Yes, it’s a dramatic title, because it makes you think of that ridiculous PSA about drugs and the fried egg sizzling in the pan, because everyone knows that drugs will sizzle your brain, right?! (Well, some actually will, my issue was/is more with the message of abstinence. Totally for another post.) Comparison being however, that when my son is anxious, his brain gets totally sizzled. He practically forgets where he is and who he is if he is feeling extreme anxiety. It is so unnerving to witness, and initially infuriating until I’ve figured out that’s what’s going on!! That’s why I talk about this stuff, so maybe it will help you the next time your child claims to have forgotten left from right and you’re pulling your hair out and ready to blow a gasket! There are times when blowing a gasket is important however, and the other day, was one of those times. There were sports tryouts at school, and my kid was eager to have a go, but needed new sneakers. I ended up having to get him a pair during the day with the plan in place to meet him before the tryouts to deliver the shoes. This was where I first noticed the anxiety. My son was not sending me clear text messages as to where he was and where I was to meet him. At one point, he actually texted that he didn’t know how to get from one place in his school to the front door of the school. He’s been going to this school for TWO YEARS!!!! That’s when it became clear he was totally freaked out about the tryouts and his brain was overcome with the anxiety and therefore not functioning at full speed. Recognizing this, helped me release the pressure that had been building inside me with all the confusion, and then when I finally saw him, I was able to help him see how the anxiety was affecting him. We moved quickly getting the new shoes on and even taping his suspected broken toe, and all seemed well and good. Here’s where the blown gasket comes in to play. My boy started to panic that he was late and the tryouts must have already begun and that he wasn’t going to be able to participate because we took too long. The tears were flowing, the jittery hands were going, and the sabotage was coming. This is not a moment when using the calm, nurturing technique will work, at least not for my boy. This is the moment your inner Bobby Knight is needed (or whatever hard-ass coach you choose, minus flying chairs), and you just have to psyche them up in whatever way you can. I gritted my teeth, and lowered my voice, and basically growled at my son that he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and that he would regret it if he walked away and that he was going to get out there and do the best darn job he could because it mattered to him. And of course, I softly told him I would wait on the other side of the fence and watch and cheer him on. (I’m not a total jerk!) He did it, and he enjoyed himself, and whether he makes the team or not isn’t important anymore. My sweet, sensitive, anxiety-ridden boy, even apologized to me for “losing it”. Anxiety can take many forms, but it doesn’t have to take over!!!
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