We tested some new strategies to help Corey overcome her anxieties.
I was treated to a girls weekend by two of my close friends. I was able to say yes because Caitlin and Jackie helped Corey ‘hold down the fort’. Corey gets very anxious when I’m away from her, especially overnight, so we experimented with some new ideas.
1. Video – I recorded two messages for Corey. One would be played during the day reminding her where I was, some of the fun activities she would be doing with Caitlin and Jackie and when I’d be home again. The second would be played at bedtime, repeating the usual bedtime rituals. It was our hope that seeing me and hearing my voice would ease her anxiety.
2. Journal – I explained to Corey that sometimes I might not have cell reception while I was away (we are trying to stop the repetitive texting/calling). Caitlin gave Corey a small red journal with lined paper. I asked her to write whatever she wanted to tell me (good or bad) so she wouldn’t forget what she was calling about and when I came home we could have fun reading about her girl’s weekend. I asked her if she wanted to title her journal? She called it “Memory Journal for Mom”.
3. Calendar – I drew a calendar showing just the weekend days. Each day was labeled by name and date. It also listed what activities were planned for each day. My hope was the visual blocks would help Corey recognize the length and duration of time.
4. Memory Cards – Each day’s specific events/activities were listed on a large 5×7 card. We’ve found isolating the day is less overwhelming.
I left late Friday afternoon. I kept the phone by my side waiting for a text or call. Bedtime came and went and no call. I was excited and curious. Did the video work? Saturday, no texts or calls, which was not a surprise because I knew Caitlin and Jackie had a full girls day planned. Bedtime arrived and the phone rang. Good news, Corey’s voice was calm, we had a brief conversation about her day, she said goodnight and hung up. The girls followed up with a text; they had a very good day, Corey was hot/cold with her emotions but overall she did well. They kept busy but it was rough on their side at bedtime which is why they called. Corey did eventually go to sleep. Sunday arrived and overall Corey had a good day because she knew she was going to pick me up.
The old saying, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ is a great reminder to keep looking for new solutions to whatever challenge you’re facing. Our challenge changes every day. Thinking out of the box is truly the only method I know of to keep moving forward towards what we hope to accomplish. Some ideas work and some fail miserably but if we don’t keep experimenting we’ll be stuck on life’s hamster wheel.
I would say the weekend was a success. Thank You to Caitlin and Jackie; they did a great job managing the weekend and without their help I couldn’t get away. Bravo to Corey, too. She not only did a great job journaling and working through her anxiety but she was also willing to try a new coping strategy. And thank goodness for girlfriends for providing me the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing visit…I even took a nap! xoxo