How to Help Your Exceptional Child Handle Obsessions and Extreme Stress

I felt as if I was falling into a dark abyss and could not feel the ground below me. I had had this same feeling before. It was when Michael was diagnosed with Autism, then Type 1 Diabetes and then shock that he did have enough ADHD symptoms to probably have that too.  I had received news from Michael’s psychiatrist about her concerns regarding his obsessions and anxieties lately, and that his aggression could stem from that.  She was asking me to ask him further questions to determine how serious his phobias could be. I knew what that meant. She wanted to rule out a more serious mental health condition. I have been seeing how Michael has been becoming increasingly anxious and agitated lately about so many things. I suspect he probably has OCD and an anxiety disorder, but all I had to do was read up about obsessions, compulsions and come across the word psychosis and my eyes swam with tears. I had many little crying breaks that day. We were not even sure he had anything yet, but the mere possibility that my sweet, intelligent, funny child could be suffering from a more serious mental illness was enough to unhinge me. What else did this poor child have to struggle with? I consider him perfect the way he is. His brain is different and his body regulates differently, but he has so many talents, skills and abilities that I want him to be able to use. People have seen the gift that he is. But watching him suffer and stress over so much lately, has made me realize how hard life has been for him.

In lieu of this potential news, I did what every Exceptional Parent does out there-I read up on obsessions, compulsions, and psychosis. Whether my kid has this or not, doggone it, I’m going to know everything about this beast in case I need to help him tame it if he does, right alongside his doctors and other members of his team. It was a very very difficult week and weekend, and the last few days have been hard too. Tweaking the medication  that was working however, made a HUGE difference today. Michael was calm, reasonable, and even when he got super anxious and had some aggression, he would quickly apologize, regroup and was able to give me more of a clue as to what is going on in his head.

I took the opportunity to share with Michael details about my own burnout when he was younger. I went to therapy and made changes in my life about how I approached stress, inner and outer. I also admitted to myself that I had to stop seeking to be perfect and be real instead. Being real means admitting when life is getting to me, when I need a break and asking for that break and time alone. I reminded Michael he had a great team in back of him, starting with himself, his parents, his therapists both inside and outside of school, and God at the helm of it all. I truly believe everyone that has come into our lives was directed to us divinely. In my moments of fear and worry about the present and future, I remember that what is in my hands I need to stay calm to handle. What is out of my hands, is in God’s and I need to trust in that. I prayed for strength to be the calm that Michael needs whether he gets another serious diagnosis eventually or not. I also prayed for patience with him, Dad and myself. And I prayed for the right people to help guide me to help Michael manage all his anxiety in a healthier more positive way.

Exceptional Parents, how easy or hard is it for you to wait on a diagnosis about your child? I’m sure it is challenging for all of you. The important thing to remember is keep an open mind about any strategies, medication wise or therapy-wise, that could help your child, and to remember that they may be more scared than you. It’s your job to stay calm and help them focus to be the best they can be. After that, you and your family can help support your child to find ways to regulate and be happy. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website,

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