Can you make out the words on this note written by my 10-year-old daughter?
It says, “I was absent on Tuesday, Feb. 26 because I had an anxiety attack.”
During the typical getting-ready-for-school chaos that morning, Brooklyn was feeling overwhelmed about a variety of things. The last straw was a missing shoe (isn’t it funny how the smallest things can be the biggest triggers?)
She cracked. The tears flowed. She began hyper-ventilating. She felt paralyzed by the idea of walking into school. So, we let her stay home. We de-briefed. We wrote down a list of coping skills that she now keeps a photo of on her phone. There was no shaming, no blaming, and no exasperation. I wanted to normalize this experience for her.
She is learning that we all get overwhelmed sometimes, we all feel paralyzed sometimes, and we all want to give up sometimes. She is learning that our emotions are communicators and when we try to smother and shroud our emotions without addressing the root of them, we can wind up broken. 💔
What’s stunning to me is that I did not coach her on the wording of this note at all. Brooklyn knew she would need an absence note and she wrote this herself, and brought it to her dad to sign. Questions like “should I be telling my teacher about this/what will she think of me/what if the other kids find out” did not enter her mind. Or I guess, if they did, she didn’t care 🙌🏻
I’m so dang proud of her 💙
This next generation of kids being raised up in our country - my hope and wish is that they will have NO hesitation in speaking up about their mental health symptoms and needs AND THEN GETTING HELP FOR THEM ✨ I hope we all come to understand that an anxiety-free life is not realistic. So, let’s talk about it more. Let’s be open and honest and vulnerable (with the right people) about our struggles and our hearts. Let’s be strong for each other. Especially our kids 💙