It was a beautiful day today. The sun was amazing and felt so welcome on my skin. The kids would have only needed sweatshirts to stay warm but because of the snow they were in full gear. The snow had turned into perfect packing snow and they made pieces of a snowman. I stood back and watched them, listened to them, and thought of how amazing the warmth was.
It has been quite the day. I am weary. The day started with a certain four year old climbing the shelf in a cabinet to get onto the counter. The shelf pin gave out, the shelf fell and various bottles of oils and vinegars scattered on the floor. One of the bottles opened, sesame oil, and a puddle spread beneath the rest of the items. Sesame oil doesn’t smell great so then I also had three kids who were angry with the awful smell in the kitchen.
It took most of my energy today to just survive, is what I am saying. A neighbor texted, her kids had a half day of school, and asked if we would be heading outside in the afternoon. I had finally had a shower so I quickly got the kids in their snow clothes so we could head out. We all desperately needed a break from the indoors.
Things were okay for a while while we were outside but when we came back in things got sketchy again. It was one thing after another after another. I couldn’t catch my breath before something else was happening. These are the hardest days for me. I can’t tolerate stress. It takes me a really long time to recover from even a minor stress so a day that was a total shit storm leaves me feeling irritable and barely able to function.
My oldest had a really hard time tonight. He is my son through and through. He has inherited my anxiety, my stress, my worry. He was struggling with Minecraft. He loves to play and the app wasn’t working on his tablet. He was getting really worked up and I tried to help fix the problem. There was nothing on the internet I could find that would help us with this problem and the people I asked about it couldn’t help either. I eventually told him I needed to take a break and see what else I could find when his brother wasn’t terrorizing the house. He didn’t love that answer but he watched videos about Minecraft instead.
It was only better for a little while. He ended up getting really pissed off, like red in the face pissed off. I tried to help him, again, but he was so angry and frustrated he couldn’t speak to me in a way that I could understand him. I ended up taking his tablet away from him, realizing he really just needed a break.
He had a full blown anxiety attack that ended up lasting a couple of hours. As I am typing this, he is still experiencing a ton of anxiety but my husband has taken over because I am wiped out. He was hyperventilating, sobbing, saying words that were so garbled there was no way to identify them. It has been a long time since he has had one that bad and my heart was breaking for him.
Once we got past the tablet and Minecraft thing, it went to something else entirely. It isn’t uncommon for him, in that state, to start worrying about death. Not dying, exactly, but the fact that we die. He will cry about me dying, his dad dying, himself dying, his grandparents dying. But something else happened tonight. He was crying about the Earth dying. He wanted to know why humans do bad things to the Earth. He was angry.
There wasn’t much I could say to him that would help. He had questions that I couldn’t really answer. We circled back to his anxiety and how anxiety served a very important purpose a long time ago for our survival. I taught him some grounding exercises. We breathed together. We talked about how feelings can sometimes be scary. We talked about how anxiety affects me and how I work through it. We also talked about the importance of sleep.
Anyway. This was pretty long and rambling. I don’t even know what I am talking about at this point of the day. It is Friday. It has been a long and difficult week. Everyone has gone to bed and now it is my time to recharge, reset, and listen to some music that has my heart full.
I hope that if you are struggling with anxiety, you know that you aren’t alone. I hope that if you have a child struggling with anxiety, you know that you aren’t alone in that, either. Having anxiety and having a child suffering from anxiety can be a lot to handle at times. Sometimes the anxiety of the child can trigger something in the adult. Sometimes it does for me, as an empath and a highly sensitive person. Sometimes it is hard for me to be present with him through that but other times, like tonight, it comes more easily.
They just need to know we are there. We love them. They are safe. They are being held. They are being heard. They are being validated. They are being accepted. They are being cared for.
I hope that he sleeps well tonight and tomorrow we can start the day on a fresh foot. And, like he said tonight, he can feel better about living.