Behind starburst eyes

Corona’s Effect on Mental Health

It’s been months since Covid-19 became a worldwide epidemic, and while I am truly, deeply thankful that my family has not experienced this virus directly, sadly it still has had an impact on my children through their mental health.

He used to be gregarious, he used to be fearless, he used to be happy and confident…Used to be…

It makes my heart ache to see the changes in him, to see how scared he is to even leave the house because as he puts it “It’s invisible, I can’t see it, I can’t fight it” He used to be thrilled to pop over to the store for me, and he’d always ask if he could pick up something for dessert for everyone in addition to the bread or milk I was usually asking for. Now, his first response is “Or I could not go” with a pleading face as he says it. He used to love going for runs, now he says “there’s too many people”. He would rather forgo takeout or new toys if he has to go outside for them.

So instead I don’t ask him to go for me, but I do ask him to go with me. I’m willing to walk with him, because I’m determined to make him go out (while of course allowing precautions such as a mask and hand sanitizer) because he can’t stay locked inside for the next however long. It’s not healthy for him.

I know this might be a long road for him, but I remember when he was 2 and would have uncontrollable meltdowns when we’d walk different routes home from Airzone, he’d cry that it “wasn’t the right way home”. Back then I knew he had to learn there were many ways to get to somewhere, physically and metaphorically. I would hold him and tell him over and over he was loved and safe and I understood and he was my wonderful brave boy as he cried for hours even after we got home.

This is no different, I’ll be there each step of the way offering him love and support as I help him walk this hard path. I love him enough to do the hard things because he always has been and always will be worth the effort to help him thrive.

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Clerical Error = Panic Attack

This morning I received a phone call from my step-daughter’s mother. She wanted to know if Miss. D was sick as she wasn’t in school. My stomach bottomed out as I knew that their dad had not just dropped both of them off, but watched them walk into the school. I told her as much, and tried to stay calm, but I couldn’t manage it at all. I was in a full blown panic attack, I couldn’t breathe properly, I was thinking about what clothes she had been wearing, how would I contact my husband while he was cooking at the Bistro with his phone off, who I could get to watch the 3 kids at home so that they didn’t have to know their sister was missing. All the while Miss. D’s mother is trying to assure me that it was probably just a simple mistake, but calm was not within my reach.

Now I understand fully that for most people they would just assume it was a simple error, but I couldn’t, my mind thought of the worst case scenario. Normally (not always, but typically) I am not the type to full out panic, especially before the worst case scenario has been fully confirmed. But here’s the catch to today’s phone call, by the time I was Miss. D’s age I had lived through 2 attempted kidnappings in 2 different countries by 2 different people. The first one was a full blown stalker that my family had to protect me from for months, the obsessed person was a 6ft blond woman with a brown belt in Judo. Her obsessive stalking and attempts at kidnapping me played a big part in shaping how overly protective my mother and brother were (still are) of me. The second was a man of average height and build who worked at a campground we were visiting, I had simply wandered off further than I was supposed to from my mom.

Now I am beyond THRILLED to say that it was merely a clerical error; the teacher had indeed mistakenly checked off Miss. D’s name instead of the child that was absent. A simple mistake, checking off one line too low or too high on a list, so easy to do and in turn to understand another doing it. But for this step-mom, that clerical error certainly caused panic. Thankfully, it was an unneeded panic.

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