Eliza Grace was born on March 15, 2006, at 26 weeks, 4 days, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces and measuring just 11.5 inches long. She is the light of my soul and this is the story of our life in the big city.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Little Monster Called Anxiety

Anxiety is like a tiny monster inside of Eliza's body that from time to time grows into an uncontrollable, very large monster.  

There is an ebb and flow to its appearance and it is terribly unpredictable. When it does take control sometimes certain techniques like breathing, chanting and other rituals can put it back in its dark place where it will lurk, but not be in charge of Eliza's every thought and action.

But there are times that it can't be controlled.  And we are both held hostage to something we cannot see or hear.  It is those times that I weep for my daughter and the uncontrollable fear which has gripped her.  There are nights I can walk the dog right in front of our apartment and she just wishes me luck and reminds me to use my Judo moves if anyone bothers me.  She can watch the dog and I from the window.  I can reach to the glass to tap on it so she knows we are okay, all of five feet away.  And then there are the nights that she begs me not to bring the dog out.  Or the nights when she loses sight of us for a moment and begins to wail and bang on the window, in hysterics.  After one of those nights she will literally follow me through the apartment holding fast to the back of my shirt, so she is "safe."  And then we sit and together begin one of her chants or rituals to help calm her.  Sometimes it takes 15 minutes, other times it takes 2 hours or more to calm her.  

We are also hostage to this monster in that there are so many places we cannot go, places I know Eliza would enjoy, but for the anxiety that may, or may not, rise up and take hold of her.  Just the other night we had to leave a restaurant because there were televisions showing sporting events.  Eliza loves sports and enjoys watching the Knicks.  But since there is just that chance, no matter how slim, that something frightening to her will appear in a commercial or a trailer, that causes the panic.  This was a restaurant that just over a year ago Eliza loved to go to and was one of the few places where there was something she would enjoy eating.  For now, we have crossed this restaurant off of our list, to be tried again some time down the road.  Or not.

Anxiety has caused Eliza's world to grow smaller as the list of places she used to go diminishes.  I could rant on about the causes of her anxiety and panic disorder, but I've done that before, it doesn't change anything and at this point the causes don't really matter at this point.  

So while Eliza's world may be smaller, we try our best to make that smaller world as rich as possible.


Katie said...

My heart breaks for your sweet little girl.

Sarah said...

I feel you. We are fortunate that we can predict The Kid's triggers but managing the anxiety can be so all-consuming.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear this is still so present for Eliza. You are so right it can come unpredictable waves but that triggers are also present. Elizabeth's anxiety had skyrocketed prior to having her brother as she had a fear of toys and lullabies and of course a baby came with those. Not sure how things improved whether maturation or her beginning to recognize her feelings and calm herself down. She still has triggers but are manageable. Keep plugging ahead gently, she needs to feel the satisfaction of facing a fear and knowing that she is okay.
Angela and Elizabeth ( busy lizzy)

My Vegas said...

Hi. I thought of you and Eliza this morning as I read the NYT magazine story on feeding tubes. The story, of course, is this person's own; however, the writing makes it seem, um, as no biggie in a sense. I was hoping you'd post your thoughts on the piece.

Catherine W said...

Oh how heartbreaking. Your poor Eliza.

Anonymous said...

are you still writing this blog? the circle of moms list brought me here.

Asifur Rahman said...


Jane Smith said...

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