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Ripples of Anxiety

  • Posted on July 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Alex bites his wrist.  Ben throws tantrums of sudden rage—explosions of frustration like shaken soda pop.  Willy bursts into tears.

This may be a sequence of events.  Each event may happen in isolation.  It’s just a taste of the ripples of anxiety that plague our house.  The ripples seem to be getting bigger.  Some days they seem more like waves—high and deep enough to drown us all in their wake.

Of course, that triggers the traumatic memory of a haunting article, written long ago now, where a mother’s murderous leap from a bridge with her autistic son was described as “an act of love.”  I’m not that far gone.  I’ll never be that far gone!

But I am frustrated.  If anxiety were an earthquake our house would be shaking persistently.  The few glass baubles I have left would topple from their perches and crash in a million pieces.  Picture frames would rattle until they fell smashing to the floor.  Considering the soundness of the structure, the whole house would probably topple in our heads.

The ground may not be shaking, but something inside of me is.  Like a tuning fork.  As many parents are I’m tuned to my children’s emotions, and right now the sound is bad.

I want a solution.  I want an answer or at least an explanation.  Hell, I’d take just about anything at this point.  But I’ve tried everything I can think of and I’ve got nothing on this.  The summer started with a state of upheaval and we’ve been heaving ever since.

I just want a day off.  Not for me, but for my boys.  I want one day where they’re all fine.  Just so we can remember how it feels and maybe get back to it.  But the ripples keep coming.  The waves are knocking us down.  So we swim.  What else can we do?