Thursday, 7 February 2019

Oliver's struggles

Oliver and his demons


From being little, Oliver has always been very forwards... He was walking early, talking early and having conversations with adults from early on. I just thought he was a very clever little boy but never in a million years did I think there was something else hiding away in his little head. 

The first time anyone made a comment about Oliver being different from other children was in nursery, one of the teachers took me to the side and spoke about the different autistic children she had worked with and Oliver had some of the traits she saw in these other children.... he didn't like loud noises, didn't like changes to routines and struggled to comprehend when something didn't go the way he wanted to. 'Not my boy' I thought, 'she's overexaggerating on some of little things he does', so I ignored what she had said and we continued as normal, I've always been big on routine and don't like changes so figured that was something he'd just picked up from me.

I had split up form Oliver's dad when Oliver was just a couple of months old so as this continued to play on my mind I decided to speak to him about what the teacher had said and as with anything else, it just got shunned - I don't know why I bothered.. but this was the level of support I had got used to and expected from Oliver's dad... so we plodded on.

As the years went by it was becoming more and more apparent that something was amiss, he focused on certain topics such as architecture for example... his general knowledge skills are outstanding, he can give most adults a run for their money in general knowledge quizzes, but struggles with his emotional development also came through strongly and this is where his demons show their ugly heads. As he got to around 6 years old he started to self harm himself when he emotionally couldn't cope with something. I got reports from school that he would try and suffocate himself or try and cut himself. He would punch himself, nip himself, gouging his eyes and pull his hair when he couldn't process his emotions, in particular if he was feeling angry or upset, he told me regularly he didn't want to live anymore and wanted to die, so this was the point where I decided he needed something that I couldn't provide and took him to the GP where we were referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

Now, this was a kick in the balls for me! I felt like a broken woman, my son was self harming, his dad was little to no support so I turned to my friends for some emotional support as I too was struggling with this, I mean my child, my angel, the love of my life had tried to kill himself and was self harming, I felt like I was failing as a mother, so receiving comments like "oh, I've never seen him do anything like that" or "I don't think there's anything wrong with him" were not what I needed... I was made to feel like I was making everything up when all I needed was support!! Luckily, I've always had a great support network with my family, in particular my parents and my husband who I met when Oliver was three, Ste.

After numerous meetings and assessments I got told Oliver has high functioning autism - Asperger's syndrome and it turns out self harm is very common in people on the autism spectrum when they struggle to process something or have been 'told off'. We continued with the counselling sessions and Oliver has been taught some excellent calming methods which he now uses in day to day life.. We still get melt downs but the self harm has dramatically reduced, THANK GOD!!

It was only when Oliver seemed to be able to cope with his emotions that I decided I wanted to try for another child. He's always wanted a brother or sister and he was so happy the day he found out I was pregnant, I remember he jumped up with excitement and did a little jig. From finding out I was pregnant he had it in his mind he wanted a little sister and would describe her as being like snow white, so when he found out we were expecting a little girl he was overjoyed.
I was still worried that when she came he wouldn't be able to process how he felt and resort back to self harm but he's been such an amazing big brother and he uses his love for Isabelle to focus on when he feels like he wants to hurt himself and says it helps him to calm down and feel more peaceful. Isabelle has been such a blessing into all of our lives, and in particular Oliver's... He loves her much more than she will ever know, but he also doesn't realise how much she loves and idolises her big brother.


  1. I'm sorry you had to go through such a horrible experience with your son. You have a beautiful family.


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