I’m trying to be understanding. Compassionate. Really, I am. But son of a bitch! Henry’s anxiety seems so irrational, ridiculous even, these past several months! I feel horribly guilty about this. More often than not, I am so.tired.of.it! I lose my patience. A lot. I get anxiety about his anxiety. Just STOP it already!!!
Ok, bug phobia, sure. I get it. We’re working on it. Five years of working on it but still, fine. Whatever. Waking up at night with panic attacks is a little bit trying. Sometimes more than a little bit; Henry waking up out of a dead sleep (because we do check on him and KNOW he is, in fact, sleeping!) saying he can’t sleep and crying and whining and screeching, unable to tell us WHY or WHAT is causing him such distress. We try to calm him down. He tries to calm himself down. We remind him of relaxation exercises he can do. He has a few YouTube videos that he can go to as well. We’ve been to a psychologist to help us through this. It was getting better. Now it’s not better. Almost-every-night not better. He NEEDS to wear one of his dad’s hats to bed. He MUST have one of my pillows or stuffed animals to sleep with. (Yes, I have a stuffed rainbow chameleon. Don’t judge.) We allow him these things, of course. It does help. Sometimes. After what feels like hours of trying to talk him off a ledge.
The “newest” anxiety revolves around waiting for the bus. For all of his school bus riding life, Henry has always had trouble dealing with the waiting for the bus, the worrying about missing the bus or the bus being late. We’ve had complete meltdowns in our driveway over this. Did I mention the bus stop IS our driveway? This school year he seems to be adding another layer to his worry. This year he not only wants to go outside and wait for the bus 15-20 minutes earlier than he needs to be, but he doesn’t want to go out and wait alone. On our porch. With the front door open where Lucy sits on the couch and they can see each other. He wants one of us out there with him. Why? Because he’s afraid of flying bugs and now BIRDS. But, you know, he can’t wait inside because he doesn’t want to miss the bus!!!! Good gods, please give me strength!
This morning, as I finally aquiesced to sitting in the front room with the door open so we could see each other. (Since Lucy had an early morning activity and was already at school) I listened to him and watched him for 10 minutes, talking out loud to himself and pacing, pacing, pacing. Repeating over and over, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.” All the while walking back and forth on the porch ducking from and swatting at invisible bugs and birds. Now, lest you think I’m so cruel as to sit inside and watch my son suffer through this, please know that he will STILL exhibit these behaviors whether or not Lucy or I are outside with him. This morning I just could not bring myself to sit out there. Sitting inside I can still watch him but look away, distract myself from his physical actions and verbalization. Sitting outside with him, his anxiety just gets on my last nerve. I’m not a morning person and I’ve barely had one cup of coffee before it’s time for the bus. And his anxiety gives me anxiety. Like there is a weight on my chest that I just can’t get rid of.
Perhaps it’s time to go back to the psychologist. I kind of dread that. It’s out-of-pocket until our deductible is met. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I mean, I should put a price on my son’s mental health? Still, it’s something we need to consider. More than the money, of course, I am most worried about anxiety meds being suggested. Again. I was really hoping we could get through this with some behavioral techniques and learned coping skills. Meds can be such a slippery slope…though, maybe he needs that. I don’t want him to suffer but I know sometimes adding medicines can add to problems with side effects, etc.
Ultimately we will do whatever we need to do to help Henry. To help him be the best that he can be. But this morning, well, this morning was downright painful and annoying and I just couldn’t deal. I’m trying so hard. Every day I want to help him so badly and I wish more than anything he didn’t have these anxious feelings. Some days though, I’m just tired of it.