{image is a photo of Brooke hanging out at Boston Children’s Blood Donor Center, waiting for me to be called in to donate platelets.}

“Thank you again for coming with me to the hospital today, kiddo,” I say into the darkness of her room before bedtime. “It meant a lot to me.”

“I’m glad I could make it,” she says.

I smile.

“I’m sorry you got upset,” I say.

Half an hour into my platelet draw, she had begun to cry uncontrollably. “I feel scared,” she’d said. I’d put her head in my lap and stroked her hair. “You’re safe, my love. I’m here,” was all I could say.

It wasn’t enough.

It can never be enough.

“When I was scared?” she says.

“Yes, baby. Do you know what made you feel scared?” I ask.

She hadn’t been able to tell me then. Maybe now?

“That I felt scared,” she says.

I’d normally chalk her circular answer up to the challenges of verbal communication and emotional identification and …

(and, and, and …)

But there it is.

There, right there, is the very heart of pervasive anxiety.

Feeling scared because we feel scared.

And that is why no platitude in the world can change it.

Not logic.

Not courage.

Not even love.

Because a feeling, born of a feeling, simply is.

And it breaks my heart for my girl.

I get it, my love. I really do.

12 thoughts on “scared

  1. Oh, how I adore your girl. I adore her so very, very much. I thought that it was just me.

    Me: “I feel anxious.”
    Other person: “do you know why you feel anxious?”
    Me: “because, I feel anxious. Um, you know, I feel like that..”

    I’ve always felt so, so confused and unsure when I couldn’t explain my anxiety. But reading this post? It just made me finally be at ease with it, finally understand that the feeling is the feeling because it IS.

    Thank You, Brooke. Thank You, Jess.

  2. My little dude (he’s 4.5, ASD) has only very recently learned what scared means. He’ll say “Dallas a scared.” And when I ask him why he’s scared, his reply is almost always “because I just so scared.”

    He’ll usually ask for “baby Dallas” (holding him like a baby and rocking him) to make him feel better. Or sometimes he just wants a hug, and reassurance that there’s nothing scary happening right now. Both of which I’m always very very happy to give. ❤️

  3. Brooke knows herself well is expressing her feelings. You get it, Jess! Anxiety wraps around you (the universal you).

    Love you,

  4. I’Ve been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder on top of Autism and depression myself. I get feeling anxious about being anxious. The thought chokes my throat that I’ll probably feel this way forever. It just seems so unfair that while others don’t panic over everything, I can’t stop my brain from playing out every possible scenario of what could go wrong at random times. Then, because I’ve thought about all these things that could go wrong, I spend the rest of the day preservating on them until I’m so scared and wound up that I feel like I’ve ran a marathon from all the tension.

    All this just to say that, Brooke, I get it. And I’m so very sorry that you get it because it’s just not fair. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. *hugs*

  5. I’m scared because I’m scared sums it up. I live with generalized anxiety and panic disorders. I get the I feel scared because I’m scared. There doesn’t have to be a reason, sometimes it just is. Even if there is a reason, it can be so simple that it gets pushed aside as a reason (tonights for me- opened my front door to a toad. Promptly had a panic attack.)

    It doesn’t make it any easier to see them distressed like that though (I say this while waiting to see if Mr 2 will wake up with night terrors again. If I can get past the next half hour it should be fine).

    As a side note, not really related to this post but pertinent anyway- thank you. Thank you for sharing your insight into your families life. Thank you for teaching me, even though you don’t know you are, how to understand my son, who is in the middle of being diagnosed.

    Thank you.

    Your stories make me smile and laugh and get teary and realize that sometimes, even with Nate, that I get it. I get the melt downs, and the scripting- so thank you.

    Thank you all.

  6. It’s so cog that she could expressive and show all the different emotions/feelings! So can’t so I am happy she is and this is helpful to a lot of us who read your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Pingback: » scared

  8. I wish my son could meet her. She is the first that I’ve come across that has the verbal equivalent of my son. He speaks (and thinks) very similarly to Brooke. I know EXACTLY what you both are saying. Love to you both ❤

  9. I get it and my heart hurts for your precious little one. I have severe anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD. They all stem from the combination of escaping from an abusive relationship, being hit by a drunk driver which resulted in my daughter’s death and well, who knows why we have the feelings we have? I feel that way at times, sweet girl. You know what I finally found out after all these years? It’s ok to just feel

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