Whilst out on the school run and meeting friends I put on my 'happy' head! If people ask how we are I respond with 'Yes, we are all fine thank you' but the truth is, we are not.
We haven't been for a long time but we've just carried on getting through every day, every hour, every evening of chaos and upset for everybody in the house.
As well as the younger ones completely having lost track of any semblance of a bedtime routine, Thing 1 has completely lost any normality of a day/night routine.
He left his job around 2-3 months ago. First of all he was reprimanded over the trousers he was wearing. He is very fussy about trousers, throughout school he would always wear his trousers tucked into his socks and since then has always chosen skinny chinos rather than a more looser fit trouser. However, skinny chinos weren't good enough and he had to wear a smarter work trouser, he conformed although always changed as soon as work was over. Then once that issue was sorted they told him to cut his hair. He didn't want to, it wasn't excessively long or over styled and he refused. So he left and never went back.
His place of work didn't know about his disabilities and I am unsure that if they did how understanding they would have been. I think Thing 1 would rather not have told them however that means they didn't understand him as much as they could have done had they known.
Anyway, he's not worked in a while. Hasn't looked for another job and doesn't go out at all. So he's in the house ALL the time. His sleep pattern is completely all over the place. There are nights where he is up all night and into the next day, he sleeps all day although not all the time. Sometimes he's awake for 24 hours or more before he crashes.
He doesn't eat properly. There is no breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. It's snacking all the time. Last nights menu consisted of 14 Time Out bars, 6 packs of chocolate shortcake biscuits and some wafer biscuits. He has full access to the kitchen but cooking anything is only permitted at proper mealtimes. He once put some fish fingers in the oven in the middle of the night and then fell asleep. Luckily I woke up and found them just in time, although they were already very burnt.
Then there is the bad language when he is playing on the PlayStation. It's not just shouting and swearing but abusive, offensive words too. I can't repeat what they are. I was going to but I couldn't even bring myself to repeat any of it. We have to listen to this all of the time he is awake. We tell him to stop, we tell him to leave the PlayStation for a while to calm down, we tell him to go out for run or just to get some fresh air and he ignores it all.
If we take it away completely, which I am sure most of you are thinking that is what we should do, if we do that he then annoys the other children. He thinks we had more children to entertain him and he gets cross when they don't do what he wants them to do.
He refuses to take his medication as he is fixated on joining the Army although we have been told that he can't unless he has been off of his medication for 3 years. This meaning that he no longer needs to be on his medication rather than him just refusing to take it like he is thinking that will class as being off his medication.
So all in all, life is falling apart. Thing 1 is ruining our lives. There I said it. Every day is ruined by his shouting and screaming. His winding up of his younger siblings. His lack of sleep, his moods and the constant arguments between us and him over what he should and shouldn't be doing with his life.
Just as I am about to wave my youngest off to school in September and regain a bit more of my time I still have the oldest at home all day and sometimes it feels like he's more hard work to look after than all of the younger ones put together.
I am completely at a loss as to what to do next. Having taken on too much with the OH working during the day, myself taking on an evening job, a school governor position at the local school as well as other commitments on some evenings too it just gets all too much and I just want to give up and hide away.
So when you next see me, my 'happy' head is hiding all of this that we have to deal with every day. It's tough going, I don't want sympathy but just some understanding of how tough some days can be.
Most people think that because one of our children is now grown up that life must be getting easier for us, you couldn't be more wrong!