“The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves”…”people can never get better without knowing what they know and feeling what they feel” (The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk)
This rings true for me.
I will forever be grateful for having access to my social worker. She helped me recognize what I was feeling and taught me how to feel those feelings without being too overwhelmed by them. But sometimes I do still get overwhelmed, particularly by the lies I tell myself.
Yesterday Oscar had a terrible night. He was up from 3am to 6am and therefore so were my husband and I. I could feel that my anxiety was a bit higher than usual the next day. I knew exactly why. First, I know that whenever I am tired I struggle a bit more with my emotions (I think everyone does). Secondly, I know that sleep deprivation can lower a child’s seizure potential and can put Oscar at a higher risk for having a seizure.
But was my increased anxiety appropriate? The rational side of me says “no”. The lie that I was telling myself was that Oscar was at risk. How do I know that this is a lie? Because this is not the first time that Oscar has been up in the night and he has been fine the next day. So how come I can’t learn this? I mean truly learn this. My rational brain knows this, but this thought hasn’t been able to sink deep into my brain. That is the only way I can describe how it feels.
The other lie that I was telling myself was that Oscar isn’t resilient. Experience has taught me that he is. Experience has taught me that he can tolerate a low grade fever and be fine. Experience has taught me that he can tolerate his vaccinations and be fine. Experience has taught me that he can tolerate severe vomiting (from his egg allergy) and be fine. (Dehydration can also be a seizure trigger). Experience has taught me a lot about Oscar and what I can expect. So why do I still lie to myself?
Why is it that I was able to learn deep into my brain what the neurologist told me. I learned that Oscar’s diagnosis is “worrisome”. I learned that other children with the same diagnosis can really struggle with seizure control and that we have to “be diligent” to keep him under control. I learned that the more a child seizes the harder it can be to get them under control. I learned that seizures are unpredictable. Basically I learned that Oscar is unsafe. Why was this more easily grasped by my brain vs lessons learned from my own experience? I don’t know…
I will say that it has gotten better. My rational brain can help to talk down my anxiety, not completely but it can help. My husband also helps by reinforcing what my rational brain tells me. Writing this blog has really helped as well. I think that by sharing my feelings and my story it has forced me to reflect on how far Oscar has come, how far I have come and how much we have evolved as a family. It has also helped to reinforce my rational brain. But I do still tell myself lies!