The scary or upsetting thing is that now it has become 'normal'. It has become part of who he is. And I don't want it to be. I want it to go away. I want my happy little boy back. Because dealing with a child who suffers from anxiety and who thinks they are going to die every night, who thinks they have electrocuted themselves by touching their battery operated alarm clock, or who is too scared to turn off their own light in case they electrocute themselves, and who comes downstairs over and over and over again until it's way past my bedtime, never mind his, is not just worrying, it's also exhausting. And that's why a 'fine thanks' can turn into an 'Option B'...because you just can't take anymore.
So whilst I'm still going down the standard route of taking him back to see a psychiatrist and psychologist, I was very open to trying something different too.
And this week he had his first NLP session with Caroline Arnold of Caroline Arnold Coaching. Now this, although something new, was not at all scary for no. 2 because as well as being an NLP Master Practitioner, Caroline is also his Auntie! Session 1 seemed to go really well. He is never going to be someone who gives a big wordy response to anything, but he seemed genuinely happier afterwards. And he couldn't wait to try the techniques he learned when he went to bed. And although I know it may take time for it all to take effect I am feeling positive too. Because I have help. And that's what can make a massive difference to the person caring for someone suffering with any kind of illness. To know they are not alone. To know they have support and someone else to turn to when it all becomes a bit Option B!
In her guest post today, Caroline shares with us her experiences of how NLP can help adults or children in many different situations.
When I was asked to write this guest blog I called my mum and spoke to her about Paris. She said it wasn't surprising that I had anxiety due to the language barrier but all I remember is the food and toilets that I didn't like! Ironically, now that I am 33 one of my biggest regrets is that I don't speak a second language and I wish that we had been able to stay longer in Paris so that I could have been fluent.
There are a lot of things that can make children feel worried or anxious, such as the first day of school, exam time or moving to a new area and some may say it is normal to feel this at these times. It is when anxiety starts to affect children on a daily basis that it becomes worrying for mum and dad.
As a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Hypnotherapist I am seeing that more and more clients are seeking a form of help for anxiety that doesn't involve medication. If you are not familiar with NLP then I find the best way to think about it is that;
Neuro refers to how the mind processes our experiences through the 5 senses.
Linguistic refers to the language and and non-verbal communication systems which gives us order and meaning.
Programming refers to the ability to use our mind to achieve our desired outcomes.
By understanding what NLP is and by appreciating that anxiety is a learnt behaviour you can use NLP techniques to unlearn a behaviour such as anxiety.
So, what do you do if your child has anxiety?
Below are 5 top tips to explore if your child suffers from anxiety.
1. Talk to them, is there a particular situation that is making them anxious?
2. Encourage them to write or draw their thoughts.
3. I used to have worry dolls by my bed and at night I would tell them anything I was worried about. By voicing and sharing these worries I slept better. I still have these dolls at my parents house!
4. Put on a relaxation CD that helps them go to sleep very quickly or that they can put on if they wake in the night. I love Jessica Robbins 'Super Power School' Cd's and there is one track that if I am struggling to get to sleep I put on and I fall to sleep within about 5 seconds.
5. Seek a NLP Practitioner who can help. There are different techniques that they may use depending on the cause of the anxiety, so they would initially take some time to understand the cause of the anxiety. One of the techniques that you can use is anchoring. This is where you anchor a positive feeling, such as confidence or calmness, to a knuckle on their hand. In the future if the child needs to feel calm they can touch their knuckle and get a boost of this feeling. I love this technique as no else needs to know that they are doing this, which means they don't need to feel self conscious doing it.
If the anxiety arises because of a phobia, such as a fear of dogs, the practitioner may do the 'phobia technique'. This technique can squash the phobia.
Find Caroline Arnold Coaching on Facebook here
Or on Twitter @carnoldcoaching