Let’s be honest I have zero clue what I’m doing or why I’ve had the overwhelming urge to write like a mad person lately. The reality is if I was to post what’s on my mind on Facebook I’d reach the maximum characters and still not be done. (Are there maximum characters on Facebook? I don’t really have a clue.) I’ve been feeling the overwhelming need to write more and more lately and yesterday on my way home…. yesterday I knew I had to share something. After all I was on the way home from taking my 7 year old to a psychologist and as I wondered how I let him suffer for nearly all of his tiny life and didn’t get him help sooner I realized the answer….. who takes their first grader to a psychologist? People who were divorced- his father and are are married- people whose children had lost a loved one- nope not us- people who’s children had some kind of trama right? Nope still not us. We live pretty much the American dream. My husband and I both run businesses and can work from home and can bring our kids anywhere. I teach a few days a week because it fills my heart, but I’m home everyday. I take my kids to after school activities that they love and to church on Sunday. We go on vacation and fun day trips, and spend tons of quality time together. I’m at every field trip and the occasional school lunch. I lay down with him every night and we talk and say his prayers. Yet there I sit with my son and the diagnosis and continual appointment to begin to cope with my seven year old’s anxiety disorder.
I can honestly tell you in this moment after weeks of all of the warning signs in his life going over and over through my head that he was pretty much born with anxiety. What two year old says “mom is this safe?” before putting a pillow on a chair and having a seat on it? What 18 month old pretends to be asleep every single time you walk him though a store or into church because guess what— PEOPLE DON’T TALK TO A SLEEPING BABY!!! I could go on and on and tell you about the trips to the beach where he could not only not go in the ocean- he couldn’t even look at it without shaking and crying in fear. I could tell you how long he played in a bucket of water instead of the pool and that he still won’t attempt to swim without a life jacket. I could give you a hundred reasons why I should have done something sooner, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I believed he was too young for these problems. I thought it was his personality and that he would grow out of it. I thought putting him in multiple activities would help him get used to being around people. After all I have four other children and I’m the same mom, and they don’t have any of these traits. I believed my child, my seven year old, couldn’t be battling a mental illness, and I believed a LIE.
As I watched him stand with his head against the wall during a fun day at his school my heart sank. He looked forward to this end of the year party for weeks and was so excited. He stood frozen, unable to smile, unable to play with his friends. He cried and said his head hurt, and eventually that he wanted to leave. After nearly an hour of hoping it would pass and realizing it wouldn’t we left. I took him to lunch at his favorite restaurant and then when I asked him what he was feeling, and why he wasn’t playing with his friends he said the words I will never forget- “Mom all the noise goes in my ears and makes my head hurt, and then it goes down my throat and makes it so I can’t breathe.” My heart sank and I think I cried the whole way home. He gave a description I couldn’t ignore. I immediately went home and called our insurance company while I asked them to point me in the right direction and they did. I know he’s going to be ok. We are going to work on some coping skills, but we should have done this a long time ago. The signs were there and flashing in my face.
I opened facebook today to see a famous designer has died of an apparent suicide. It’s heartbreaking and sad and people will say you should talk about mental illness, but then they don’t. Until today right now in the blog that no one may ever read I can count on one hand the people I told what was going on. No matter the age if someone is struggling seek help. They may just be to young or to proud into words what they are feeling.