A few weeks ago I mentioned that Simon was starting therapy for his problems with anxiety. It’s not a decision that we took lightly and at times it makes me feel ashamed. Haven’t I loved him enough?
Haven’t we given him everything he has ever needed and much, much more?
It’s one thing to take your kid to the doctor for a tummy ache. It’s another thing when it comes to matters of the heart and of the head.
Have we made a mistake? Are his emotions really that off? Does he really struggle with feelings of fear? Are we giving him a label that will hold him back later? Once diagnosed is there any turning around? Is he getting any better? Am I exaggerating about how he feels? How I feel about the whole thing?
No, I don’t think so. No, he’s not getting any better. No, it’s not normal to cry about a tummy ache and complain about chest pains. No, it’s not normal to worry about death. Or ask questions about what happens when you can’t breathe. Yes, it’s a struggle to get him to eat at restaurants. Yes, it’s been a struggle since he was three years old. Yes, I’m tired of talking about throwing up and thunderstorms and strangers coming into the house.
Yes, he’s holding himself back. Yes, he’s not getting to experience new and exciting things.
And so we go, despite how much I worry. Despite the stigma of mental health and my own feelings of shame. I admit that he needs help- that we need help. He has started cognitive-behavior therapy and is learning to understand his fears. I’m sitting in the waiting room alone. Worrying about what he’s telling therapist Barb.
We also have a prescription for BuSpar that I haven’t called the pharmacy to fill yet. My bestest friend put it eloquently when she reminded me that I wouldn’t hesitate to fill a prescription for an ear infection. Or if Simon was diabetic, I’d be demanding insulin to make him better.
But I continue to drag my feet because of a stigma. Because I am afraid.