Anxiety is a real part of my life. Not only has it been part of my own life for most of my life, my children inherited it as well. (I’m sorry kids … you’re welcome.)
I have a child with anxiety disorder. And at the moment we’re barely making it each day.
Today has been especially challenging for him and for me.
I could tell you that I’m patiently here for him and that we’re figuring it out, but to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what in the hell we’re doing and I have NOT figured anything out.
What do you do when you must leave your 3rd grade child at school and they’re kicking and screaming on the floor? (there are not other kids doing this every morning at school.)
What do you do when one minute your child is happy and fine, and the next they’re raging and tossing things and scratching people? (ANYTHING is a trigger it seems)
What do you do when you are overwhelmed and heart broken and trying your best to meet each moment with some semblance of patience and grace and sometimes you’re so freaking pissed off at the circumstances you feel like a volcano about to explode? (crying kind of helps. Sometimes screaming into a pillow seems like a good idea as well.)
Right now the only answer I have is to breathe more deeply, talk to more people, and to try to look for ways to love anyway.
So far that’s kind of working.
My “mom book” tells me that I will figure this out, that this too shall pass, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And somewhere in the back of all the frustration I mostly believe that.
In the moment of an especially trying day, like today, I just feel weary and sad. And lonely. And … a bunch of other things that are hard to articulate.
Anxiety is strange. When there’s a “triggered” moment, my son seems like a different person. And he isn’t the angry avoidant one that’s having a moment right now … he is REALLY the usually quiet happy one that laughs and plays and helps and smiles. And I know in the hard moments that he is in there, but the anxiety has taken over and it needs a moment until it will pass.
And it always does pass. Like a hurricane or a tropical storm … it has its moment, it crashes and blows, and then it dies down and dissipates.
Anxiety is like the weather.
I try to remember that in the challenging moments. This morning when I was brushing his teeth and feeling very frustrated, I didn’t remember that. I just felt annoyed that I was having to brush a 9 year old’s teeth. But he wouldn’t do it, and he wouldn’t get in the car to go to school until they were brushed. So … Not my shiningest moment … I am not a perfect person. (I know, it’s a shocker.)
I guess it’s important to remember that I’m also a human with emotions and I’m learning too. I worry about the principal, counselor and teacher that I’m leaving him with each day. I worry that they will not be able to handle what I feel like I’m dropping in their laps. I worry that the other kids will see him in one of his frustrated moments and they’ll be mean to him. I worry that he’ll feel like I’m abandoning him.
I worry too. I am also a person with anxiety.
I have found the important thing for me to remember is that I AM aware of ALL of this. And that awareness lessens the sting. It takes away some of the hardness and allows me to step back and see this situation for what it is … a mental disorder that he cannot help he has. He isn’t doing this on purpose. He isn’t TRYING to pitch a fit each morning to make the day start crappy. He is held hostage by this as much as I feel like I am.
And so when I remember that, the patience I need swoops in and smooths the edges and calms the storm.
I know there are challenges each of us faces. This one feels especially heavy lately. It helps me to express my voice when these moments pile high.
I am a mom with a kid who is struggling. I am also struggling. Welcome to my world.
~Honor this moment