A few weeks ago, I was honored to have a piece I wrote for the blog about the realities of anxiety and panic attacks in children, republished on the incredible website The Mighty**. The day it was published, I forgot to click off the web page and my son found the article up on my computer. And he read it. At that point he did not know that this blog existed. I wasn’t necessarily hiding it from him, I just hadn’t decided to tell him yet. I wasn’t ready.
When I walked in to discover him reading my words, I froze. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew he’d have questions. I thought he might be angry. I assumed he wouldn’t understand. I was right about one thing – he did have questions. I was wrong about everything else – he wasn’t angry and he did understand.
He asked me what it was. I explained that I had been writing about my personal feelings, thoughts and concerns as he battled his anxiety and panic. I told him that it helped me to write, and that my hope was that it was also helpful to people facing similar struggles to know that they aren’t alone.
He thought about what I said for less than a minute, and then asked if he could write something too. He said, “I think it’s good what you’re doing. I want to write something too. I want people to know what I think and feel.” He took my breath away.
The next morning he sat down and typed a few words. Each day for about a week he wrote and rewrote. Among his many struggles is a mixed receptive/expressive language disorder. He can talk with extreme eloquence on topics ranging from mythology to American history to religion to Marvel super heroes. But ask him how he feels? He will probably answer in a single syllable. So the fact that he wanted to write about how he feels was HUGE, and the fact that he was working so hard to get his thoughts out in writing was ENORMOUS.
When he was finally happy with what he wrote, I added a few thoughts of my own as a preface and sent it to The Mighty. Yesterday, that article we co-wrote was posted on The Mighty. The editors at The Mighty were gracious enough to post his words without one single edit – his part of the brief article expresses exactly how he experiences life right now. It is authentic, and it brave, and it makes me beyond proud!!!
**The Mighty is an INCREDIBLE website. They publish real stories, by real people, facing real challenges. They are seeking to create a safe platform for people to tell their stories, discover community, and raise awareness. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you definitely should!