I don't update this blog as much as I used to. Frankly, I just don't have as many upbeat thoughts as I did. We struggle with the economic downturn, and we've hit a food plateau. We also struggle, a lot, to understand and move forward with Anxiety.
Anxiety is a condition. Like food allergies, it's not a disease. It's something we need to learn to live with, to help her to manage as she learns to function in life's settings.
Recently, my daughter tried to go to an overnight field trip that the school offers every year. They have nearly 100% participation, and the kids always have a wonderful time. My food allergy kid came home raving about the menu and can't wait to go back in 2 years, when she's old enough to chaperone. The younger one?
Let's just say that in nearly 15 years, she's the first one who couldn't make it through the first night.
She woke up and went to school the next day, and sat with the younger classroom. She helped a second grade class paint welcome back signs for her peers. She tells me she made a good decision.
Her peers? They seem to accept this. Their parents? They want to know if she's 'better yet'. Did you take her to the doctor? What did the doctor say? But she's all better now, right?
No. She's not 'better'. She's in a holding pattern. Right now, she's barely holding things together and all we can do is offer her a routine. And demand that she stick to it, no matter how hard she fights.
When do you think she'll be better, people ask.
Better, I tell them, is all in the point of view.
People tend to think that if you go to the doctor, and you pay out enough good money, then someone will do something and there will be a magical change. There isn't. The doctors can offer a diagnosis, which helps in itself, but not necessarily a cure. They can offer techniques. They can offer treatments. But they can't offer a cure.
She's better, right?
There are no words to explain how isolating it feels to have the only thing other parents can come up with to say be 'She's better, right?' Ask me who she chose to do a book report on. Ask me how many laps she walked in the walkathon. Ask me how I'm holding up, and tell me some miracle will occur and she'll be okay. Let me know that your kid doesn't think mine is all that weird. Or that you're trying to understand how to explain it to them. Keep an eye out, and offer to walk her to class if it seems she can't let me go. Call, let me know that she was okay when you volunteered at lunch. Or that she wasn't, and you did something to help. Or let's just talk about the weather for awhile.
Raising a child with anxiety hurts my heart in ways I didn't know could physically hurt. It turns life into a jigsaw puzzle of moments, pieces that I can put together to paint a picture of happiness, or paint a picture of tears. Or the real, convoluted picture that is our life. The one where we never know what will happen when we turn around, or blink our eyes. Where we jump when the phone rings, because although it's probably a telemarketer it might also be someone saying we need you, we don't know what to do. And the horror of answering that we don't either, but are on our way.