Two posts in one day, and a non-dog post…gasp!
So, I am a pretty private person. I generally only confide in a very small handful of people. I am very protective of my kiddo. But maybe someone will come across this, who can offer support or advice that helped them, or maybe it will somehow help someone, I don’t know…but anyway…
I am a single mom to an 8 year old boy. It’s been me and him, side by side. Though his dad and I have been exes now for 7 years, he is around and in his life. Jayden is a unique kid. He is smart, sarcastic, funny, and quirky. He has lots of friends, and loves pretty much everyone. He believes and trusts in God. He loves Elvis, and he’s crazy about wrestling.
He has some struggles though. He has always been clingy. I’ve always joked that the reason I had to have an emergency c-section, was because Jayden refused to leave the womb! He has extreme nerves, and anxieties. He has a lot of fears, including being afraid of storms, bad people, dying, heights, being away from me, being too tall (because he thinks it will kill you), being in any sort of pain (and those are just a FEW)…he’s 8. These have not come from things he’s seen on tv. The severity of his fears come and go. Sometimes his anxiety is much worse than other times. There are no certain triggers, other than thunderstorms.
Thunderstorms. Ugh. We live in Florida. If you know anything about Florida summers, you know that it storms a lot. When I say Jayden is afraid of storms, I don’t mean he just whines or cries a little and the day goes on. I mean he cries, panics, sobs. He refuses to leave the house/car. He thinks lightning is going to strike and kill us. He lets it control his day. For example, we were going to go see a movie recently, and he decided to miss out on it because it had thundered. He constantly, like several times every day , wants to check the weather app on my phone to see the radar map. I have to warn people (grandparents, teachers, etc) of this fear, so they can expect his panic attack that will come if he sees gray clouds.
He panics when he can’t see me. Even in our own home, he panics. I’ve tried multiple times, many ways, to help him understand that panicking is the worst thing to do. I’ve given him ways to try to help himself. For example, if he walks out of his room and doesn’t see me, and doesn’t hear me, he panics and cries. I’ve told him instead of panicking, look to see where the dogs are, since they’re always following me around; look for my phone and call Dad; go next door to our neighbor. But does he ever do any of those things? No. He panics.
The only time he is relaxed and confident, unafraid and focused, is when he is playing sports. His dad recently said at football practice, how he wished that Jayden would be like that all the time, having fun, learning, playing, not worrying about a million different things.
It was the same with horse riding. He was a different kid around horses. He wasn’t afraid, didn’t have nerves, wasn’t anxious. He loved being in the barn, grooming, and learning to ride. Unfortunately lessons had to stop because I couldn’t afford them anymore. I hate that, but what can I do.
People saying things to me like “he’ll get over it”, “he’ll grow out of it”, “it’s just a phase”, “can’t you just make him do <said activity>”…I literally want to
punch them in the throat tell them to take a hike. I need people in my life that will be understanding and supportive. Even if you don’t understand it yourself…hell, I don’t even understand it. There are ways to be supportive, and empathetic. This is something that we’ve been struggling with for years. I believe it is what caused his extreme shyness when he was younger. As he has grown, it has manifested into these fears. Sometimes he can go months without having fearful worries. Other times, he goes for weeks having these fears and worries every single day. We are currently in one of those times. Every day, he is worried about something, and has to talk about it over and over and over and over. He cannot let it go. Every single night, he says things like “I don’t want to die because it will hurt” and “I just don’t want to be on Earth because I know bad things can happen.” I’ve tried ignoring it, talking about it, yelling at him to let it go. I know that probably sounds horrible and mean, but sometimes I just can’t take it anymore. I feel helpless and it sucks.
I honestly fear that if anything ever happened to me, he would become one of those people that would never leave his home. And that breaks my heart. I want him to live and love life. I want him to see the good in the world. I don’t want him to live with fear in his heart. As a mother, you want to fix what is broken. You want to help your child. But this, I can’t just fix it. I get sad and frustrated, because I don’t know how to help him.
These fears, are not normal for an 8 year old. A kid who has had a good life, filled with love from two parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and many friends. It is frustrating for me. Beyond frustrating. This type of personality is completely the opposite of me. I generally see the positive in all situations. I’m not afraid of things. I believe in living life day by day, and not wasting life away by worrying about what will be.
So, he’s started counseling in school. Unfortunately there is not much help out there for children with anxiety, unless I just want to put him on meds, which is not the solution in my opinion, at least not until I’ve tried everything else in my power. Surprisingly, considering how shy he can be, he’s very open to counseling. He’s been looking forward to meeting with his guidance counselor, so I am hoping this will provide him with some relief, including ways to manage his anxiety. Please keep my bubs in your thoughts…prayers…send good vibes, wish on a star…whatever you believe in.
Tomorrow, I’ll go back to regularly scheduled dog-posts. 😉
Good night, friends.