My Nerves Wear Thin
Autism and anxiety. I wish I could separate the two. At our house, they are so intertwined I don’t know where one ends and the other begins. Sometimes my nerves wear thin no matter how hard I try.
Maybe it is born out of a feeling of helplessness to the irrationality. All too frequently, it seems no matter how many different ways I try to alleviate an illogical worry and concern, there is just no progress to be made. Especially when the fretting is over something that doesn’t even begin to make sense.
What Started it This Time?
Could it have started from a missed dose of medicine while she was gone? What about sleep? Maybe she stayed awake all night one night. Is it left over anxiety from last week when her phone call schedule changed up a little?
When Jess has been away for the weekend, there is added difficulty to figuring out the root cause of her anxiety. It is often a guessing game. The comments she makes, the things she says she’s worried about, might be completely made up or might be 100% unrelated to what is truly bothering her.
How Do I Help?
Sometimes I can’t. When her worries are inconsolable, it is sad and disheartening. I want to help, to make it all better, to comfort. But, there comes a point in time when I know there is nothing to be said to make a particular concern go away.
Twenty-four hours later, when the exact same comments and concerns are still being addressed, nerves wear thin. I definitely feel bad about running out of patience. Jess hasn’t even been with me most of yesterday, nor most of today. However, she has called, and called, and texted, and Face-timed. For real, sometimes I feel like the anxiety is contagious because I most definitely start feeling it too. That’s when the torch gets passed to sister Hannah to see if she can say anything any differently that might make lead to a different outcome.
Is it possible to teach Jess that her irrational concerns and worries are anxiety? Can I teach her about anxiety just enough so that sometimes we can turn the focus to anxiety instead of spinning our wheels on irrational things that can’t be explained away? I believe it is worth a try. But as Hannah said, even people who have anxiety disorders without other disabilities can have difficulties labeling their anxiety.
I feel bad when Jess apologizes to me for getting on my nerves. Mainly, it makes me sad. But, I choose to not be too hard on myself. It is okay for her to learn that her obsessive behaviors have negative consequences not only for herself, but for others also.
Here’s hoping for a less anxious day tomorrow…