Saturday, May 14, 2016

Anxiety

This isn't a how to cope with anxiety post.  I don't have the answer.  This is an experience post about anxiety.

Homeschooling with anxiety AND homeschooling an anxious child can lead to some interesting conversations and actions. My son and I both have anxiety.  We both don't cope well with changes or pressures.  My son is 16 and has been in public school since he started 6th grade.  If you've read my blog then you know before that he was homeschooled.  His public school journey was a mixed bag.  He enjoyed being around kids and the changing classes made it more interesting for him.  He needed a change of scenery to keep him stimulated.  At the same time dealing with peer pressure, social norms, hormones, other people, and bullies made him miserable.  When he is anxious he lashes out or shuts down.  So you either get the glassy eyed stare or raging moody teenager. There is no in between.

I've realized that he gets it from me. I have trouble with people skills, changes, and knowing what to do in social situations.  Only difference is that I've had years of experience dealing with it.  I was never homeschooled.  School was the only option.  I spent many of my school years wishing a hole would open below me and swallow me whole.  Even as an adult when faced with a different situation I can react badly or shut down.  I think those experiences make me understand some of what my son feels and want to help/protect him.  I know that isn't always realistic.

The thing about anxiety is that people that don't deal with it have no idea what you are feeling.  They don't know how to deal with you or what to do.  They often feel we are over reacting or even attacking them.  When in reality we are just trying to cope with our overwhelming emotions.  It can cause problems in relationships and friendships.

Let me see if I can describe anxiety.  My anxiety anyway.  Its this feeling like the world is getting smaller, the place you once felt safe doesn't feel safe anymore, that everything is and can go wrong.  Its a feeling in your chest.  Mine feels like an asthma attack.  I feel like I have tensed up and can't relax.  All my emotions are near the surface.  All my fears are running back and forth in my mind.  All the doubts and all the scenarios have played themselves out in my mind.  I can cry without being provoked.  I can stare into space for an hour and not know it.  My head is full of cotton.  When I try to talk to someone, it makes it worse.  They stare at you like you are the craziest person they know.  They don't understand why you are so upset.  Then I second guess everything I said.  Did I say the wrong thing?  Should I have said that?  Will they be mad?  Will they run as far away from me as possible?  Now.. take that and apply it to all stressful situations.

The key is learning triggers and avoiding them.  Great advice.  Wish life would comply with that request.  

Homeschooling can be good and bad for the anxiety-prone person.  It can give you the calm, stable environment you need to learn in.  At the same time you build yourself a cocoon and shut out the bad things.  This of course can lead to stronger reactions when you do have to deal with difficult things.  Changes are hard.

As a first time high school homeschool mom, my anxiety is really high.  I'm dealing with some personal issues.  We have people staying with us while they get on their feet which was kind of sprung on me at the last moment.  We also have a mostly torn apart basement that needs massive work to deal with the after effects of being flooded twice.  All our homeschool things, my books, our possessions that were in the basement are either scattered through out an already full house or in a full storage.  My son also was attacked at school and has no desire to return to school next year.  So I'm trying to figure out the best options to homeschool him and make sure he gets all the credits and help he will need to eventually enter college.   Learning about transcripts, credit requirements, different curriculum levels, learning where your child is out at those levels, all the different testings (PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT II).  Also support systems.  Co-ops would be a great help but what if anxious child refuses (like mine did).  Then where do you stand.  Getting started is a challenge.

High school is no joke.  I'm not even sure where to start.  Research.  Research.  I know that much. The thing about me is once my anxiety gets too high I freeze.  So I've frozen.  At least I have the summer to help get things sorted out.  Oh and don't forget the budget.  I have a very strict budget to work with too.

This was a long, rambling post.

Do you deal with anxiety?  Have someone you live with that has this type of anxiety?  Do you homeschool while dealing with anxiety?  Do you homeschool an anxious teen?