My anxious child. Oh my darling, as I sit to type, my fingers shake slightly over the keys. I wasn’t planning to write this today, but I feel like I can’t move on with my day until I process what just happened and this is the only way that I know how.
You had an injection today. A booster. That’s all. A ten minute appointment. A double with your brother. The minute I told you yesterday, the familiar look flashed across your eyes and you started crying uncontrollably. You wouldn’t go, it would hurt, sobbing like your heart was breaking. So we talked, I talked you down from the panic and I thought you were ok. Until you refused to get out of the car.
Finally in the waiting room, you sat calmly, until we were called in, then you started crying again. And it just got worse and worse. Your panic was rising and you very quickly lost control. Backed into a corner, hyperventilating, pleading with the nurse not to do it. I tried every tactic, calming, offering cuddles, doing breathing, talking to you, firm, gentle, until eventually I had to just hold you still. At which point you kicked your poor brother, not on purpose but in your desperate terror, trying to escape. Who had been utterly fine, desperate to show me how he was being a ‘good boy’. The minute you kicked him, all that changed, and then he was wailing, begging, refusing to get it done, and I had to hold him down while he screamed. Because your panic is transferable. These melt downs that you have been having lately rub off on us all.
And then it was over, and you were fine, it didn’t hurt that much, you knew it really. I didn’t even have time to calm your brother and wipe his tears as we had overrun our appointment so much. We left a very shocked nurse, and walked into a waiting room full of eyes. All on us. A little boy waiting his turn looking terrified. Because they had heard it all.
I wish I knew how to help you. The calm that always comes after these storms was there so suddenly, as if a tornado has ripped through, and the sun has returned. But I still feel the effect of the tornado, I’m shaky and my insides feel sad. And I’m sure you do and your brother does too. I hate that I can’t give him as much of my attention as you demand it all when you are like this. He needed my cuddles too, he needs support, and I hate not being able to offer it as fully.
Things have been getting better but this makes me see that there is still so much under your surface that worries you. And I promise that I will help you to deal with it. I just don’t know how yet. When you are in that place, I can’t reach you, I don’t know how to get to you and bring you back, but I will do everything I can to learn. Please believe me that there is nothing worse for me then seeing you like that. But I know that if I give in and don’t make you go through with things, we would only have to come back, and the fear would grow even bigger. For both of us, because believe me, I’m not looking forward to your next doctor’s appointment! With the benefit of hindsight, I would have booked you separate appointments and brought Daddy along for moral support.
Despite this post of woe, please know that I am on your side and I will find out how to make these awful things easier for you to cope with.
I love you, my anxious child.
If this resonated, you can find more posts about our journey with anxiety and Postnatal/Postpartum depression here.