When My Son Told Me His Anxiety Is Like a Werewolf


Walking into the high school with my 18-year-old son (on our way to watch my 16-year-old son perform), he stopped suddenly and squished my cheek. (Squishing cheeks is his most frequent sensory stim. He tells me my cheeks are soft. I believe him because, well, he’s a cheek expert!)

“I think I figured out why I love werewolves so much.”

“Um… OK.”

We started walking again, heading with the crowd toward the ticket sale line, and he explained. “As soon as we started walking toward the school I could feel my anxiety rise; my body felt nervous and fuzzy. Then when we walked in I felt a shift, a change, and I even noticed my body move like in the movies when people change forms, become the wolf. My anxiety has always been like that. I feel it coming, and then I feel myself change no matter how hard I try not to. I can’t control it.”

I stared at him for a minute. As he explained his theory, I watched his body move subtly like werewolves in movies. It was fascinating — insightful, enlightening and useful.

“Wow, that makes so much sense! Do you feel the anxiety now?”

“Oh, yes. Always at this school.” He turned at looked straight into my eyes. “Always at this school.”

By now we had made it to the front of the line. I purchased our tickets, exchanged a few excited words about the upcoming show with the mom volunteer, and then we headed into the theater.

“Well, I’ll tell your brother how much his show meant to you. That you were willing to risk staying in your werewolf form for him. But if you need to leave at any point just tell me. For now, you can control the anxiety — or ‘the wolf’ — by choosing your environment.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

He looked relaxed. He held my hand.

We enjoyed the show.

Follow this journey on Tsara’s blog.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Anxiety

teenage girl lying on grass with her eyes closed

When You Want and Don't Want People to Notice You're Struggling

Sometimes it’s so easy to stick your head in the sand, to pretend like everything is just fine, to smile at the world. People ask how you’re doing, but do they truly care for an answer or is it simply being polite or an automatic question? I’m not sure. But I do know it’s so [...]
Mid adult man holding a pencil

What It's Like to Have a Panic Attack in Class

Another day in class, just a few more weeks till the end of the semester. I look outside around and see people talking. They make it seem so easy. I used to be like that once a long time ago. I enjoy social gatherings, but active participation is not the thing for me. Oh look, [...]
Asian girl standing on top of the mountain

What It Feels Like When Your Anxiety and Depression Go to War

I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was very young, around 10 years old. I was in and out of therapy all through college and graduate school to try to help. There were some incredibly dark periods where I felt the need to harm myself, where I lost my faith and doubted everything [...]
Family Together Christmas Celebration

How to Help a Loved One With Anxiety and Depression Get Through Family Gatherings

During the holidays, you watch television commercials of people getting ready for a family gathering: getting gifts ready, dressing the kids, everyone in the car, you see the family at the door knocking, and Grandma answers it. She gives everyone a hug and kiss and everyone goes inside to see all the other family members. [...]