The kids had a “too cold for school” day on Tuesday. The sun was shining and the skies were a gorgeous blue, but it was 1 degree out and the windchill factor pushed us (like most of the country) way down into the freaking freeze part of the thermometer. Regardless of the cold, we had to get out of the house in the worst way. Thankfully 95% of the families we hang out with are teachers, so we threw together an impromptu play date with some of our favorite friends in the world at the local high school gym. 8 kids, 7 adults, some wiffle balls, basketballs and games of tag = a fantastic way to work out the stir-crazies.
After playing we decided to go out to lunch with the whole crew. This is a *huge* treat- once I got laid off we simply don’t go out anymore. So we went to our local Friendly’s and put the 8 kids at one table and 7 adults at another and settled in for the ride. The kids were being fantastic, the adults were talking away and everyone was having a great time.
Until Scorch’s anxiety hit him out of no where.
I have no idea what happened, but suddenly I had one very distressed 7 year pacing behind my chair, telling me he didn’t feel good and could I please go in the hallway with him and do some breathing exercises? I was very proud of him for recognizing what was going on and using his coping techniques- so we immediately got up and did our breathing and butterfly pats until he felt settled enough to go back and sit down. I really didn’t get it (and I still don’t)- we were having a wonderful time with some of our best friends, people he feels safe with, and BOOM, anxiety rears it’s ugly head. We had to practice our breathing 3 different times during the meal but eventually Scorch shook it off and we had a great time.
It’s been months- heck, maybe even a year- since we’ve had to deal with an attack like that. And its reared its head a few more times since Tuesday. I’m chalking it up to the crazy past few weeks and our erratic schedule. Just as we were all looking forward to getting back in a routine, Mother Nature hit and we didn’t know if we were coming or going. Scorch is a kid who does best when he knows what’s going on and that just wasn’t possible this past week. He’s handled all this extraordinarily well and even now his anxiety hasn’t been nearly as ramped up as it used to be- but still, it’s a reality check that just because it goes into hiding, it doesn’t mean that the anxiety has gone away completely.
The day after our lunch at Friendly’s, this article was published on CNN.com. It in, the author talks about her experience with crippling anxiety and likens the illness to a feral cat – saying “anxiety is a feral cat that springs from nowhere, sinks its claws into skin and hisses invective until nothing else exists.” I love this phrase so much because to me, as a Scorch’s mom, it helps me remember that this can’t be helped. I admit to getting inwardly annoyed with Scorch on Tuesday- I had to walk away from the luxury of my hot meal and my friends and his friends 4 times to help him breath. I didn’t share this with Scorch but inside I was was exasperated- why couldn’t he just relax and enjoy our special outing? Why here? Why now? Well, because the feral cat had struck again, of course.
Scorch does an amazing job of shaking that damn cat off, I just wish I didn’t have to hop on at all.