Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Tomorrow Envelope

See that squirrel on the tree?

Learning to live around anxiety is similar to learning how to live with that damn squirrel. This little rascal lives in a tree just on the other side of the fence in my yard. He chitters and runs the fence line, downright taunting my life stock guardian dog, exciting the poor old man into a loud false alarm around the neighborhood. 

We've learned a lot about anxiety and continue to come up with some pretty creative solutions. I've adjusted my schedule to help keep more consistency for the Impossible Girl. It's a new challenge to truly feel the weight of being the 'anchor' for the family in a way that is both a place of honor and the challenge of a lifetime. 

Night time seems to be when the worries come out the most. So after a few rough nights of worries magnifying themselves into unsolvable riddles and bad dreams, I took The Impossible Girl out of bed and into the kitchen. It was late, and cluttered, so I grabbed an index card and a black sharpie. We sat down and I asked her what she was worried about. We wrote out each worry on its own index card. Then I needed a place to put them and physically leave them in the kitchen, so I grabbed an old Amazon envelope out of recycling and wrote on it "Tomorrow Envelope". 

We put the cards in there and used a glue stick from her craft station to glue it closed. 

I told her that tomorrow, over breakfast, we'd look at the cards again, and figure out what to do about them. That worked for that night. 

We did look at them in the morning, and it's funny - under the morning light, it's just a chittering squirrel, not worth losing sleep over. 

So far this method has been helpful during a couple of nights when things feel bigger than they are.

I am not willing give the Pandemic credit for any of the challenges of Childhood anxiety - or even credit the pandemic for making it worse. We would have likely faced this foe regardless. Part of it is somewhat typical of many military kids.

 But we're building a better tool box every day.

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