Thought I’d write a quick note just to let you know where we are and what we are doing.
We have moved to the city. Both children are (by their choice) back in a public school, and though Mars has an hour commute to work — under perfect conditions — twice a day, it was sooo the right choice.
I haven’t lived in a city for ten or twelve years, and I have an enormous need for solitude. So I was a bit worried about how I would do here. But we lucked out. We found a quarter of an acre (huge, by Edmonton standards!), lined with mature, thick trees, on a very quiet cul-de-sac. None of our windows overlook our neighbors’. So it feels secluded.
Girly Girl is doing fabulously. She’s fully included in her high school and taking some fun classes: film studies and ASL, for instance. She’s also becoming more independent (look for another post on that topic later this week!).
The Animator has struggled a bit. Oh, the school is wonderful, and he is making friends. But since returning to a public school environment, his stress level has increased. In fact, he’s being treated for post-traumatic stress.
Let me repeat that, just in case you missed it: my son has battle fatigue from attending a public school in rural Alberta.
Yes. It was that bad.
The good news is that the treatment appears to be working. He has a fabulous counselor, and he was visibly relaxed after the first appointment. And that was before she even started the treatment, per se.
She explained it in a very simple, easy-to-understand way. She said that when the body is in danger, the brain sends a “FIGHT! RUN! Do SOMETHING!” message to the body. And that’s a good thing: that’s how we survive dangers like saber toothed tigers or school bullies and administrators. But later, when we get into a situation that reminds the brain of the dangerous one, it gets confused. It thinks to itself, “Hmmm. This looks a lot like that other situation, and that was dangerous! Gosh, maybe I better send the alarm, just in case. FIGHT! RUN! Do SOMETHING!”
The key point was that it sends this message even when the person is actually safe. That’s when the message becomes a problem.
I asked The Animator if he was safe, if he felt safe at his new junior high school. He said “Of course” in that Silly, Mom! Duh! way that preteens have. It was immensely reassuring.
Even his brain is gradually getting the message that he is safe now, that we have escaped Parkland Schools more or less unscathed, that he can relax now. Yesterday he was playing on his iPad, and suddenly burst out, “I’m gonna kill myself!”
We don’t ever ignore those kinds of messages now. Mars said (as casually as he could), “Really?”
The Animator gave him a Silly Dad! look and said, “I would never really do that. I was talking about my game.”
It was almost like he’s completely forgotten. And that is a very good thing.
Maybe we can all relax now.