He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Fear

"Mommy, I don't want you to die before me".

Tears are streaming down his face. He is unable to look at me. He is almost unable to talk, the words are coming out in choked up tears and from behind his hands.

"I want us all to die together. I don't want you to leave me.

I don't ever want to go on an airplane. I might fall out."

He is starting to hyperventilate.

"What if we go off a bridge in our car?  What if there is a driver coming towards us? A bad driver. And he pushes us off the bridge and you can't get me."

He has buried himself in my chest. I can feel his heart pounding.

"What if there is a fire in our house? In my room and you die trying to get to me?"

The words start coming even more furiously, more urgently. 

"What if a robber comes and kidnaps me? What if he looks like you and I don't know he is a stranger?"

I try to reassure him without letting him hear the fear in my own voice. I tell him he will be safe, forever. That I will keep him safe. I make up a special phrase that only he, his brother and I know. I tell him he can ask me to say it anytime and know that I am his real mother. I have to tell him I will not die before him, that we will all go to Heaven together. All of us. Even Chewie and Owen. He does not understand any other alternative. His mind cannot process the thought of being here in this world without me.

The Fear comes out of nowhere. But it always comes, and I don't know who is more impaired by it each time, him or me.

I sit here now, John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" playing in the background. The song we played at his Christening. The song I sang to him as I put him to bed each night as a baby. The lyrics I know by heart and make me smile to think of him every time I hear it.

I turn my back to them so they can't see my tears. I am so grateful his friend showed up when he did to distract us both. He is smiling now, but his eyes are still bright red.

I feel sick to my stomach. I know my words did nothing to reassure either one of us.

This distraction will be fleeting. The Fear will be back. And although I can protect my son from strangers, bad drivers and fires, I know that I cannot protect him from his own anxiety.

That is my own biggest fear.


Alysia - Try Defying Gravity said...

I swear, the anxiety is the worst part of it all. Because the questions have no basis in rational thought, and they spiral. I know this too.
Hold on to the fact that he feels safest with you. He can tell you these things because of that. Letting the words out are the best thing for him, knowing that you're there to hold his hand and hug him.
I'm sorry this is so hard. It shouldn't be this hard.

krismac said...

thanks. You're right. It shouldn't be this hard, for any of our kids. I just wish he could hold on to that comfort somehow for the next time. It's like starting over again each time, isn't it? thanks for reading and relating, makes me know I'm not alone in this.

Anonymous said...

Anxiety is horrible. We did therapy with my son & positive self talk & deep breathing & trying to work through the possibility of those things actually happening. Like what is the possibility of falling out of a plane? Or for my son it was about getting an F. How many times have you gotten an F? And if you did get an F, what happens? the world doesn't end. He did worry about people dying sometimes but not as much. Therapy helped but honestly I think the meds & also getting older helped the most. (hugs) it is really rough when they are anxious like that.

Anonymous said...

Very powerful post, it is the reality that you and many families live in.My heart goes out to you as a mother and a friend. Keep raising awareness, you are helping yourself and many others with this condition cope. I am cheering you on each day.
Danielle Vlahos

Brenda said...

We have high anxiety, too. All our fears about what might happen our kids voice and we both feel it. ((hugs)) *here's my hand to hold*

krismac said...

Thank you all, it means a lot that you read it. Danielle, right back to you for raising awareness and being such a great mom. Aspieside, I'm so glad the coping strategies have helped your son, I'm hoping as James gets older he'll be able to draw on some self-coping skills. Brenda, usually his anxiety attacks are filled with the impossible (falling into lake w/ crocs, falling into a volcano)but this time, like you said, he voiced my fears - with the exception of the airplane, he hit on all MY biggest fears as a mom - things I worry about constantly but never, ever voice. Yesterday he brought them all out in full force. I think that is why I was still reeling from it all day.

Thanks for being here, and for your thoughts.

My Whacamole Life said...

It's like we're twins. Heart-wrenching!