News Flash: I am not a perfect parent.
Whew, got that out of my system. Hope you all heard that. I'm not perfect. Sometimes I lose my patience. Sometimes I make the wrong decision. Sometimes it's all I can do to manage my own feelings, and I just can't sit there and help the teenlet manage his. If you are a gifted adult with a gifted child, you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about managing my own intensity.
Over the years, I've figured out ways to cope with feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, and having my feelings hurt. But there are still those times when I've got multiple things going on that I'm managing and then someone says just the wrong thing and it sends me over the metaphorical edge. Then nothing works, none of my coping skills are enough.
Last week was one of those weeks. There was nothing I could do to keep my own OEs from sending out warning shots to anyone who came near. My body was on constant high alert, my brain panicking and racing, my senses picking up every little tiny thing (and then the anxiety-prone brain converting it all into self-immolating signals). It's exhausting. And then I have a child who picks up on all of MY anxiety and stress, and it sends him whirling off into his own OE space! Can you say, over-excitability? Oh we can. We definitely can.
What do you do when your own OEs are threatening revolt, but you know that your child needs you to remain calm, cool, and collected? How do you handle the subsequent meltdowns and arguments? Especially when you cannot get away for some R&R to take care of yourself?
For me, exercise really helps. And yoga. And just picking up a book and reading for a while (preferably with music in headphones so I can really tune out). It's more than the endorphins that exercise produces in your brain - there's something about pushing my body to its limit that lightens the OE load immensely. I think in occupational therapy-land, they call it "proprioception" - the sense in your joints and large muscle groups. Whatever it is, it helps. And I really, really appreciate the fact that my life allows me to exercise daily now. Because even in weeks like last week (when the LAST thing I wanted to do was add one more daily chore of exercise) I knew I needed it, and it kept me going and kept me from snapping out of control, and gave me just enough reserve to help the teenlet manage himself (although he's getting SOOOOO much better at doing it on his own!).
I'd love to hear your ideas - what helps you?