Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘bus stop’

Trying and Tiring Anxiety

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.

 

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Today Is the Day

Today is the day we  I have been dreading worrying about anticipating for so long. We’ve been preparing for this day for over a year; occupational therapy/sensory integration therapy, speech/language therapy and pragmatics,  ABA, fine motor skills, self-calming techniques and coping skills, social skills, countless social stories and most recently several trips to his new school along with a practice bus ride. So many brilliant, wonderful teachers and therapists have played such an important role in our lives!!! We could not have done it without them!  All for Henry’s first day of mainstream (full day!) Kindergarten … and beyond.

It’s been a few hours since he climbed right up on that bus. No fuss, no muss. Surprisingly, I haven’t yet shed a tear. A wonderful friend stopped by with some beautiful flowers. We chatted about our boys’ new experiences over coffee. I am feeling slightly less anxious. I will be busy today which I hope will be helpful .

I am remembering the conversation I had last night with my little dude at bedtime. We talked a bit about what his day will be like.  He was anxious I could tell.

“Are you nervous about tomorrow, Hen? It’s okay to be nervous.”

“I’m a little scared about it, Mom.”

“Can you tell me what you are scared about?”

“I don’t like people looking at me. I don’t like them to know my name.”

We talked about things he could do to be a little less scared. We talked about his classroom and his new teacher. I reminded him that sharing his name with others helps to make friends and that the more he does it the easier it will be and the less scared he will be. He seemed doubtful so I asked, “Well, what do you think would make it less scary for you?”

“Well, I could change my name.” He tells me, laughing!

“Change your name? What would you change it too?

“I don’t know…how about Komondo?” he says with a new burst of giggles.

This prompts his sister to chime in from across the room,”How do you spell that, Henry?”

The next few minutes are spent sounding out the new name and picking letters that work to spell it out. He’s done with our “serious” conversation.

It’s time for them to settle down and get some sleep so I try one last ditch effort to assure myself him that everything will be okay.

“Hey, Henry, it’s time for sleep. Big day tomorrow and it’s really going to be awesome, you know!”

He got serious and looked right at me with his eyebrows raised, “Mom, it is not going to be awesome.” I couldn’t really argue with that…

“But you know what?” I prompted. “It may not be exactly awesome, Henry, but it will be OKAY. And each day will get easier. And soon it will be awesome.”

For some reason he did seem to really take this in and accept it. At least in that moment.

“Okay, Mom.” We said our good-nights and both my littlest ones settled in for sleep.

Everyone slept through the night! We kept this morning as routine as possible and just added in waiting-for-the-bus and getting-on-the -bus as if it were nothing too out of the ordinary.

Now I guess I will go on about my day. I have much work to do and still one more chameleon to get to school this afternoon. Then I am off to do a short talk at TouchPoint Autism Services.  It will go by fast. The morning has already flown by! (Thank you Tracy!!!) 

And soon enough Komondo will be home again! His first day of Kindergarten completed!

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