Our 3 year old has extreme anxiety… That statement can mean so much to so many people. It can mean your child don’t want to go to bed alone or get nervous going to school or are thinking twice before going down a slide. For us, with a child with autism, social anxiety and ocd it means:
For the last week Abby’s anxiety has been out of control. Last Thursday she woke up and said to me: “Mommy, feel my chest”. Her heart was beating out of her chest. We had to go out the day and I knew that was the reason for it. I begged her to stay home with me rather, it was school holidays and the play area where Sky will have her ballet will be filled with screaming toddlers. She would have nothing of it and demanded that we go with daddy and Sky. Against my better judgement, I gave in. We walked into the play area and chaos started from the first second. She immediately grabbed onto my neck and crying because children were too close to her and wanted to touch her or the things she wanted to play with. I walked out within 2 minutes of arriving. I took her to another space, but they were also busier than usual and she was in total panic mode. We couldn’t just leave Sky and the rest so had to ride the hour out in the center. I found a restaurant that was “not too busy” and had booths (booths are great). I pushed her in the corner of a booth and sat next to her, sheltering her from people. I put her earphones and phone on to drown out sounds. We sat there for an hour before we could get her to function enough to walk out.
Well, it is a week later and she is still not functioning without me. She won’t be left alone for a second – day and night. She would rather wee her pants than go to the toilet alone. While 3 of us are right here in the house with her. We have to sit with her on the loo, if she has a bath, Sky baths with her and still she needs an adult to sit with them. Night time becomes chaos. The dark scares the daylights out of her (pun intended I suppose!). We have 2 lights on in the room, the toilet light is on and the dining room light to shine even more light into the room. Still she will not sleep even just next to me. She holds onto me, pulling my neck right next to her face. If I move she is awake and ask where I am going.
As you can imagine this mama bear is tired, worried and emotional. We have tried so many things and the anxiety is just there. When we ask her what she is afraid of, she says she saw a wolf with a pig’s tail that wants to eat her. And no matter how much we try, we can’t get her to calm down about it. And the anxiety causes her to not eat. Yesterday for the first time in a week she ate about 4 bites of my pasta and last night she ate a bit of meat. Other than that, the only things I could get in her the past week is Pringles, grapes and baby Squish.
I am working 2 jobs and taking care of the house in all of this chaos and I know that I will need to do some massive research to get her some help. And then we are dealing with Sky – she is only 5 and we sometimes forget that because of her smart mouth. But she has really been acting out because she needs attention as well and mommy is taking care of Abby, she just can’t fit quality time in with her. Hubby is there and doing as much as he can to help and really takes care of Sky but she is really feeling the strain. Especially because if I have to work, I am asking her to not leave her sister alone. So she is taking on more responsibly than what a 5 year old needs to have. Ever. And with that comes a real bad attitude. She is giving us lip about everything and this mama bear is tired and irritated. So let’s just say life is a bit tense in our home at the moment.
But we are putting on our big girl panties and taking care of business, one minute at a time. And who needs sleep in anyway???