THAT’S what I though we had going on for this deployment.
Turns out, I was wrong…and kicking myself for not recognizing it earlier.
Without getting into graphic detail, our son has been having some occasional anxiety and intermittent panic attacks since his dad deployed 8 months ago…except I didn’t recognize it as anxiety or panic attacks. Yea, yea, I’m a nurse…and I swear I’m a rockin’ one…but somehow I didn’t see it…
…until 3 days ago. He just had a “freak out” as he refers to it 4 days prior. It actually takes about 4 or 5 days for things to return to normal after one of these episodes because we have 3 or 4 days of a “break down” as he refers to it. So, 3 days ago, I start to put pieces of the puzzle together and BOOM, a lightbulb goes off. It was clear as day, and we needed to get into his pediatrician right away.
Right away was today. Three days before Thanksgiving, and she gets us in right away. I just love Dr. Sarah. I told her all of the pieces that I’ve pulled together…complaints of headaches, stomach aches, biting nails, “freak outs”, “break downs”, etc. It was amazing to hear him explain how he feels to Dr. Sarah. In fact, he flat out impressed both of us with his insight. He described his “freak out” to be like an earthquake and the “break down” to be like the tsunami caused by the earthquake.
She had him take an anxiety questionnaire. He had taken one a year ago during his initial ADHD evaluation and diagnosis. Last year, he scored in the normal range. Today he scored among the highest she’s seen…meaning…my poor kid is STRESSED! You have to understand…his daddy is his BEST FRIEND. They are TIGHT.
He ended up being diagnosed with Panic Disorder and Separation Anxiety Disorder. I will be looking for a good counselor for him to talk about this, plus we’ve started him on medication. I’m not one to put a child on medication. In fact, we chose to skip medication for the ADHD. Instead I’ve changed how I teach him, have learned coping techniques, and he’s receiving occupational therapy. All have helped him tons. The anxiety, on the other hand, isn’t something that I can completely fix. It could be a brain chemistry thing coupled by the stress of deployment. No one should feel like that…have panic attacks…thus I didn’t hesitate on the medication. Actually I had already researched it (the RN in me) and knew what med was appropriate.
So, I go to bed tonight feeling like I’ve done the best I could today for my child. A piece of me is frustrated with myself for letting this go on for so long, but I just didn’t “see” it. I have to simply let that go…and allow us to sail with the wind.