Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"How's Caleb doing?" An anxiety update

I've been pretty honest about Caleb's struggle with anxiety. You can read about his journey here and here. So many of you have asked "How's Caleb doing?" so I thought I would give a quick update.

In a word: Better.

He's doing much better.

Honestly things started improving once we got him off the Zoloft. That stuff took him to a whole new level of anxiety. I caught a glimpse of what depression looks like in a 9 year old when he was on that medicine. He stopped smiling and laughing. He wouldn't go outside. He cried. He refused to eat. He threw up. It was truly a nightmare. It may be one of the hardest seasons I have gone through with him.

We are miles away from that now. He has been going to a counselor since November and that has also helped. She is teaching him how to talk through his anxiety and how to get control of it when it starts to flare up. He often couldn't tell us why he was anxious about something, he just couldn't put it into words but he is learning to. It's a process for sure.

Caleb is a picker. He picks at his skin and rips his fingernails off. The counselor recommended Silly Putty. I was able to find it in the Dollar section at Target. I bought several containers and we have strategically placed them throughout the house, in my purse, and in the car. It's worked! Caleb plays with it constantly and he knows to get it when he is feeling fidgety. We've actually had to cut his fingernails recently because he actually had fingernails to cut!

The counselor is also working with Caleb on what I would call grief. I think Caleb's grieves the fact that he has Spina Bifida....but doesn't realize that is what he is feeling. I think he feels sad sometimes but can't really figure out why. I've been unsuccessful at helping him talk through it. She is helping him put a voice to those feelings. I'm curious to see how that plays out in the weeks to come.

Caleb does really well with the counselor. He talks with her privately for about 30 minutes and then I come into the room to catch up. He talks openly with her and she is able to ask the right questions. She also challenges him.

Caleb still has anxiety but I feel like he is managing it better. I suspect he will always have to battle anxiety to some extent, I think it is just part of his personality. But, I think he can learn to deal with it. He has already made great progress.

So yes, Caleb is doing better. We are seeing more and more of this:

That is a beautiful thing.

(Thank you to all of you that have commented and sent messages to me. So many of you have asked about Caleb and I know you have prayed for him as well. That means a lot to me.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Basketball Tournament

I'm a little late on posting this...such is life. Caleb's wheelchair basketball team had their first tournament in November. It was a local, one day tournament. We really weren't sure if Caleb would play or not. Anxiety has a tendency to steal the joy out of things that he loves. He loves wheelchair basketball. We knew we wouldn't force him to play because we don't want to turn the sport he loves into something stressful. So, we made a deal with Caleb. We agreed that we would go to the tournament early so he could watch the other teams play, and then decide if he wanted to play with his team. Our hope being that Caleb would want to play once he got there.

His wonderful coach chatting with him and trying to ease his nerves. 

Our plan worked and Caleb wanted to play. Whew.

Caleb's team lost most of their older players this year; they moved up to JV. Caleb's team is a very young team now. This means that we don't really score a lot of points but our young players get a lot more time on the court and they actually get their hands on the ball more.

I think having a younger team with kids closer to his age has increased his confidence on the court. He played great defense and wasn't nearly as timid as I've seen him in the past. He played great the first game.

So close.

Hear me. That boy will make his first basket soon. 

After the first game we had a break for lunch before our next game. Caleb's anxiety came back a bit for the afternoon game. For some reason leaving the gym for lunch and coming back triggered anxiety. He still played in the second game but you could tell that he wasn't enjoying it as much. The anxiety was impacting him. 

I will say that things have improved somewhat since my anxiety post a few weeks ago. Getting that Zoloft out of his system helped greatly. He has been going to counseling and I think that is helping as well. It's a process.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Caleb's fight with anxiety

I've mentioned before that Caleb struggles with anxiety. Really he's always been a somewhat anxious kid but it has gotten worse and worse over the last couple of years. We have done all that we could to try and help him. We pray. We read scriptures. We distract. We pray some more. We push him to do things even when he's nervous. We try to give him control when we can. Sometimes those things work, but more often they don't. They are working less and less these days.

It's been incredibly frustrating for all of us. This sweet boy is riddled with anxiety. He doesn't know why. We don't know why. Most of the time, his nervousness makes absolutely no sense. He knows he's worried about things that he shouldn't be. His hands shake. He cries. He won't eat. He throws up.

There aren't words to describe the battle I see raging within him.


It's truly heartbreaking. He's only 9.

We finally tried medicine. We put Caleb on a low-dose of Zoloft. We tried Zoloft for about 8 weeks and this medicine brought Caleb's anxiety to an entirely new level. It was awful. He couldn't leave the house. Even doing things that he would normally enjoy like wheelchair basketball would cause such a fit of anxiety that he just couldn't get past it. We tried to go to a pumpkin carving party at a friend's house. Caleb wouldn't get out of the car. He threw up. The smallest thing would cause significant anxiety. Even a grandparent coming to the house would send Caleb over the edge. The peak of the Zoloft nightmare was Caleb's anxiety got so bad that he couldn't even go out on Halloween. So ya know that awesome Wild Kratt's Createrra I made....well it never got's collecting dust in the garage. Oh the irony.

He's lost 6 pounds. He was already thin.

So we took him off Zoloft because that stuff was making everything way worse. The child barely smiled for weeks. He face was fallen all the time. He had no peace. He was truly miserable. We've all been miserable. He's been off the Zoloft for over a week now and he has improved some. Still anxious of course, but we are closer to his "normal" anxiety and not in the crazy zone anymore.

We met with a counselor this week. I really like her and I'm optimistic that she will be able to help Caleb over time. We may try a new medicine once he's been off the Zoloft for a bit longer. I want to give him whatever tools he needs to fight this. We will fight this. He will get his life back.

This is really hard for me to share. It's been a really rough time for our family. It's so much easier to share the good, the pretty, the perfect. But I know that we don't struggle alone. I know that our honesty and transparency can benefit others. So I'm shining a light on something painful. As a mom, my heart breaks for Caleb. I hate it. I'm frustrated by it. It's maddening.

But we are pressing forward. We are doing what we can to help him. While I feel like our lives are on hold right now, we are still taking one day at a time.

Some of our favorite verses:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6) 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“ (Matt. 6:34)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

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