Day 16 (of 183) trying to create empathy for anxiety
Of course we all have anxious moments. New stressors can range from the sudden barking of a dog you didn’t see to getting an assignment in school that you just don’t understand.
But then there is generalized anxiety. It’s tough to comprehend because it’s a bit more than the ‘sick feeling in your stomach’ that I got for my first few years of school (and still get sometimes when presenting in front of big groups)
My wife and I took some time tonight to reflect on some of the things our son has said to help us “see” what he sees. For instance, as I was preparing for a presentation at an ignite event (20 slides; 15 seconds; 5 minutes total: http://www.sor.sd83.bc.ca/Ian%20at%20Ignite35.mp4 my son helped me create a visual to help others see what he sees “when a dog barks” (because it ranges from the dog doing nothing to the dog eating his face – no matter what the size)
We also thought of another analogy – that of trying to walk through a wall; sometimes awake can be an appropriate metaphor for what generalized anxiety learners are working ‘through’:
@technolandy: ‘understand anxiety metaphor’:
Walk though that wall!
You can do it!
We believe in you!
Try it again/try harder!
(Replace wall w class door)
And another visual he identified came from Man of Steel (with thanks to Warner Brothers for letting me use this clip) http://www.sor.sd83.bc.ca/man%20of%20steel%20anxiety%20clip.mov
And of course there is no ‘perfect strategy’ to help these learners walk through their walls (the number one recommendation of slow breathing further exasperates my sons stressors) and we make many mistakes while we try to assist. The nice part is that in many ways, anxiety can be like The Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner – two people that are aware of each other but don’t always share full memories (you can treat the hulk one way and Banner will either not remember or understand) and do need to be treated differently.
The learning/thinking/doing process continues.