My son has two modes

My son has two modes ‘this is impossible!’ and ‘this is SO EASY!!!’
He’s very bright and tends to pick some stuff up quickly and often does well with school work and his hobbies, but when he doesn’t get the automatic easy mode that he is used to he doubts himself no matter how much encouragement he gets and thinks he’ll never get it and develops a ‘wall of awful’ about whatever it is.
I had similar problems growing up (and still do now sometimes) so I can sometimes help him break through it. With some things it helps to break them down into smaller pieces “you can’t do that thing yet, but you can do this first step to that thing” but it’s still hard some days.
Stuff has been stressful lately after a death in the family and some misc stress and he’s shutting down into ‘wall of awful’ mode a lot more than usual. I am worried about how he’s going to manage once school work starts again.
I homeschool them which allows me to be very flexible with their work schedules and work around their needs which is great most of the time, but lately he’s been shutting down a lot and getting pretty defeatist when things don’t go his way right away.
I am hoping that things will get a little easier in time, but I am feeling a bit frazzled at the moment and just need to vent to some people that will hopefully get it.


My oldest son is often like that. However sometimes he does not really know how to do things properly that he thinks is easy. He can also be very resistant to assistance.

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Yeah I kinda get that.
Now of course every ADHD brain is different but this is my experience.
It’s like we only like in extremes.
I feel like neurotypical brains experience things gradually or on a scale eg a dial ranging 1-10
But I feel like instead I have a switch. I’m either super excited or really sad with crying. Super happy yelling from the rooftops to instead of gradual anger I can get to flipping tables anger in a second.
But it’s like that for everything: emotions, attention, confidence, planning (now or not now), … The problem is that we struggle with control. We have a weak executive function which is supposed to regulate all this stuff but it doesn’t work as it should and it is incredibly difficult to feel so out-of-control all the time. Sometimes it just feels like your body or more precisely our brain is betraying us and that’s a lot to deal with for anyone.

For me the hardest part is that most people or almost everyone around me doesn’t understand and I seem to be always over-the-top/weird/quirky when I don’t want to be. This results to me trying to diminish what I’m going through because I am not supposed to behave like this. It is not accepted in our society and people just normally don’t get it. But it doesn’t always work and seems to make me agitated even faster.

This is how I feel anyway. We all have our own ways of dealing with these things and it might take a bit longer to break through our wall of awful. I hope this gave you some insight and maybe the best thing is just to talk to him openly about how or what he is feeling without any judgements.

Personally I found that learning about my brain helped me a lot.
For 9 years I have ben doing things, working on myself by following advice from people who should know better but it never really worked because those tips&tricks/advice are usually made for neurotypicals and that results is working against our brain. Now I feel like I can work with my brain and especially with this community it gets easier because there are a lot of people here that go through the exact same things.

I’m sorry for rambling… I hope this helped. I kept going off-topic and forgetting what I was talking about lol

My mother had two modes: 1. you are doing things just the way that I and all the other neuro-typical people approve of it being done, and 2. you are not. I had about forty-eight modes when I was growing up: 1. try it this way; 2. maybe try it that way; 3. try it the other way; 4. go all boring and standard on it in a petulant way; 5. go all standard and effective on it for fun and giggles; 6. go crazy on it with new ideas about it; 7. go half-crazy but only in the way Batman would do it; 8. now go half-crazy in the way Robin would do it but Batman would NOT do it; 9. try it some other way, etc. Seems to me, mom was the one who had a problem with over-characterizing my modes, into only one of her two limited options. There was a LOT more going on there … :slight_smile:

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If I may ask, how old is he?
I also was home-schooled, all the way until College (hard to home-school College… :smiley:)
Is he having trouble in a given topic, or is he struggling across the board?
The death in the family, how close were they and your son? What kind of Emotive affect might be in play here that he isn’t show how to process, and might be contributing?
There are a lot of variables here, and I think it is worth spending some time going through it and maybe finding some things that can be worked on “around” the symptom we see that will help him grow and mature and learn. I’d love to chat with you on that.

My son is 9.
The loss was his grandfather, they were pretty close although he lived far away he would visit as often as he was able. My husband and his dad were very close and I think the emotional toll it’s taking on my husband is having an effect on the kids too.
A few months earlier we also lost our beloved family cat. In addition to all this a young girl that my kids have known for years has been in the hospital with a serious life-threatening illness.
It’s completely rational for him to be very upset, a lot of very upsetting stuff has been happening in the past few months and things have been very stressful. He’s not handling it well. His sister seems to be a bit more stable about the whole thing, upset from time to time, but not having the huge meltdowns he’s been getting.
He’s always done the two-modes thing and usually we can work around it, but lately he’s been in the defeatist mode a lot more than usual. I am hoping that time will help and once the additional stress and grief has dulled things will arrive at a new normal.
We’ve talked to his dr about counseling so we’ll see how that goes too.

I am just trying to figure out how to handle stuff when we go back to school mode and feeling kind of emotionally and mentally exhausted and mostly just here to vent.

I’m Sorry for your combined losses.
Also, sorry for coming on a bit strong. I work IT, and my job is to troubleshoot, so it tends to be my go to response. Usually I’m better at reigning it in, but you got it full blast. My bad. :frowning:

No worries, I understand the desire to fix everything! I get that too sometimes.