How My Anxiety Has Helped Me Parent My Anxious Exceptional Child

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I have anxiety. I don’t have enough to meet the official criteria for a Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis, but I have lots of it. The overwhelming feelings I’ve had inside me that I first became aware of in my teen years, is anxiety. Over the years I’ve run from it, I’ve given in to it, I’ve hated it, I’ve learned to channel it into some of my best poetry and writing. I’ve also struggled with loving myself with it, and dare I say it, loving it. Yes, I love my anxiety. This doesn’t mean I’m happy I have it. It means that I embrace it as a part of me, and I am gentle with my body and mind when I experience a hard day because of it.

Yesterday was a bad day with my anxiety. This tends to happen around this time of the month due to my menstrual cycle. As I get older, PMS gets worse. It is also due to the increased stress of having less control of my time with Michael home. Don’t get me wrong. We structure everything, but I am someone that has always needed my space big time. Adjusting to motherhood and caring for a baby was both incredibly easy and difficult. I resonated on such a deep level with Michael’s need that I was absorbed into that at first. Not good. As time went on though, I also felt a little claustrophobic and overwhelmed desiring personal space. Those stories of Moms that didn’t mind waking up at night to feed their baby and watch them sleep peacefully. Not me. I would do my duty, and then feel so relieved when he finally went back to sleep. Michael woke up “on” between 5:30-6:00 am so I had my wonderful share of mother/baby bonding all day. I treasured naps. Both the short ones he took at first, followed by eventual longer ones. And as I came to terms with parenting Michael as a special needs child, I gradually learned to make peace with my own challenges-my perfectionism, my self-esteem issues, and my anxiety. It’s because of Michael I finally went to therapy to heal myself. I needed it for a long time. I needed to forgive myself and learn how to parent myself with love so that I could parent him better too.

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A beautiful thing happened after I did therapy and in the years since. I’ve learned to resonate on a deeper level with Michael due to us both having anxiety. My anxiety has been getting easier to manage. I have my trusty tools to regulate my emotions- meditation, yoga, exercise, writing, and time alone as well as with family and friends. When I hear Michael expressing his fears, which now at ten are worse than even mine were as a an adult, I can commiserate. A friend once told me in a way it’s good I have a similar profile in this way to Michael. I get him like no one else does because I worry a lot too. Pretty much our whole family are worriers, so we all can sympathize with Michael. The thing is though, that when the primary caretaker gets it, it makes things easier for the child. This doesn’t mean things are always easy though. On days like yesterday, when my anxiety is high and Michael’s is, staying calm, positive and in the moment is so hard. By the end of the day, my energy is gone. I could not do my usual evening of work, turning in early to rest up for another day today. Still, I am gentle with myself. After dinner, I went outside and did an evening mediation which helped calm my mind and spirit, for the second leg of the day, bedtime.

Exceptional Parents, do you have anxiety? Are you at your wits’ end coping with your own anxiety and your child’s? First of all, give yourself a gentle hug. It’s not easy. Secondly, remember once you find tools that work for you, whatever those are, you will be that much more able to help your child find tools that work for them. Get help for yourself while you are getting help for your child. Reach out. You will see as you grow in helping yourself, you will get an inside view of how much more intense it must be for your child. This will equip you with the best tools to help them learn to regulate their emotions better. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

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2 thoughts on “How My Anxiety Has Helped Me Parent My Anxious Exceptional Child

  1. I frequently have anxiety about my son’s future. When I start to think about “what if I am not here…” scenarios I literally have to train my mind to STOP and focus on the now. Look at whats happening now and have faith that whatever happens in the future will be ok. Its so hard. Just typing this is giving me fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so normal when a person suffers from anxiety. I think you are doing great. Take it one hour, one moment at a time. It’s ok that it fills you with fear writing what you are writing. Fear is a normal reaction to have, and the important way of learning to regulate ourselves is first recognizing ours and our children’s fears and having compassion for ourselves. You are strong and you are not alone. Your son is lucky to have you.

      Liked by 1 person

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