That’s quite a title, isn’t it? The gift of anxiety. As I thought over the last few days how increasingly anxious and stressful Michael is becoming (and Dad and I along with him), I thought of all the hard things we are all experiencing. Who likes feeling nervous, fighting, crying, and being tense inside? As a parent, having a child who is so anxious is heartbreaking at all times. You can’t do much to alleviate their pain, and end up watching them trying to cope. We are offering Michael new tools to help him handle it. Some work, some don’t. We let him fine tune and find what works for him. Sometimes Dad and I are very understanding and sympathetic. Other times, well, let’s just say we are also anxious people and human. We have our breaking point and sometimes don’t respond in the way we want. We feel sorry for oursleves and each other in these moments, though we know deep down that what Michael is dealing with is so much stronger.
It was during one of my stronger moments when talking to a friend the other day that I realized the gift that Michael’s anxiety has brought to our family. The gift you say? That’s crazy! But no, the gift is that Michael has helped his Dad and I learn to simplify life, to see things concretely and to break down big events into small steps that we can cope with. After all, this is what we are showing him to do. Doesn’t it make sense that in breaking this down for him we learn to do it for ourselves? When we are not in the “woe is us” mood, and as exceptional parents that does happen from time to time, we are able to say that when we break things down they get easier for Michael and us. Sometimes just staying with him to talk helps or when he needs a good cry. I’ve felt like that too in the past. I’m sure most people have. We are coming up on a new chapter soon in our lives with Michael. It is scary and there will be changes for sure, but I am promising myself to break down the steps for me and Dad as I do for Michael. I am promising myself that I will look at how Michael has opened up our eyes to what lies beyond the anxiety-powerlessness, lack of control, self-esteem, and work on those issues with Michael as I have done with myself. It is sometimes hard to see the blessings in your life when the challenges are stronger, but they are always there. I believe that when we think we can’t do something, that is when the Universe presents us with an opportunity to do it and become stronger.
Exceptional Parents, where is the gift in your child’s so called disorder or condition? It is there in all our kids, and usually we will see it in the most challenging times-how our kids force us to grow stronger, calmer, more together, and become the people we are meant to be. They are helping us here as much as we are helping them, and together we can all see the gift in every situation. Until next time.