Anxiety disorders are so difficult. Anyone who suffers one, or those who are acquainted with someone who suffers one, know how challenging and exhausting it can be. Medication and therapy do help, I will definitely say that. My son could have never moved forward this far in the last four years without either. However, we still have some “very bad days” and today was one of them.
My 13 yr old son is highly intelligent, does excellent academic work, lots of literature reading (he use to not read at all, was afraid what would be told on the next page [phobias]…but now he reads Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton)…most of this means nothing to his peer mates. Things that mean something to his peer mates are laser-quest play dates, sleepovers, going to movies (all without mom in tow naturally, and rightly so – and believe me, I WISH he could do these things, you have no idea how much I wish he could do these things).
My son can not function on that level of “social.” My son is very friendly and attracts people, yes, but for as much as they like him, they come to realize he is “limited” and they usually pursue other friendships, leaving him behind once they make this discovery. Understandably, because he is at this point a dead-end when it comes to being able to be fully engaged with other peer mates. It is an anxiety disorder after all, and I know it is very frustrating to him.
Today was one such day where the realization of it came crashing down on him (and I, both). A day I’m sure he’d like to forget. Back in December a mother from our homeschool co-op called to see if my son could come and do a sleepover with some of the other boys from the group, for her son’s birthday. It was so nice that he was asked, and you can not imagine how glad and yet how horrible I felt to tell her….to disappoint her….to “reveal” to her that it was something my son just couldn’t do. I explained a little without getting into too much detail – privacy, he deserves some, and he hopes and prays he will grow out of a lot of this. Well, after a long winter break, the co-op kids have returned full force and it was pretty noticeable to my son that this friend stayed away from him, treating him differently – stand offish, and coupling up with another friend there. I was not aware of this myself because I don’t really pay attention to these things. But strangely, the mother made a comment to me about next years’ schedule when we were looking it over, that she’d be scheduling her son to do some classes a grade level below with another friend, because he wanted to do things with his “buddy.” Well,…yes, I understood, and as much as it hurt my heart to hear that, I had to just let it go. Now, I could be completely wrong, that I didn’t understand correctly her sudden and to the point words …..but I think I did.
My son is very misunderstood. Anxiety disorders are misunderstood and bothersome to young people who just don’t “get it”…don’t understand what the big deal is?
I’m grateful that we do have a few families around us that do understand and work with us, and that our son does have other friends who are kind and accept him as he is….and meet him where he’s at.
I felt like telling this mother today… you don’t think a day or night goes by that I don’t worry about this son? You think I enjoy all the therapy and daily medication and trying to work out where we can stretch him without stressing, him, I and the entire family out too badly? Do you think I don’t wonder about what on earth he will do with his life, will he go to college?…will he hold down a job??? ….will he drive and will he be okay overall?? *sigh….
Honesty. Total honesty. It doesn’t help to be in denial about any of it because that would not be productive in helping him.
So, the very bad revelation day.
I know God has a plan for this young man. I take consolation in it. I will be at peace with this. I mostly ask prayers for my son and his own feelings…his hurt feelings. He is doing better this evening, he can be a trooper, but I know these are “growing pains” of the most painful kind that will not be forgotten all too easily.
May God’s peace and healing power and comfort be with him, and with this mother’s heart who lives for her children and gives them all as much as possible to help them grow and face the challenges of this life.