I want you to know what it’s like to be me.
My brain runs like a washing machine powered by a Ferrari engine. It runs all the time and it runs fast, churning and tumbling ideas like shirts and pants and socks mixed together. I can be talking to you and having another conversation running inside my head. I can be in class listening to the teacher, but be fully engaged in a daydream about Legos or hearing a new song on my guitar.
You know how I sometimes repeat questions? It’s not that I didn’t hear your answer. It’s just that in the second between the time I asked and you responded, I went somewhere interesting in my mind. Sometimes I have so many thoughts swimming inside my head that I just blurt things out because I’m afraid I will forget them.
I kind of like all this energy inside my head because I can keep myself entertained in there by myself. But other times I feel scattered and like there’s not much order up in my brain. Everything’s swirling. That’s why I like things to be just so and I why I need to know what we’re doing all the time. It’s why I end up wearing or eating the same things. New things freak me out a bit because I don’t know what to expect, so please don’t be mad at me when I’m anxious.
I want to do well in school. But sometimes the ideas in my head are so strong or interesting, and when I follow them even for a few seconds, I fall behind. And once I’m lost in class, sometimes I figure I may as well just keep thinking about these ideas. It’s like they call to me to work on them and see them through.
This is hard to explain, but sometimes I feel my body screaming to me to move and like I need contact, to push up against something. It makes me feel better inside. I’ll be sitting in class and if I haven’t gotten any exercise, I feel like I’m about to explode. But then I know my teacher will get upset if I get up, so I sit there kind of frozen, not sure what to do. I promise I don’t get in trouble on purpose.
Okay, I was lying. Sometimes I do get in trouble on purpose. I like to get the reaction from people when I’m bored. It wakes my brain up. And if I’m really bored or my body is screaming at me, I’ll get in trouble just so I can get out of class to walk down the hall. It’s such a relief. But then I feel bad later and I know everyone is mad at me.
I don’t expect you to understand this, but little things just bother me. I’m not making it up to be difficult, I promise, so please don’t be mad at me when I tell you some place smells really bad or I have to change my socks or it’s too loud and I have to leave the room. I know you get tired of fixing the same thing for me to eat, but a lot of foods just don’t feel right and it feels like I’m going to gag. I’ll try better.
Sometimes being a kid is tough for me. I’d rather be doing grown up stuff, I’d rather hang out with adults and older kids. I get bored with kid stuff pretty easily. It’s like I have an adult brain and ideas stuck inside a kid’s body. That’s why I like to hang out with Uncle Tom and work down at Mr. Brown’s shop with him-he gives me grown up jobs and trusts me. And he always says I do a good job for him, and that makes me feel good.
There’s something inside me that says if I can just get through childhood, I’m going to make a great adult one day. I’ll be a good Dad because I know what it feels like to hurt as a kid and be misunderstood. And I know I don’t always do great in school, but I have good ideas and I can work at something really hard when I’m passionate about it. I don’t have any fear of the future, it’s just the present that isn’t much fun.
Okay, I know I say I’m all grown up and everything in some ways, but things hurt me more than you think. I know you guys are trying really hard and I’m difficult, but I kind of know that everyone wishes I were different. I see the way Grandma and Grandpa treat Adam and Grace different than me. You know all those little comments you guys make, the way Dad shakes his head in disapproval, the way Mom groans and all those hushed conversations you have with the teacher, therapist and principal? I know what it means. I know people think I’m a bad kid because I don’t always behave like my brother and sister or the other kids.
That’s why I like hanging out with Buster a lot, because he likes me the way I am because I give him lots of attention and take him on walks. And that’s why I like to play video games and be alone sometimes. It’s like my heart can only take so much and then I have to withdraw a little bit.
I know I don’t get invited to birthday parties like Adam and Grace. It used to really hurt me, but in some ways I like not having a lot of friends. It’s partly by choice, because I’m pretty content inside actually.
I like who I am, but it’s tough when no one else seems to. Why does everyone want to change who I am? I’m not unhappy with myself-I’m uneasy because since I can remember, everyone around me has been so negative and tried to fix what they think is wrong with me.
You want me to talk more, but you just psychoanalyze me. Besides, it’s difficult to express my thoughts and feelings verbally-they just get jumbled up. I’d rather express them in my writing and music. I want you to know that I feel things deeply, I do. I hurt with the kids who get left out, and one day I’m going to help those kids. I know how it feels.
I know you get concerned because I stay up late at night and don’t sleep much. But I like it when it’s quiet. I can hear my thoughts better. And my world is peaceful then.
Thank you for all you do for me. You think I don’t appreciate it, but I do. I know I’m not exactly the way you want me to be or the kid you expected, but I’m going to be good as an adult and you’ll be proud of me then.
Mom and Dad, don’t worry about me. I may not do great in school or be the most popular kid, but I’m content inside. I like the way my brain works, I like my energy. If everyone would stop trying to fix me, I’d be okay. Please stop trying to make me be like everyone else. I like who I am. Do you?
~ Your son/daughterCopied with permission from an email I received from www.CelebrateCalm.com – every email I get makes sense to me as a parent. If you are a parent, I encourage you to take a look at the website and sign up for the emails. Disclaimer: they did not ask me to blog this, I got the email and asked them if I could. I haven’t purchased the programs or attended a seminar (yet) but plan to do so as soon as I can!