Not Robbing Today of Its Joy

22 Sep

A lot of people seem to be upset or dismayed when I tell them that, at this point, I do not have long term care plans for The Princess and that I don’t like to think more than a couple of years ahead in planning for her future.

I have anxiety issues. I always have. Long before getting married or having children and years before I knew I would have a child with autism. One of the things I have learned to do when coping with anxiety in general is to first focus on issues within your control and after that to focus on issues that are immediate or pressing. And for me, that is the best way to deal with the anxiety of issues with autism.

Do I worry about what will happen when The Princess turns 18? Yes, I do. But I have learned that spending a lot of energy and time on that now, when she is five, causes a lot of anxiety and in reality there is very little that I can do right now regarding something thirteen years in the future. There are too many unknown variables in the mean time.

I’ve also found that this kind of anxiety is not only detrimental to my health, but to The Princess’s health and happiness, not to mention my husband’s and the boys’. I cannot take care of my family in the midst of that kind of panic and anxiety. And the fact that it is fruitless, at this point, makes it even more of an issue if I take on too much stress in that way. And if I spend my time in this constant battle of anxiety and unknowns, I find myself robbing today of its joy. I don’t get to enjoy my family in this moment. I miss what The Princess is doing right now. And what happens right now is very important to how things will proceed in the future.

I don’t want to downplay the importance of planning or thinking about the future. It is necessary but focusing so exclusively on it is unhealthy and unproductive. The Princess will only be a five-year-old right now. And I as much as I can’t afford not to think at all about the future, I also can’t afford not to pay attention to what’s going on now and revel in the joy of it.

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