Saturday, July 14, 2012

An experiment

While trying to understand how anxieties work, and how to deal with them (so that I in turn can help Ardyn) I'm performing a small experiment on myself.

I have this thing about my house being clean. Not sterile, but at least clean. Clutter I can handle, but not dirt. And as we have moved over the years, the houses get bigger, the number of bodies in them has increased, and it gets harder to stay on top of it with all the other day-to-day things that come with being a mum.

This may come as a real surprise to family and friends who knew me when I was younger, as to be honest, I was terrible at keeping things clean. It was not a priority. Days worth of dishes were in the sink, clothes were scattered everywhere, and washing piled up for days. But I think it had a bit to do with the fact that the houses I was living in weren't mine, I was working, and also not having kids. I have definitely kept things cleaner since we became home owners and parents.

Since we have moved to this house I have found that I am having real trouble staying on top of everything. It's a BIG house, and I find the bigger your house (plus kids), the more "stuff" you tend to accumulate, and the more dirt gets dragged into the house. And a problem that Cal and I have as a couple is that he can't see the dirt but hates the clutter, and I can handle the clutter but not the dirt. The dirt drives me mental!

So to try to keep him happy and me sane I hired a cleaner to come in once a fortnight to clean the bathrooms, mop the floors and dust the place. Then I could concentrate on clutter management and smaller cleaning tasks.

It was all going well - from my perspective. My sanity has been good, and I was getting on top of the clutter. But Cal's nose was getting more and more disjointed that money was being spent on something that he couldn't see the benefit of. He just doesn't care if there is yellow-coloured soap scum making his bathroom sink look oh-so inviting.

So my sanity service was cancelled. *sniff* I agreed to give it a go myself, make a real effort and see how I go.

Today is the day that I can feel my stress and anxiety levels starting to elevate.

The girls and I have barely been home for the last week - but Cal was. As a family we were away the week prior. The 2 weeks prior to that were a mess of dance concerts and a torn calf and me trying to get around on crutches. So needless to say, my house is a disgusting mess. And somehow Cal can't see that?!?!?!?

So while he's out for a run, and the girls are playing quietly, I'm sitting here with the mess all around me writing this post. I'm attempting exposure therapy on myself. Letting myself know that it's okay. That the world is not going to end if I don't vacuum those dust bunnies off the floor. The house won't collapse around me because Cal's bathroom sink is a glorious shade of ochre. Maybe I can try and see the dust layer on the shelves as.........who the hell am I kidding?

Get the Dyson out!! I'm on a mission!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Parenting an Anxious Child

We all suffer from anxieties from time to time. Well, I'm no psychologist, but I think we do. I have certainly done enough reading into managing anxieties to believe that we all go through it in some way. Some people more than others, obviously.

I have anxieties, and so does my 7 year old daughter. I fear that I have in some projected my anxieties onto her. Even though our fears and anxieties are quite different. The good news in though, In trying to help her, I have actually helped myself. I'm probably it the best place that I have been for years. But Ardyn's still need work.

Her issue is dogs - animals in general. She has never been attacked, never had a negative experience with an animal (that I can pinpoint anyway), but has a complete meltdown whenever exposed to them. Strike that, USED to. She's a hell of a lot better now, but that's come at a cost of 12 months therapy and some very hard work from us as a family, and our close friends. We have had a hell of a lot of people on board managing this, and I am grateful for all of them.

Ardyn's therapy has come to an end. Her therapist said that there's nothing more thats he can do. We have all the tools and need to move forward and work through it.
It's a slow slog, but we're getting there. It's a continual process at the moment, and I have to keep remembering that.

Why am I sharing this? Well, if anyone reads this Blog, they know that I share everything (well, just about). But this time I have found a process and a couple of books that seem to be doing the trick. I had to share, just in case you are a parent to an anxious child.

Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance - Christopher McCurry Ph.D
Introduced me to the idea of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and gave me tools to help my kids let go of fears and worries without creating avoidance issues (I have found out that avoiding your worries is not good. Better to accept them and deal with them - sounds simple when you're not dealing with a 7 year old).

What to do When you Worry too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety - Dawn Huebner
Recommended for 6-12 year olds and uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help kids become aware of their worries and work out new ways of dealing with them. It is a hands-on workshop type book that has kids writing and drawing their way through their worries. Ardyn has found it very useful.

There is also a heap of stuff on the net, but be careful or you can get overwhelmed with all the information out there. But in taking a positive from that, you can take solace in the fact that you are not alone. There are many parents out there with anxious kids, and I am one of them.

Accepting it, and dealing with it - and sharing.
K x