My Own Anxiety

by Byron on September 24, 2013

Dear Decker,

Last post, I wrote to you about what I thought my major jobs are with respect to parenting you.  One of the things I said was, “Keep you safe until you’re 18.  Or at least as best I can.”

My other job, perhaps equally or more important, is to control my own anxiety while doing it.  The Madeline Levine article I just read in the New York Times says,

“A loving parent is warm, willing to set limits and unwilling to breach a child’s psychological boundaries by invoking shame or guilt. Parents must acknowledge their own anxiety. Your job is to know your child well enough to make a good call about whether he can manage a particular situation. Will you stay up worrying? Probably, but the child’s job is to grow, yours is to control your anxiety so it doesn’t get in the way of his reasonable moves toward autonomy.”  -Madeline Levine, article here

This is going to be especially tough for me.  I’m pretty – unfortunately – cynical about the state of the world.  I think individual humans, the vast, vest majority of them, are wonderful.  I think society and group dynamics are anything but wonderful.  Secondly, I have terrible anxiety naturally.  My brain worries.  I know this to be an issue of brain chemicals.  I often check on you multiple times per night to ensure you’re alive and well.  This made a little more sense when you were an infant.  At this point, however, it’s simply my need to quell my own anxiety.

For instance, right now, I’m writing this blog post from 35,000 feet on a Southwest Airlines plane.  I’m on my way home from my first more than one night business trip since you were born.  I have a fear of flying.  I manage it with meditation, prayer, small amounts of xanax, and positive thinking.

With my naturally tendency to worry and my need to take care of you, controlling my own anxiety as you become your own person in this world will not always be easy for me.  I will do my best.

I love you!  Can’t wait to see you!

Love,

Dad

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: