Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When the Worry Gets Overwhelming

A lot of people talk about gifted children having anxiety. And, truth be told, I see some elements of this in Mad Natter as well.  But the place I see it most?  In myself. I'm raising this outlier, and I'm the sole person responsible for his education. As a result, this more often than not brings about a huge volume of anxiety.

I've written about this before - I randomly get pinged by an awareness of how outside the norm Mad Natter is. It starts a spiral, leading me to wonder at the end whether or not I'm actually capable of raising and educating this child.

I've managed to circumvent this cycle more often than not. I'm able to get in the logical thought that I should talk to a friend about this (usually the lovely Younger Mrs. Warde from Sceleratus Classical Academy), and that brings the stress down. Sharing the worry makes it less - and also Mrs. Warde is able to remind me, this is still the same child I have been quite competently raising and educating to this point, so there is really nothing changed.

Probably twice a year, though - usually at summer break and winter break - I can't interrupt that cycle. I head into full-on meltdown. Mad Natter is working several bridge-level books ahead of his chronological grade, and finding the book that best fits him inevitably shocks me. It's as though in the intervening time I kind of forget that Mad Natter is not an average six year old, and then I get whacked with the hard evidence that no, he is not in any respect an average anything. It's a minor shock when I realize that children are still pretending to read at the age he was reading Frog and Toad are Friends, and that's a shock I'm able to circumvent. Going to the drugstore and realizing that Mad Natter would need a grade 4-5 and a grade 5-6 bridge in order to be working on things at his level?  That's the smack with the dead fish that sends me spinning.

It's like my entire world is wrapped up for this time in Mad Natter's education. How am I going to keep him challenged? How am I going to keep up with him? What will I do if we end up with a ten year old college student? How will he ever find people to connect with? Will he have same-age friends before he's 25? Everything is closing in, crushing me, I panic, I'm scared, and I want to get out of this, but the only way out is through because I can't think of anything else. And so I slog my way through. I remember that I have a plan. I'm going to be working on the curricular options for the next year soon (I've just finished them, actually!), I've purchased things in several year chunks. I'm as prepared as I can possibly be, and if I tinker around with my plans, I can remember this. It helps to talk to Skeeve as well, who reminds me that we can take things one day at a time, and put one foot in front of the other. It helps. Slowly, the haze clears, and I'm able to pull everything together again. It's usually a one-day affair, which is a mercy. It also doesn't come on in full, which is a tremendous help. I can't help but be glad that this is something I haven't yet passed on to Mad Natter, because if there's anything to pass on, I'd really rather it not be crippling anxiety and self-doubt.

This post has been a part of the Hoagies' Gifted Blog Hop: Anxiety. Click here for more posts!