Autism Awareness month continues …. Part 2 from yesterday!
So eventually my GP put me on a Mental Health Care Plan and I attended six sessions with a psychologist who specialises in autism. I had to pick someone like that or they’d have had no appreciation for my circumstances. After several sessions with her, I had fairly much got my head around the fact that I did have anxiety and I had also decided that no amount of psycho-therapy or hand holding from her was going to teach me how not to be anxious. I had to experience what that felt like and then do the therapy! The deal clincher happened when I had another episode of SVT. This time I recognised anxiety as the trigger and the medical people even labelled it as a panic attack. I started on anxiety medication soon after that!
I could not believe how different my body felt even after just a few days. I felt like my body was moving fluidly through space. This was a new sensation. No longer did I feel like someone was sitting on my chest. That constant, unending script going through my head all but just stopped. This was such a relief! I even started listening to music in the car again which I hadn’t done for years!!! I couldn’t bear the extra noise on top of all the noise I already had in my head!
I think if I’m honest, my anxiety was probably always underlying but I think the stresses with James, relocating homes, sleep deprivation over a long period of time, always trying to be several steps ahead of James and living in a constant state of stress just escalated it. I think you have to experience what it’s like to not feel anxious, to be able to learn how to control it. I’m getting there … it’s a process.
I have had more episodes of SVT (also known as “panic attacks” in my situation – tee-hee!) since I started my anxiety medication but I think the difference is in my control of it. I am now more aware of the signs of anxiety and have some strategies for dealing with it. I am also trying to look after myself better, ensuring I get more regular time to myself and that I get adequate sleep. Just like James, that anxiety is still there … but rather than being loud, foreground music … it’s more like background music. I’m working on it.
There is so much to talk about here. So many of us don’t like to talk about things like anxiety and depression. So many of us mothers hold it together on the surface and refrain from saying it like it really is because of that need to be the perfect mother – to have it all together – and for fear of what others might think. I think anxiety and depression are often seen as a sign of weakness, and it’s still a taboo subject with some people. Paediatricians are reporting that they see more cases of anxiety than they do of any other disease or issue affecting children under 16. This is an issue we have to talk about for the sake of our children. We need to educate ourselves better about self-regulation and stress management so that we can model this and teach these strategies to our kids. Let’s keep the discussion going … for all of our sakes!