Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Anxiety Over Anxiety

Anxiety is common in Williams syndrome, but we have not really seen it in Clare. Until today. She definitely has her intense dislikes - fire trucks, fire drills, lullabies, soft Christmas carols - but it comes, she cries, they go away, she stops crying. Occasionally, if we're in the doctor's office or some place like that where she sees the fire alarm light on the wall, she'll ask if there will be a fire drill, and we will reassure her that there won't. But she doesn't obsess about it. She can move on.

I am not a psychotherapist, but it seemed like Clare became fixated on two events, and they kind of merged in her mind. At the end of school yesterday, one of her teachers jokingly asked Clare if she would miss her (meaning until school tomorrow). For some reason, this made Clare sad, and in her mind, she became scared. Then when she comes home, and we get ready for the end of the day and dinner, the reality sinks in that Shawn is away on business (the kids are used to having only me at home during the day, but at night, everyone misses Daddy even more!). So today, Clare cried on and off. She missed Daddy, her left arm hurt, her stomach hurt, her head hurt, her teacher scared her. It went on and on. She was getting to a point where she couldn't function. She couldn't eat breakfast, she couldn't walk upstairs, she wanted to just lay on the floor. I really didn't think she was sick, but she was acting so weird. Her anxiety was manifesting itself physically.

I had no idea what was going on and have never dealt with this kind of anxiety before. I made calls into the cardiologist and the preschool (covering all bases!), then tucked Clare, Simon, and myself into my bed for some PBS viewing. To bring this to the point - her preschool teacher confirmed that nothing had happened at school other than that one innocent joking comment. The cardiology nurse and I talked about her blood pressure med and side effects, so I am still waiting for the cardiologist to call back. And after an hour of vegging out, Clare was back to her normal sunny self and the rest of the day was great.

I've heard the stories of anxiety and Williams syndrome, medications, coping techniques, etc., but always kind of thought Clare wouldn't be like that. And maybe she won't, but maybe she will. I hope that this incident was just a freak thing and not a problem with her blood pressure medication or a preview of things to come. I know we will deal with whatever comes our way, just as we have for the last four plus years. I can still wish it all away!


Aunt Joan said...

I am praying that sweet Clare has a much better day tomorrow!! Anxiety is a terrible feeling, and being a little one who really cannot understand their feelings, it must be very frightening!! Give her a big hug from Aunt Joan, and pat yourself on the back! You are amazing, Teresa!

Anonymous said...

poor Clare!!I hope she has a better day today and that things are back to normal.

Michelle said...

Ari gets like that a lot...and we have learned with Ari that it's PURE DRAMA that she uses when she can't express herself in other ways...like when she is beyond exhausted. I am not saying this is the case with Clare but either way don't give it TOO much attention and let it get bigger. When Ari gets like this I usually just tell her things like ...:"too bad,so sad" - "suck it up" - or "your fine and let me know when your done" and then I walk away. 99% of the time it works...if it doesn't I know something more is going on...like illness... anyway ..thats just my experince for what it's worth. sorry to babble