There are times in this journey when I worry that all I am doing is “just coping”. I feel as if just coping is not good enough and I should be doing better.
Often, I am angry about the lack of support available but sometimes I am angry at myself. I am angry for expecting more, angry for wanting more and angry because I know I can do better?
Does any of that ring a bell?
What about if your child is just coping?
What if you didn’t realise?
Today I was chatting to a great practitioner (I know that can sound like an oxymoron but this lady really gets it). We were talking about anxieties raising their ugly head in our home again. We have had a wonderful summer where Mr Worry and Mr Anxiety have hardly shown their face. When they have made their fleeting appearances, we have used a variety of strategies to kick them out. So suddenly having them back here and apparently gloating that these strategies are not working has been really hard. I have been really angry about this and lots of people have taken the brunt of that. Sorry.
We have been coping with the anxieties but not really moving forward. Or as my fab practitioner said, we have been holding our head above water.
Holding our head above water is fine for a short time but it gets really tiring.
Just coping is fine for a short time but it gets really tiring.
Sometimes you need to talk these things through with an objective outsider. Sometimes you need someone else to look at where you are, where you have come from and how far you have to go.
When we are tired or stressed, we think “big picture”, not “next step” and we often have expectations of ourselves that, more often than not, are much higher than those we have for other people. We give ourselves higher levels to achieve and then feel
like crap bad when we don’t reach those levels in one quick step.
Being honest today has really helped. Being honest about how not being able to remove the anxieties in our home has made me feel like a real failure. It’s as if we have gone full circle and the summer was just someone’s idea of fun, someone lulling us into that false sense of security.
We have always had anxieties but before the summer this lady entered our lives and handed me a whole menu of strategies. Most of them simple to use and after using this menu like a pick n mix, we had a great great summer. New experiences brought new challenges but the menu gave us the tools to use to make the experiences even a possibility. New experiences, in the past, have either been amazingly awful or we didn’t even get out of the starting block. These tools got us out of the blocks and racing towards the winners enclosure. So I felt as if we were now right back wondering how to use the starting blocks without falling flat on my face.
This lady has made me realise where we actually are, compared to where I was thinking we were. She has also made me consider different reasons for why these anxieties are making appearances just at the moment. She has made me realise that perhaps one of my children is in “just coping” mode rather than “we’ve got this” mode and I hadn’t even considered this. I had just thought I was failing. I thought the strategies were not working. I hadn’t considered that perhaps there was more going on with my child and that they were perhaps just holding their head above water, kicking frantically below the surface to stay above water, but giving the impression that everything was fine.
I needed that objectivity from someone who knows us but is not emotionally involved. Someone who appreciates the dynamics of our family.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are anything like me, then you will consider “just coping” as an equivalent to almost failing. But it’s not. Sometimes it is okay to be just coping.
The problems arise when you don’t realise that “just coping” is the starting point or when you accept just coping as the default and don’t hope or ask for more.
Next Step (not the overall big picture)
Over half term, I will be looking beneath the surface and giving my child extra buoyancy aids. What works for you? What have you tried around anxiety for your child or young person? Share them so I can keep adding to this menu of strategies.