I'm having trouble keeping all my balls in the air. I keep focusing on the stuff that I can't manage because the tools aren't there. And with that--with being focused on the stuff I can't manage--I'm starting to drop other balls. Ones that, were I paying attention to the right thing, I wouldn't be having trouble with. All the balls I've dropped are rolling around underfoot, and I'm not just dropping the rest, but losing my balance.
I need to stop, breathe, refocus, and pick up one task. One ball.
Imp is having trouble with school. I keep reminding him to hang on, he's got a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and we'll have an updated 'scrip in another week or two, but he really is having trouble.
I think we've got things adjusted so that he's not overwhelmed by all the crap in his locker--the system with the one, big binder with all his stuff for all his classes seems to work better than the one with a binder for each class. Each class has its own section in the binder: there's a folder for the class, then divider tabs, and paper for each class's work and notes.
Right now, his problem is a negativity spiral. He can't pull out of it. He's stuck on "I can't remember/I can't do it/I'm going to fail"--stuck on the problem, and can't re-focus to fixing the problem. He doesn't even know where to start to fix the problem (remember that problem with under-developed executive function?).
He's stuck. His focus is stuck. He's feeling like he's starting to drop the balls that are being thrown at him.
I know exactly what that feels like: I cope with that, too. I'll be managing things on my limits and then boom--something goes wrong. And then everything goes wrong when I change focus to deal with the one thing. The routine gets broken, because my checklist to help me remember things can't cover the extra. And neither does my energy or focus levels.
As an adult, I know that the only thing to be done is to slow down, take a breath, focus on what I've dropped, and pick up one ball. Not immediately try to get them all back in the air, just one.
For example, with the line to the kitchen outlets being broken or having a short somewhere, I have no dishwasher. I don't have the energy to deal with dishes on top of taking care of the kids' back-to-school needs and rebuilding routines,* and without the dishes, it's a lot harder to keep up with cooking. The summer heat making me not want to cook isn't helping. Feeding my family is one of the big things in my routines. And not having my dishwasher or cooking every night is making me drop all the balls. And having one of the two kids in desperate need of extra support and help isn't helping me pick the balls up.
I need to focus on one ball.
I'm focused, right now, on getting the imp on his feet in school. He's got a system that will work when his meds dose gets adjusted...and I've got his doctor's appointment made for tomorrow afternoon. It was the soonest I could get him in.
He's missed a few assignments. I took him back in to get the book one of the assignments was from, and I got him to do one of them last night. I contacted the other teacher, and got the low-down on what happened in her class, and got the imp to admit he needed help, but didn't know what to do. I got that managed (son, you need to ask for help when something isn't working).
One ball managed. Next ball: getting my kitchen back.
Working on that one. Got an appointment set up with a different set of electricians because the first set is dropping balls. I sympathize, but I need my kitchen.
It's a step-by-step process. But it's taken me decades to figure out how to manage when all the balls go everywhere.
The imp is dealing with all the balls going everywhere, and he doesn't even have the tools to know where to start picking them up. So he gives up and curls up and does nothing. Which...is entirely typical and understandable for someone with his challenges.
First ball: get the dropped homework done and turned in. I think we've got that managed, now. And got a system so he doesn't lose it instead of turning it in. He just has to build it into an automatic habit.
Where my challenge is ME/CFS draining my energy and triggering brain fog (and sometimes triggering my body into attacking itself), his challenge is that he's growing. He's needing constant monitoring of his weight, size, and dosage, and he's almost 13--his hormones are starting to step in and interfere. Eventually, that will settle, but right now, it's making him crazy, and he doesn't have the perspective or the tools to pull himself out.
So, right now, it's my job, as his mom, to pull him out of his spiral. It's...not easy, with all the things that push his focus to keep him in it. Especially when both he and I are still trying to figure out what's working, what isn't, and what's not just not working but backfiring. And when I'm trying to keep his spiral from making him withdraw, curl into a ball, and stop listening and trying.
One ball. Once he's got a handle on that--once I have a handle on that--we'll add another.
Tomorrow, I get to work getting the kitchen back, which will let me get that ball at least picked up so I don't stumble on it when it rolls underfoot. And tomorrow, I get the imp to his doctor and get that ball picked up.
One ball at a time. Pick them up. Stop letting them take my feet out from under me. Then work on getting them back in the air.
*I'm not talking about building routines for the kids. I'm talking about building routines for me. Because my limits keep changing. I think I'm doing something right, because sometimes, I can add things, rather than drop them. I just wish I knew what I was doing right, so that I could keep doing it, and maybe someday get closer to my old normal than I currently am.