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My Kids Have Inherited My Anxiety

anxiety1There are many things that I do not like about myself. I could write out an entire list that could go on and on. For every good thing that I can find, I can guarantee I’ll find at least two other characteristics that I don’t love about myself. But what happens when you realize that your children have not only inherited stuff that you love about yourself, but stuff that you don’t like as much?

I tend to overthink situations and problems, which leads to a lot of anxiety. I might get this weird feeling in my stomach or an accelerated heartbeat (or both at the same time). One question after another pops into my head until I am frozen; scared to make any decisions.

Now I recognize the signs that both my kids might face the same struggles — something I wish more than anything they didn’t have to go through. But there is a silver lining to it that I have come to realize: I am better equipped to recognize the signs and to help them deal with their anxiety in a way that nobody was equipped to do when I was growing up. I can completely understand what they’re going through and give them real advice on how to handle it.

It’s taken me many years and a lot of therapy to understand how to deal with my anxiety and to silence the voices in my head that make me over think things. Sometimes simply knowing you are not the only one can bring huge relief. (I saw that in my son’s eyes the other day and it made me a bit emotional.)

My focus has shifted from worrying about how I’m passing on my anxiety to my kids (I know, ironic) to helping them not become overpowered by it. I can actually help them learn to live with it. I can help them learn to accept it instead of fighting it (because you’re never going to win that battle). You can learn to be stronger than it. You can learn to not let it rule your life — and that’s the lesson that I want to teach my kids. It’s not about fighting who you are. It’s more about accepting yourself even if there are things that you wish you could change.

So as I’m teaching my kids a lesson, they are teaching me even more than they will ever realize. Because by helping them come to terms with who they are, they’re helping me come to terms with who I am.

Image courtesy of Jeannette Kaplun

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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