Today is yet another day I have been dreading.
Separation anxiety can be a nightmare at the best of times. Knowing, like most anxiety, that I'm being completely irrational doesn't really ease the nerves when faced with an uncomfortable situation. When it comes to my son, I tell myself frequently that I WILL NOT allow my situation to affect him. Of course, in many ways it does, given that there is places I cant take him. But I remain positive that one day I will join him, and in the mean time he can experience the big wide world with other family members.
So that's all fine in theory. But the minute I get a call from someone asking if he's free I am filled with dread. I wont deny him his day away, but I dread how I'll mentally/physically react to it.
When family want to take him away there's a certain degree of flexibility. I tell myself that should I panic, I will never give in and call them to ask him to be brought home. But in the back of my mind I have the comfort that should I NEED to do that, I can. So far that has never happened.
However, when its something else, for example, a hospital appointment or important meeting, then my control is taken away. Again with the CONTROL.
So today is an appointment that we have been waiting on for months! About a year ago I was told that Nathan should be tested for Autism, and at the time I readily agreed that he needed the test. His behaviour was quite strange at times and he was definitely ticking some of the boxes. Since then I am less convinced that Nathan has autism but it is an important assessment that needs to be done. At least I will be closer to knowing for sure. For Nathan to miss this appointment would mean I would be up against my own horrendous guilt. Prolonged anxiety which I will have created by not letting him go, leading me to then worry that I was going to start doing this for every appointment. The appointment would be moved back so therefor I would still need to go through the whole process eventually, why delay it? I would have health visitors, Doctors etc judging me and perhaps even quite concerned by my behaviour and most importantly, I would be doing my son a huge disservice.
And so with the appointment approaching I put on my determined head and promised myself, that even if I couldn't attend it with him, due to distance, then I would go through every panic attack that hit me and endure each wave of fear. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
We are told repeatedly that the more we challenge these thoughts and behaviours, the less our anxiety will succeed. Our body's and minds will become used to the challenges and we will experience lesser and lesser reactions in difficult times. Sounds great in theory but I am constantly challenging this particular fear and the horrendous battle that takes places doesn't feel to be decreasing THAT much.
For someone who doesn't experience separation anxiety then just compare this to whatever your challenge may be. This is the same reaction I would have when trying to push my physical boundaries, however, even in that situation I feel I would have more control as id simply turn the car around and head back to my little safe bubble.
But where is the escape for me today? I cant stop my son going to his appointment, and so here I am ready to ride it out. And right now, as I write, I am riding those familiar waves.
I was actually less nervous as the appointment approached. Less nervous than I would usually be, a good sign! I had my new medication on hand should I need it, as I did last time. And the usual coping techniques that I have use time and time again.
Plan Of Attack!!
Keep busy on the morning of the appointment. Don't allow myself to sit about an over think.
Hand Nathan over and get my head distracted by something else.
If the anxiety is getting too much, step the distraction up a gear. Do some big job in the house that i have been avoiding (Wallpapering anyone?)
If the anxiety is still not passing, call someone to come sit with me.
If the anxiety is STILL not passing do star jumps lol ... honestly! (burn the adrenalin)
Take a beta blocker
So.... here I am. And what Have I done? I've handed him over and BEFORE he'd even left, I took a beta blocker. Why bother experiencing the peak of my symptoms when I have this to cushion the blow? But what if it doesn't work? When half an hour had passed I assumed it must be working and I definitely did feel somewhat more comfortable, but the panic was still looming. With Nathan gone I decided to clear out the loft/attic. Manual labour, plus loud music on headphones could work. And yeh I guess it did for a little but my loft is pretty tidy already. Heart rate growing again.. Hot humid day so I'm also sweating. Since I have challenged my thoughts before and now know I will not pass out, I will not stop breathing... my head decided to play a new fun game! Lets make up NEW horrible possibilities. My legs feel weak so perhaps I'm going to lose the use of my legs? Such fun!
So my brain is going 200mph, I am now hot and sweaty, and since I took my beta blocker I should have quite an even heart rate, but instead its going like the clappers cause im running around the house like a nut case trying to find things to do! Its actually a pretty funny image. Neurotic to the core.
In the end I have got myself into a nice cosy quiet room, and I have started to write. My head feels fuzzy with the whole crappy situation but the clock is ticking by and my son is getting the assessment done as I write. The panic is gone, the anxiety is ...... in the pit of my stomach and threatening to rise. But I have my water and if I really cant handle it, I can take another beta blocker by now. Even if its only working psychologically ill use it for now, but I don't think im going to need it.
What would be better here? If I had went with him there would be no separation anxiety but instead there would be the ARRRGGHHH im so far away from home. Nathan would know something was wrong, and I doubt id be any use at all in a meeting. So for now this needs to be endured. Not forgetting the next 3 appointments this month. Ill be a pro at this in no time!
Of course im telling myself im completely irrational. That there is nothing to fear here. That I should enjoy the time on my own, childfree. Drink tea and chat to friends, surf the net, read or sleep. Nathan will be back in no time at all demanding my attention and driving me crazy! And I should praise any achievement no matter how small. I didn't avoid this meeting. Nathan is where he should be. Pat on the back for me. But it never really feels that great does it? What would feel great would be to never have to go through this stuff in the first place. But such is life and since I like to think im quite a positive person ill say, well at least im quite an interesting character. Id hate to be boring!
In the meantime I will leave you with a link to a site which someone left in my comments. I had a read and im going to give this a try. Its so cheap that it would be silly not to give it a go. Hope you are all well and battling away! xxx