Sunday, July 7, 2013

Anxiety

I hate when anxiety rears its ugly head.  It is, sadly, something that I see more often than I'd like around here, and I know that many of my friends and their children struggle with it as well.  We all muddle through by using our own tried-and-true techniques and trying to teach the kids different coping strategies as well, but it still isn't fun.

My own anxiety is in high gear this weekend.  I start the training for the (potential) teaching job on Monday - tomorrow - and true to my own self-deprecating form, I already feel foolish and out of place.  I told a friend today that the anxiety I'm experiencing right now reminds me overwhelmingly of first-day-of-school jitters.  When I was a teen, I would spend the week before school started on a high state of alert, one crisis away from bolting to the toilet.  I certainly wasn't able to eat.  I would have nightly nightmares.  I would spend hours each day worrying about whether I would be able to make it from class to class on time, whether I would remember my schedule, whether I would understand the material... a cacophony of worries would inundate my brain, and by the day before I would be in a state of panic that I have only reached once or twice since, and those were random occurrences.

So right now... I am not well.  I am trying to convince my brain that this isn't quite like middle school or high school, because my performance over the next two weeks really does not affect my future.  OK, it does, but not drastically, not in the way that failing middle or high school would have done.  Not that that was a likely possibility, anyway... oh, hell, anxiety is a nasty beast.

In addition to my own concerns, M2's anxiety is flaring as well.  I've seen it edging higher and higher over the last few weeks, I suspect fueled by the lack of a regular schedule, and it's reached an apex.  I had planned for her to go to a simple arts program a couple of hours each day this week; I was going to go find a coffee shop, park myself with a chai, and do my training while she was gone since M1 has his own day camp to attend this week.  However, when I mentioned it to her, she said, "Er... no."  Well, more specifically, she said, "Mom, I'd really not like to go."  At first I thought that her reluctance was due to 'normal' fears - she wouldn't know anyone, it was a new place, she might have to stand up and perform something solo - but no... no, she's become far too astute and aware of her own fears for that.  I spent quite a bit of time and many lungfuls of breath trying to talk her down out of these imaginary trees I had placed her in before I asked her why she didn't want to go.  Her answer?  "I don't want to leave you, Mom."

And that was that.  I had known before that her separation anxiety was probably the largest component of her troubles in school, but I'd forgotten.  So I'm now hoping that she'll do a simple kids' yoga program at the same center in early August.  I think it would be a good move for her, and M1 and I could do his individual school work while she was there, since hers doesn't take nearly as long to complete as his does these days.  I'm hopeful that a friend or two might attend along with her.  We shall see.

For now, I'm just trying to get us both through the next few days.  It's an agony I wouldn't wish on anyone.

2 comments:

melissa brooks said...

Sorry you're going through this Sarah. As an anxiety ridden person, and the mom of an anxious little one, I feel your pain. Hope things calm down for you guys.

farmwifetwo said...

I'm not nearly that nice a Mom. Anxiety and autism go hand in hand and I've spent years - since they were very small, starting with a couple days a week of daycare - kicking my kids out the door and waving good bye. I would have sent her to the art program and told her she had to do 2 classes before she could stop and needed a very good reason why.

So, the second week of July we sent eldest son to camp for a week. He's 13, and been to weekend camps before but this one wasn't 5 min (literally) from home nor with his Scouts. This one was nearly 4hrs from home. But it did have the pro that his Mother had been there long ago, and his Grandmother had cooked there and his G-Opa helped build it... But he knew nobody when he arrived.

His response... "Had a blast, can I go next year?"

Now, I just have to shove him into band in Gr 9. See he decided not to join band because he didn't play well and I didn't know about it until 2 days before grad... But he got 82% in instrumental... We're going into band... just need to talk to the music teacher...

With mine the trick is to get in the door... do I make them stay... NO. Do I send them off to do something I am certain they will hate... never. Have we quit things because they aren't interested in the end... often.

But... they have to go through the door first.

How's the anxiety doing?? It'll never go away, but, they are learning to live with it.