Buds and I have been so impressed with the techniques Monkey has developed over the years to curb/balance/cope/grow with her anxiety. She gave me permission to write up the ways she’s found that work, in the hopes that it would be insightful for someone else.
Aunt Liz picked out an awesome baggalini for Monkey’s Christmas present a few years back and that bag has become her talisman.
Inside the bag she carries:
1) A stress ball she made filled with flour.
2) Luden’s cough drops that act as a distractor.
3) Her Nintendo DS when she’s in situations where using it won’t be disruptive or rude.
4) Spare balloons.
A few weeks ago our family attended a meeting for the NOAH organization, which was great, but it was incredibly loud in parts, and that led to extreme anxiety for some in our tribe, so Monkey’s adding a few items to the relax tool kit:
* Ear plugs
* A rice-filled stress ball for a different sensory experience
* Chewing gum
* An MP3 player with music of her choosing and ear buds.
We’ve also worked together to be supportive when she’s in situations that she can’t control, but also to make sure she knows she has the right to leave a situation that’s causing issues when it’s feasible.
Monkey also dreamed up a great solution for when she needs help from Buds or me, but she can’t tell us she needs us. She carries a small notebook in her purse, but no pen. If we’re in a situation where she needs support, she asks one of us for a pen.
Simple, discrete, and brilliant.
Some talk therapy was also helpful, and the blessing of time as the hormones from puberty have balanced out, giving her access to more emotional control.
She’s also a child who has always been able to clearly express her feelings, for which we are all grateful.
One additional tool we’ll be trying is a weighted blanket, which many folks report help them with their sleep.
We’re so proud of this bright soul who works so hard to be open to the world, even when it’s tough.