How many of us have suffered from anxiety or have just simply been nervous to do something? Currently, with anxiety and mental health disorders on the rise, this is more of a common occurrence than not. I often wonder is it because we have more knowledge and media hype as to why this is happening more frequently or because life is just plain old difficult sometimes. Regardless of the reason for the rise, bringing light to this is so important.
In my early twenties, I suffered from anxiety. The debilitating kind that prevented me from going outside and even getting to work and school placement. Immediately, the doctors put me on medication. To be honest, I am not sure what was worse. The meds put me in a zombie state, I could not drive or function. I was on them for one day and went off them, never to return to them. Instead, I opted for 5 years of therapy and that worked. Life moved on and it appeared that anxiety was in my past. Oh, silly, optimistic me!! Yes, in my 49th year it returned with a full onstage performance. Lights, camera, action! This was surprising to me, but why should it be, as my favorite saying is “never say never!”
I can contribute this now to the many joys of menopause. I am fortunate enough to have some life experience and so I returned to using meditation, prayer, listening to positive self-help CDs and my version of what everyone is calling “mindfulness”. I am grateful that I have been able to work through this as I know it is much harder for many people.
My daughter has also suffered from severe anxiety and continues to, my bruised arms have taken the brunt of her anxiety but that is okay. We all need an outlet or strategy. The bruises just remind me that I am alive and my body is doing exactly what it should be doing. For her medication and behavior therapy has been the trick. It still comes back once and awhile, but not in full swing.
Treva recently had a talent show performance. It was all her idea to do it. She was singing a song with backup singers. This is the child who was never supposed to talk!! She is a daily inspiration to me to work through our fears. The evening of the performance, she was crying, she bit me and wanted to quit. Knowing she was a child who suffered from anxiety, I knew this reaction was a possibly as she had already said she was nervous and excited. My response to her verbally was, “you will be okay, your friends are relying on you, their families are here watching them dance and you need to do this, otherwise, you are letting them down.” Yes, my tough love hat came out. Guess what? She did it!!! She had a huge breakdown after and we left immediately, but she did it.
I have no regrets being a little tougher on her. I also think we need to stop coddling our children, regardless of what they are diagnosed with. I know every child and diagnoses is different and I respect that. What works for my child doesn’t work for others. However, our children will never work through their fears and build any form of resiliency if we don’t try to push them even just a little bit. I am speaking about all children as well, including those with no diagnoses. I truly love life but let’s face it, it’s tough! As Dr. Phil has said, “the best thing we can do is teach our kids resiliency.” So, I ask you “how are you doing this?”
P.S. Treva said to my husband before her performance, “I am nervous but I am going to throw my nerves in the garbage.” Maybe it is just that simple!