Squirrels could be a distant cousin from the ostrich. At least in my world. Okay probably not but it sounds good and I am going with it. They can both hide their heads from the world when they feel like it. Something people with spur of the moment anxiety cannot do. Even though we want to. And it’s better than biting someone right? I just don’t feel like trying to get all the dirt out of my hair. Selfish me, I know.
Anxiety disorder is no joke. And unless you deal with it or truly love someone who does, you don’t know how debilitating it can be. Anxiety comes in so many forms. It can also be part of other mood disorders. Depression, OCD, ADHD, ADD just to name a few. That doesn’t mean it presents in all of them, but there is a good chance that it does. No I am not a doctor of psychology. But I am a person who not only deals with my own anxiety issues, but both of my boys have characteristics. Unfortunately, they probably came by it honestly. The best thing I can do as a parent is recognize and help steer them through an episode. And the best way I can do that is to be aware of the way I react during one.
Sometimes, I am calm on the outside and falling apart on the inside. My heart feels like it is going to implode right inside of me. My chest seems so tight I can’t take a deep a breath. My brain is trying to compute only a few things, but it feels like a million and it goes into overload. When it is REALLY bad, the attack comes out in public view. One of my triggers is last minute changes in plans and/or routines. I don’t do well with them at all. AT ALL. I have gotten a little better, but it is a huge challenge. Nights like last night I fail completely. I am weighted down with a blanket of being unsure last minute and I lose my mind. I am crying, can’t breathe, probably yelling. Not particularly because anyone has done something wrong, but I can’t deal with what is happening at that moment. I can’t process it as quickly as it is happening.
Let me explain something most people don’t understand about anxiety. Those of us who deal with it, KNOW that we are being irrational sometimes. In the midst of our moment, there really is a part of our brain that is asking, “Why are you getting so upset?” or “It’s not that big of deal.” and we are desperately trying to listen to that voice and use it to help calm our out of control selves down. It’s not intentional. It’s not for show. It is NOT for attention. It is a moment where we have no control and that is our weakness. It is not about being bossy or being in charge. It’s not being able to know what it happening next. And it sucks. It sucks big fat white chicken eggs.
The most important thing you need to know if you are in our lives is that IT IS REAL! Want to help us? Stop telling us it’s no big deal. Stop telling us to get over it, that there’s no reason to act this way, that we are being ridiculous, that we are crazy, etc. Stop labeling us. We are not any of those things! We are unique, and feel deeply. We will love you so deeply is usually to a fault. And we are usually shaped this way because of man’s traumatic circumstances. Those with other disorders who deal with anxiety as a side effect feel the same way. If God can love us, than you should too. If you can’t, while it may hurt us, just leave us alone. It’s not predictable. If we tell you what our triggers are, or we tell you what triggers our child, please just listen.
You don’t have to understand. We just need that unconditional love. Truly God is the only one who can provide that. Yet you have the ability to meet us in a very rewarding place.