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August 3, 2011

Another day, another hour or two spent in the basement with the tornado sirens going off and ungodly amounts of rain pounding on the house. Really, the weather this summer has been biblical. I fully expect to be scraping frogs off the windshield in the morning.

The weather has taken its toll on AJ. AJ’s always had a tendency to be anxious, but the really bad storm that took down a bunch of our trees a few weeks ago really freaked him out. When the first wave (and I do mean wave — there was a measurable current in the driveway) of tonight’s storm hit, Mr. Spy and AJ were on the way home from AJ’s football practice, which had been called off early. Apparently, AJ had a full on panic attack. It’s as if he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. He talks incessantly about the weather, worries at any cloud, no matter how small. We’ve had to ban him from unsupervised internet and TV altogether, not because we’re worried he’ll surf into porn, but because he can’t stop checking the radar on weatherbug. Part of me is inclined to think this will go away eventually. But I’m not entirely sure.

I’ve discovered something not so nice about myself in all this, which is that I’m rather unsympathetic to his fears. I think I fundamentally don’t understand this kind of anxiety. I don’t get how you can’t shut it out of your head and do something else. I try to be patient when I’m hearing the 4,000th weather report of the day, but sometimes I just can’t take another minute of it. I’m not sure what to do about that either.

I am rendered even less patient by the vicious summer cold that has been brought down upon my head. I am the third one to catch it. I’ve become cocky about getting sick because after my initial two week recovery from my flu shot, I haven’t had so much as the sniffles since last fall. I spent yesterday working in bed, my two computers splayed out across the quilts separated by a tissue box, my files piled up on the nightstand next to empty mugs of tea. I felt like some parody of a type A executive in an ’80s movie who refuses to do what’s good for her. But there are things to do.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 10:13 am

    Anxiety… tough one. I too find that I’m less than sympathetic at unrealistic fears. I suppose just slowing down to acknowledge them and respect them is enough. Distraction, and better weather, will come soon.

    Glad to read that work is starting up smoothly. So many changes for AJ right now. Just remind him, and you (and Mr Spy), that come October you’ll all be familiar with the routine, even if it is a complicated one involving lots of airline travel and skype.

    Tell him to do my contest!

  2. August 3, 2011 10:32 am

    Anxiety is a weird thing and not at all logical.

    Even though I am 95% confident that our home won’t get flooded by another water main break and that we won’t get four inches of rainfall in 30 minutes (flood #2) and I’m 65% sure we won’t get flooded by a water pipe freezing and bursting in our ceiling . . . I still get really anxious when I hear unexplained water sounds or when the rainfall is particularly heavy as it was last night.

    Logical me says chances are good none of those events will be repeated. Anxious me says nuts to that and takes control when the water sounds start or the rain pounds.

    I’m no help at all, can’t offer anything other than it’s real to me and also apparently to AJ. You and my husband both have my sympathies. I’m sure he’s tired of me getting uptight about water.

  3. freshhell permalink
    August 3, 2011 1:24 pm

    Sorry to hear about your cold. I’ll bet it’s an anxiety-related cold due to the recent upheavels and changes in your life. I almost always have a cold right after starting a new job.

    As for AJ’s anxiety, perhaps he’s actually worried about all the changes and is channelling it into something more concrete – the weather. YOu all have had some crazy weather. I think the move, when it’s all said and done, will calm his fears about all of it: the weather and all the unknowns. He’ll be switching schools, losing old friends and will have to make new ones, living in a whole new place. That’s a lot of stress for anyone. I say perhaps allow him a certain number of remarks a day about the weather and then after that, he’s got to keep his thoughts to himself. Or, he can write them down. He can keep a weather log and write his concerns down. Don’t know if that’ll help him but maybe it’ll help you.

  4. August 3, 2011 1:57 pm

    I like FreshHell’s suggestion about writing some of it down. Eleanor was like that about the weather, around that age, actually. I think part of it was fear of what she couldn’t control. I just went in and asked her if she had any advice for AJ, and she said “I don’t know, grow up?” meaning there’s no easy answer. I will send you a poem she wrote about how afraid she was and how nobody else took her fears seriously enough.
    Also, I’ve had a cold since two days after we got back from England. I have lying-around-blow-your-nose sympathy with you.

  5. August 3, 2011 3:17 pm

    You guys are awesome. My Kids Mom, I’m sure you are right that the general upheaval around here isn’t making things any easier for him. edj3, your comment reminded me that I had similar issues with water after a spring emerged in our basement a few years ago and I would do well to remember what that was like when dealing with AJ. freshhell, the weather log was inspired — he loved it and has already started. Jeanne’s absolutely right that it’s about what he can’t control and I think the weather log might grant him at least the illusion of control. I also told him about Eleanor and he was, I think, very reassured to know that there was someone else who had the same problem. He was entertained by her advice. I’m glad to have your company in the red-nosed club.


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