“Isn’t it difficult to write about yourself so vulnerably?”
“What is the point about being so vocal about your mental issues?”
To answer to the first of those questions, yes, it’s very difficult. It is scary to open up your heart to others. But I will continue to do it because I see the good it can do. I want to share this little story with you. I want to show you the power of opening up and showing people how you deal with your imperfections.
My kids started attending a new school this week. It has been something we’ve been mulling over for a while, but this was the right thing for our family to do. Last week before school started, we met with the social worker at the new school to go over Luke’s accommodation plan. She had his file open and ready and already knew a little bit about his difficulty with anxiety. She was very familiar with the struggles of anxiety disorder and told Luke about a sensory room that they have available for students who need a minute to gather themselves or remove themselves from excessive stimulation. Luke was actually holding back a smile hearing that. I could tell he was pleasantly surprised that other kids at the school deal with this.
“What other coping techniques did Luke’s therapist give to him to help him with his anxiety?” She asked me.
Luke piped up out of nowhere. “I can kill the worry bully,” he said softly.
“The worry bully?” She asked smiling at him. “I’ve never heard of that. Can you tell me about it?”
“Yeah. He’s the voice in my head that tells me lies and makes me worry. He is the one telling me I’m not good at stuff and he makes me think people are looking at me and he just makes me scared sometimes. So I can yell at him in my head and take him out and I can destroy him however I need to.”
“I love this!” She said.
“Luke, tell her how you’ve killed him before. That’s funny,” I said loving him to bite-sized pieces in this moment.
A slow smile spread across his face. “I have thrown him into the fire or into ceiling fans. At school, I flushed him down toilets before. My mom even lets me say swear words to him if I’m alone.”
She laughed. “This is so great! I am going to use this for my other students! Would that be ok with you Luke?” She asked. He looked at the floor bashfully and nodded.
She left the room to go make a few copies of his paperwork. I looked over at him and smirked.
“Only swear words if you’re totally alone, right?”
“Yeah,” he said, dimples popping. “Mom?”
“Do you think that maybe because I told her about the worry bully it might help other kids with their anxiety.”
“Absolutely! That’s why I’m so proud of you! Do you see? When you open up about it and don’t lock it all inside, you can help other people overcome the same things you struggle with but are getting stronger at.”
“I like knowing that,” Luke said shyly.
This is why I write about how I deal with anxiety in my children and in myself. Someone needs to be reminded that they are not a victim of their thoughts and fears. Someone needs to hear that they have power in life, maybe not in the circumstances, but in the ways they react to them. Please take a lesson from my sweet boy. Sharing your heart with someone may help in ways you’d never suspect. It’s like a bottle of wine. It doesn’t do much good bottled up, the best way to enjoy it is to share it with friends.
“Sharing how you feel and what’s real for you may be scary…But every time you hold back your truth, you make fear more important than love. This is why the depth of your availability to love will be mirrored in your ability to be honest. It’s really as simple as that.” —Mark Groves