Anxiety is a pain in the ass.
Anxiety and being a parent, that’s a whole other level of hard.
There are a lot of people who are out there bringing awareness to the mental health space, and I truly admire them. It takes a lot of courage to say, “Hey, this is me, this is my life, and I’m dealing with it and I’m not going to be ashamed any more.”
But there’s something in this awareness that I’ve allowed to make me feel like “less than”. See, my anxiety isn’t “severe enough” to incapacitate me. My anxiety takes a bit of a different form than what’s being brought to light on social media. The anxiety I experience now, as a wife and mom, is very different than the anxiety I experienced in my twenties, and even in school.
So, for months I sat and told myself, my husband, and a few people close to me that I want to help others who have anxiety. Because I’ve managed it before, I’ve successfully managed it for more than three years before it started its bullshit again.
And then I would see someone whose anxiety has a crippling effect on them and I would tell myself, “You won’t be able to help anyone, you’re going to fail, you’re the only one who struggles like this, if they had the anxiety you claim to have, they wouldn’t be complaining, it wouldn’t be anything to anyone else.”
It was the first parent/teacher conference of the school year. Second grade. I came to the conference with no expectations. And I did this on purpose because every year I have the same question. Should we be concerned about anything?
And every year the response is, well, we can’t tell you yes or no, but I really feel it’s just her age. But, if you feel there’s concern somewhere, you will get faster action raising the issue with your pediatrician than relying on the school to notice anything.
My reaction to this two years ago was something to the effect of, “But you’re with her for the majority of her waking hours and you would know if there was something not on par with where she should be for her age.”
Nevertheless, as much as I love my kids’ teachers, and teachers in general, their hands are pretty much tied with what they can and can’t say. And I completely understand why they have to be very careful of their wording.