My face falls into my coupled hands as I cover my tired eyes. It’s been an all-day adventure of picking and choosing my battles with my 6-year-old while also balancing my patience with my 17-month-old. Most of my energy is focused on redirecting my older son’s anxiety when things do not go his way. None of this helps my own anxiety.
There are some truly amazing days and moments, but the percentage isn’t balancing out quite like it used to. I’m getting drained at a faster rate. My heart can only take so much disappointment. I love both of my sons equally and with all of my being, but my heart breaks every time I have to explain to someone else that my older child is not only strong willed, but he literally cannot help it sometimes. His OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tells his brain something bad will happen if he does not do something exactly as he normally does.
For example, if he isn’t the one who lets our dog outside and back inside, he has a meltdown. By meltdown, I mean he cries, screams, and needs to be held down with a weighted hold for a minimum of 20 minutes.
To him, it feels like his entire world is being crushed. I know this because I had OCD.
There are many more rituals he has to complete every day. One includes watching his dad drive away whenever he goes somewhere and asking, “Which way are you going?” even though he knows for sure he goes the same way every time.
As a former elementary education teacher, I have experience with behavior challenges and redirecting. In fact, I was literally a professional at behavior management. Keeping almost 30 kids at a time well-behaved and learning was a piece of cake. However, with my own son . . . I have struggled. I have struggled because he is SUPPOSED to be good.
Having the background I have, knowing what I know, and following through with specific techniques only work so well when it’s your child.
The truth is, he is GOOD.
He comforts me when I’m not feeling well.
He helps me with chores and tasks throughout the day.
He hugs me, cuddles with me, tells me I’m beautiful, and is my number one fan (besides his brother, dad, and dog).
However, he also says some extremely terrifying things about himself and our family.
He breaks down in such a way my stomach turns, heart crumbles, and my body goes weak.
He makes bad choices over and over again.
Making bad choices doesn’t make someone bad—it makes them human.
He is human.
I am human.
We all make mistakes and bad choices, it’s just a matter of how bad and how many choices tip the scales.
I had OCD, I found my way out. Although my son’s anxiety and OCD currently consume me and the choices I have to make for our family, he will also find his way out.