll keep fighting. He will be successful!
I share this not to evoke sympathy but to give you a small slice to how mental illness can effect a person, a family.
I want to end with mentioning that aggression towards others is not common in those that have a mental illness. In fact, aggression towards oneself is much more likely in those suffering then aggression outward. But no matter how the symptoms manifest, we must keep fighting.
Stressed, overwhelmed, needing an objective opinion.
Awhile ago, I was feeling all of those things. I have numerous coping skills I use when feeling stressed. I have good support in my life. And yet, sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes, I need more. So I did what I recommend to others to do, I went to therapy. It is not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. I met with someone a few times in order to have a safe place to vent my feelings to an objective person. And it helped. It was a non-judgmental environment where I could freely discuss my life and the therapist could just listen and help me make connections in my thinking. It was also nice to have someone validate my feelings. Someone who didn't know the people I was talking about and therefore was truly coming from an objective place.
I hope by putting this out there this lessens the stigma of mental illness that I have written about before. There should be no shame in needing to go to therapy.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!