When You’re at Your Lowest & Nobody Knows

Read next

Today’s theme is: A time you were at your lowest and nobody knew.

This was Alex’s grade seven graduation day.

We were beyond ecstatic. Alex did not enjoy elementary school for the most part. Grade seven was the exception. It was a perfect mix of a fantastic teacher, wonderful aide and a group of lovely kids who all made him feel comfortable and accepted.

The majority of the rest of his time there was hard on all of us. There were so many times when he resisted going. To the point of us having to pry his fingers off the doorframe to not be late.

We got a lot of calls, emails and daily reports about how he wasn’t able to do this or that. He wasn’t even able to just ‘be’ at school. 

It was disheartening and often traumatic to say the least. 

This was a period of years when he had a lot of meltdowns. We were almost always on eggshells waiting for the next one to happen. 

This graduation day started off great. We were so happy to be moving on while simultaneously anxious about what high school would bring.

I pressed his clothes and helped him dress. I took a moment to admire my handsome boy in his new shirt and blazer that I had bought special for the occasion. He fidgeted a little but managed. 

I proceeded to get myself ready and it all started to hit me. The auditorium would soon be filled with all the school staff, students and lots and lots of families. What if it’s all too much for him? What if he has an epic meltdown and we need to physically escort him out of there screaming and crying with all those eyes on us? My face got hot at the thought. All the memories from the past eight years came back. The thought of what if high school is no better? My mind went down the rabbit hole and before I knew it, I was breathing really shallow. I felt like I was suffocating. I started to sweat and tremble. I raced to the window and threw it open and stuck my head out for some fresh air, but it was already warm out so that didn’t help. I was having a full on panic attack. I realized it too which made me panic even more. Thankfully, I turned the cold water on and splashed my face and neck and it kind of snapped me out. 

I then proceeded to bawl my eyes out and silently ask why everything has to be so hard and why can’t we just enjoy this day like everyone else?

I took a few minutes to collect myself and reapply my now smeared makeup. 

I didn’t tell anyone. We went to the graduation ceremony and ended up having one of the best days ever with Alex. He was happy and smiling and we got some amazing pictures. No meltdowns. Probably helped that we kept reminding him after that day that he would never have to go back and then we were getting a treat after, lol. 

I remember sitting in that school auditorium, looking around at all the parents and thinking, “If you only knew what it took to get us here.”

This post originally appeared on The Autism Ride on Facebook.