G is for genetics

The other day on the way home, my son was telling me something about his day. I inquired further into the reason why that something had happened and he said, “It’s my anxiety, Mom. You know I have anxiety.” My son was diagnosed with ADHD in preschool, then Adjustment Disorder, which morphed into Oppositional Defiant Disorder as he grew. But when the day treatment he had attended needed help with further diagnosis, we got on a year long waiting list for the local University Research Center for Child Development. He recently got analyzed by a handful of professionals and was further diagnosed with Anxiety. Over the last couple months we have been trying to find a medication that helps.

“Well”, I said, “isn’t your medicine helping?” He has been on two new medications since the diagnosis. The hope being that if his anxiety was treated, he would be less afraid of being alone, the dark, having nothing to do, and falling asleep. Also, I was told that it might help his rigidity about foods, structure, and other behaviors that had made me think he might be on the Spectrum.  These things haven’t gotten much better. However, his mood has improved considerably both during the day and in the evening. “Mom”, he responded in a matter of fact tone, “You know  I am always going to have anxiety.”  I am shocked to hear my 7 year old say this but can immediately relate. “I know, Babe” I say sympathetically, “I am always going to have anxiety too. I have to accept that, but my medicine helps make it tolerable, so I can do the things I need to do. I hope your medicine can help you do that too.” If it isn’t helping I need to know, because the last thing I want is my precious little boy on meds unnecessarily. “I probably have anxiety because I came from you, huh Mom?”, he asks. And I sadly agree. I tell him he got a lot of good things from me too though. Like being really smart and his beautiful, brown eyes. “I guess your right,” he says.

The car falls quiet. I guess he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. I resist the urge to keep talking to try to make it better. I worry about why the meds aren’t helping the way I wish they were. I wonder if my meds even help that much cause I feel anxious every day. Anxious to go to work, the gym, his jui-jitsu class. Talking to people, confronting people, and being around people all make my heart beat a little quicker. Then I have a comforting thought. At least he is talking to me about it.  Maybe that shows his anxiety has improved, because at least he isn’t scared to talk to his Mom about how he is feeling and talk about hard stuff.  All I can do is do my best, make the best choices I can, and love him the best way I know how. I pray it will be enough and I don’t mess him up worse.

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