Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Writer's Workshop - The Anxiety Apple

Describe a moment when you felt afraid.
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I wish I had one ultimate moment to describe to you. However, if you knew me in real life, you would know that the general consensus is that I am a big chicken (yes, by consensus, I mean you mom and dad). I like to think of myself as sensitive, but I can understand where I get the "rap" from.

About 9 years years ago I was diagnosed with GAD. It's a vague diagnosis that basically means you are afraid of a lot of crap, a lot of the time. Here are just some of the things in my "fun-bag" of scurred:
  • Being alone in the dark (Haven't stayed alone without another adult in the house in YEARS. It makes my husband's business trips just that much more interesting)
  • Being late to meetings or activities (especially movies)
  • Not being prepared (Hello, did I mention I make TO DO lists in my sleep? Sometimes 2-3 times per night)
  • Being attacked (I have a great thing about parking lots)

And when I say "scurred," I don't just mean a little nervous. I mean the sweating, rapid breathing, stomach tightening, insomnia and the ridiculous (but infrequent) panic attack. As an added bonus, I not only experience these symptoms when I am actually in the above situations, but even thinking about them sets me off. It's gotten better over the years with a little cognitive therapy, exercise/yoga, and by being married to the calmest person in America. It's gotten better, it really has.

It's one things for me to be all anxious, it's quite another when you see your personality affecting your child. Up until now Noah's been in the normal zone of fears. He was afraid of the vacuum and the hairdryer for a while. I took other's advice and just kept on doing both with some added comforting and Noah got over it. Now he actually plays with the hairdyer. Remember that picture of him "styling" his Panda? :)

Lately, my sweet baby has been waking up with nightmares (about once a week) and calling for me. Weird things like garden statues, certain stuffed animals or parts of kid videos will scare him and he will think about it all day. You even mention the word "statue" and the kid starts to tear up. I am not sure if this is Noah simply becoming more aware of the world around him or if he is really suffering from anxiety.

Now, it doesn't take a genius to know that your child learns some of their behaviors from watching you. You act freaked when kiddo takes a spill, they cry even harder. You acted scared of something and its going to make them wary too. For this reason, I try to keep my anxiety on the DL. I don't want Noah learning my bad habits. However, there is only so much I can do when it comes to genetics. Will my baby be doomed to suffer from anxiety simply because it runs in his family?

So I guess if I am afraid of just ONE thing, its that I will pass my anxiety onto my sweet son. It pains me to think I might be the cause of any of his fears or take away any of his innocent view of the world. Only time will tell.

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This post was brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

14 comments:

Candice said...

I think that it definitely possible to pass our behavior on to our children. The good thing is that you are aware of your anxiety and what triggers it, and you do make an effort to shield your child from it.

I will say that your little one sounds like most kids when they are freaked out about something. Taylor used to be scared of loud noises. Toilets flushing, movie theaters, etc. She finally grew out of it. It wasn't something that dominated her thoughts during the day, all day, but we had to work through it regardless.

If you find your little one struggling with the things that frighten him to the point that it's interfering with his quality of life, then you can always speak with his ped about it to see what else you could do so that he doesn't end up needing Vailum by the time he's 10.

My kids don't have much anxiety, but they are very sarcastic. I have no idea where they get that from. ;)

Candice said...

Wow.. have some spell check for goodness sake!

Inspired By Belle said...

OMG! Rachel!!!! We are twins...thats that. I'm so happy I am not along..perhaps check out my writers workshop about fears...

Inspired By Belle said...

alone, not along...long day, my hands do not want to type properly.

Summer said...

Oh girl. I have the same fears for sure. I was hesitant to even have kids because I didn't want to pass any of my issues on.

But, even if they end up with it, we can teach them that they are still totally awesome and just help them to learn the tools to overcome it.

I was never taught that, so I think it makes life harder. =)

Miss you!

Erin, Nick and Merrick said...

I am anxiety ridden as well and have also gone to therapy for it.
I have never thought about these fears and Merrick-
I will def. be more aware of what he sees me doing/sees me reacting to things.

Jen said...

I fear this too. I don't want my fears to go to my kids but fear is such a hard thing to tackle.

Miss Angie said...

Found you through Mama Kat's workshop...

I can definitely see why this would be a big fear. You never want to see your children go through what you have to go through, and so you try to protect them.

A lot of stuff comes down to genetics. I have a friend who's father was never around when he was a kid, they didn't reconnect until he was an adult. Now he'll use himself as an example of genetics, because he has so many of his fathers mannerisms, and they were things he couldn't have picked up by observing, as there was nobody to observe...

It's interesting. Hope everything turns out ok!

Sera said...

I give a lot of credit to people who deal with anxiety, so I really appreciated reading your post. I never had any problem with anxiety/panic until my baby was born. I had a panic attack 4 days postpartum that was terrifying. I nailed down what it was that triggered it, and now I'm a lot more aware, but I can't even imagine what it must be like to deal with that all the time. I think it's great that you are so in tune to it, though.

Sera said...

I give a lot of credit to people who deal with anxiety, so I really appreciated reading your post. I never had any problem with anxiety/panic until my baby was born. I had a panic attack 4 days postpartum that was terrifying. I nailed down what it was that triggered it, and now I'm a lot more aware, but I can't even imagine what it must be like to deal with that all the time. I think it's great that you are so in tune to it, though.

Jeanne said...

I've only had 2 or 3 panic attacks in my life, but they were horrible, brought no my over the top stress. Sounds like you've made great progress!

Emi said...

Rach - you are a FANTASTIC mother! My nephews both went through a phase of being anxious around costume characters...etc. I think it's part of growing pains, and just being more aware of all that is around him. Noah is one of the happiest kiddos I know.
Besides, if we weren't all just a little nuts, and didn't impart a lil bit o'crazy into our kiddos - what fun would the world be?

Ali said...

Reading all these comments is reassuring! Thanks for being my anxiety confidant!

Megan said...

This is interesting. I guess when you don't deal with things like this to the extreme you don't really think about others dealing with it.

My anxieties revolve around my husband and my nephews. If hubby is out late or something my mind automatically goes to worst case scenario. It sucks! And my youngest nephew, because he's had so many issues, when I'm watching the boys my mind automatically wants to think there is something wrong if I don't hear him stirring/moving while sleeping. Anxiety sucks!