I Began Pre-Fighting Battles that Weren't There
You may develop anxiety by proxy, even if you've never felt anxious about anything ever. You totally live out, being 'anxious about nothing...Philippians 4:6-7'. Proud of you. Stay strong. You're not even scared of spiders, heights, or encountering a spider at the top of a mountain. The reality for many moms and dads dealing with anxiety in their children is that they will develop sympathy anxiety over their child's anxiety.
When my child's anxiety began making guest appearances (See Also: Squiggy from Laverna and Shirley) appearances, I never imagined how it would impact someone, like me, who never experienced anxiety. FYI, anxiety couldn't care less about how solid you believe you are. My child's fear was wrapped up in storm clouds.
The Psychiatrist told us his DNA could have locked onto anything but a bad experience when they were nine years old produced the first panic attack as a water park was shut down for no joke South Florida lightning. We were off to the races for a few years.
How did that impact me? I developed Sympathy Anxiety:
I started checking the weather in advance of outings. I had never done this.
I started feeling anxious about his reaction at school or sports.
If the weather was bad I never left my phone knowing I would get a phone call.
I started feeling powerless.
One of the main reasons I am writing, Albert the Fox Stories, is giving parents resources to have conversations with their children about anxiety before anxiety grows. I am trying to save you some heartache.
Here is How to I Began Confronting Sympathy Anxiety:
Keep the narrative going with your child. Not every storm brings anxiety, literal or figurative.
Admit, you cannot be your child's therapist. It's okay to own that.
Pray for peace, not only cures.
I hope you will not have to endure too much, and you will be able to shift the weight of sympathy anxiety to something else like why your favorite college football team is not as awesome as the Miami Hurricanes.
Tell me how you are doing. Send me a message at Erik@AlbertTheFox.com.