Friday, August 16, 2013


As I have been going to therapy with Nicole, I have been learning more about Aspergers and the behaviors that come along with it. A lot of the things that Nicole does and says suddenly makes a lot of sense. For some reason, as I learn more about Aspergers, I start to see Aspergers every where; not just in Nicole, but also in my self and in others.

A lot of the traits that come along with Aspergers, I see in people all around me; my mother-in-law's OCD with cleanliness, my sister's need for order, my own anxiety with sleeping, Matt's need to complete a task, my mother's attention to detail, my nephew's super intelligence, ect... I don't know why this happens, but I am starting to realize that Nicole's behaviors are not unique to Aspergers; it is the combination of behaviors and anxiety that make her different from everyone else.

We recently found out that for a girl to get autism, both parents must have the recessive gene (for a boy, only one parent needs to have it). And since then, I see so much of the autistic traits in myself. Matt has been doing the same. Perhaps this is just a consequence of having an autistic child. For instance, I have anxiety about travelling and it affects me physically; I get physically ill when I am travelling; I don't know why. Matt does not feel comfortable in social situations. For instance, we never have a Birthday party for Matt because he literally does not like them; they make him feel uncomfortable. We start to seriously wonder if we are a little autistic ourselves... but then we remember that we are not super smart and don't have all the other behavior issues that Nicole deals with.

But, one thing that I have discovered is that I have a lot of anxiety. I actually realized this during therapy. The doctor asked me if I had a history of anxiety. I know that my mother's side of the family has anxiety disorders and that my mother worries a lot, but I didn't think it applied to me... until it was pointed out to me that I am a worrier. The doctor told me that my whole body is constantly tense with worry; which is not too out of place in a therapy session because I worry a lot a lot about Nicole. But, perhaps, I have inherited the anxiety disorder that is on my Mom's side of the family. I don't know, but it is one more thing for me to worry about.

So, I shouldn't be too surprised that Nicole has a lot of anxiety when her mother is a worrier. Nicole is afraid of many many many things; the dark, new places, not knowing our schedule for the day, messes, eating, Dano "getting her," people in her space, people touching her things, large crowds, new people, riding in the car, spiders, bugs, long nails, pain, making mistakes, crooked lines, spots, anger, incomplete tasks... to name a few.

So, I suppose, I should learn to manage my anxiety and then I can help Nicole with hers... or, more likely, as I go to therapy with Nicole and learn tactics to help her overcome her anxiety, I can use those same tactics to overcome my own. Or, I can try at least.


Marie said...

I'm glad that you have realized this. Nicole is definitely your daughter and I don't know if the anxiety/worry is a learned behavior or a genetic thing. Maybe a little bit of both. Nicole listens to everything you say and do so if you are worried or don't want to do something, she will feel the same way. This is true with everyone's children, not just Nicole. I see Damon do my same facial expressions and say the same things I do in the same tone. Every mother is going to worry about their child. I think the trick is to not let our children know about all the things that worry us.

Laura said...

You are fortunate to be able to learn anxiety coping skills from the counseling you are going to for Nicole. Wish I had those when I was young. I could have saved myself a lot of worrying. Many things I have had to figure out by myself through my life experiences. And there are others that I still struggle with. At any rate, we all just do the best we can to navigate this life, raise our families and become the kind of person that returns to our Heavenly Father. With faith and effort we will succeed.

Sarah said...

You guys get to learn together, that's awesome. Kids are great for always giving us new opportunities to learn.