I’m a worrier. I always have been. I worry about letting people down, I worry about getting in a car accident, and of course I worry about my children, a lot. These worries are there but they don’t prevent me from taking things on or driving my car or from encouraging my kids to try new things (for the most part). I am able to cope with my worries and function in my life. But what happens when those worries start to take over? When coping becomes a struggle and it keeps you from doing or trying new things.
This is what happens to both my children to varying degrees. Sometimes it’s simple apprehension about going into class in the morning. Other times it can be crying about the possibility of something bad happening, or picking anxiously at their fingers to the point that they bleed. Anxiety has many faces, sometimes you see it, and sometimes you don’t.
Anxiety is a constant presents in my home. Sometimes I forget it’s there and for a while it almost feels like my children are carefree and ready to face the world. Then something will happen. Sometimes it’s an event like a simple power outage or a conflict with a friend. Sometimes I have no idea what triggers it. But like a sea monster rearing its’ ugly head our entire family feels the shift as one or both of my children get dragged under into a period of fear, insecurity and uncertainty.
As a mother of children with anxiety I constantly struggle with knowing how much worry is okay and when it’s time to step in. I get that the world can be a harsh place and that we need to teach our kids to deal with those ups and downs, whatever they may be. But what happens when your child can’t cope? When is enough, enough? When does it become more harmful than helpful?
I certainly don’t have the answers and for us anxiety and coping levels are constantly in flux. There are times when it feels like all the work we are putting in is paying off and then other times when it feels like we are right back at square one.
As adults there’s often so much we don’t know about people. Many of our friends and family, co-workers, and neighbors only know a small portion of who we really are. I think the same can be true for those who struggle with anxiety. Due to social responsibilities and expectations, or misunderstanding and lack of support at home anxious children can often end up internalizing their worries. Hiding the struggle they're really facing.
Teachers may see a happy functioning student each day in the classroom. Meanwhile, the child is suffering on the inside, and what comes out once they return to an environment they feel is ’safe’? For my children that decompression at home can range from tears and anger to purge talking and hugs.
Each and everyday my children go to battle against anxiety. I do my best to help them feel loved and secure but it’s a battle they have to win on their own.
Thanks so much for sticking around to read today’s post. It’s quite a bit more serious than a lot of my posts but something that I’ve really wanted to write about. I just feel like there is still so much about anxiety that is misunderstood or not seen. If you have a child who struggles with anxiety they are definitely not alone and neither are you.