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Managing Stress and Anxiety Around Children After Childcare Accidents

RowingMyBoat

New Here
I worked in childcare for 20+ years, and managed stress from accidents and overload and high demands etc, until a serious accident two years ago that happened while I was taking care of kids. I was the one who got hurt (thankfully?) but it was terrible.

A lot of the ptsd symptoms (sleep, flashback frequency etc) have gotten better with therapy and self care but I remain hypervigilant and very anxious, and especially have a really hard time around groups of kids doing really normal kid stuff and roughhousing.

Summer is really hard and my two kids both have adhd, but they’re in an outdoor day camp that’s a pretty good fit for them. I can’t work right now. A sister and her two kids come to my town for the summer, and I thought it would be manageable by this point to make some group plans with them and other family, since I won’t be the one “on” with all the kids.

But then I got hurt again (a concussion that happened during an outburst by a dysregulated autistic child, the kid of some really good friends of mine) two weeks ago, and now I just cannot relax at all. I’m terrified that I’m going to freak out around my sister’s kids or other family; I feel so close to the edge of panic where I can’t breathe or think straight and everything is gray around the edges. I’m so worried that I’m going to yell at someone or act alarmingly and be known as the mean or crazy uncle.

So I need to cancel a bunch of plans. It’s so stressful to cancel plans with my family. I don’t want to talk to them about what happened and why I’m so freaked out again, I hate the way they look at me and the way I know they talk about me behind my back, I can’t stand being thought of as dramatic and difficult. I also hate hate hate when they worry about me. I feel so useless sometimes, as my role has often been as the child minder and now I really can’t do that. I’m having a huge amount of anxiety about even texting folks to say I can’t come to this or that gathering, and figuring out how to minimize the amount that I have to discuss any of it at all.

Posting here about how anxious I am about all of it will maybe help me get over the paralyzing part of it, and be able to actually do the communication I need to do???
Thanks for listening.
 
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Sounds like a lot to be dealing with. If you haven’t already, it may be worth speaking to your GP. There’s medication you can take that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms (anti-depressants are usually the first port of call). They aren’t an overnight fix - it takes a couple of months to reach a therapeutic level in your system, but life doesn’t need to be this hard.
 
Sounds like a lot to be dealing with. If you haven’t already, it may be worth speaking to your GP. There’s medication you can take that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms (anti-depressants are usually the first port of call). They aren’t an overnight fix - it takes a couple of months to reach a therapeutic level in your system, but life doesn’t need to be this hard.
Thanks. I do take an ssri and did see my gp a few days ago, and doubled my dose since then (I had previously gone down to a very small amount). I’m confident it will help, it just sucks right now while the worst of it coincides with the busiest family time that I had been looking forward to. It was helpful to talk to her anyway as she named getting hurt this time as a ptsd trigger, which helped me realize that a bunch of how I was feeling wasn’t actually about current situation but stuff from before.

Rereading my post I see that I used really potent words like “terrified” and I could more accurately have said like “very stressed.” After posting I talked to my sister (the one I was cancelling plans with) and she reminded me that I tend to get really worried in general about my trauma traumatizing the kids, but that the evidence is actually that they’re doing great. She’s also been around when I’m very stressed around the kids shenanigans and scared someone is going to get hurt, and she says that outwardly I’m really not alarming or mean.
 
Posting here about how anxious I am about all of it will maybe help me get over the paralyzing part of it, and be able to actually do the communication I need to do???
The absolute best way I know of for eliminating triggers/stressors is exposure therapy.

Which is NOT the whole forced exposure, throw the baby in the River to see if it can swim, lock someone in a box full of snakes until they get over it -or die of fright- kind of thing most people think of when they hear the name!!! 🤣

It’s little teeny tiny gradual exposure where the goal is to get just a HINT of a reaction, then back away, fully in control. Flirt up to the edge, back away, move close, back away. Because super weirdly? The more one does that? The more the edges actually MOVE. More, and more, until the trigger is just… gone. Poof.

As someone who works with kids? You have a HUGE head start in this process, because you’re undoubtedly used to both watching & managing kids’ limits. (And the meltdowns that happen when they try and do too much, too fast; the meltdowns that happen when they’re tired, hungry, overstimulated; and the moving target of figuring out how much is too much, when to take breaks, how to set them up for success, etc.).

A whole helluva lot of learning to manage PTSD? Is like reteaching our brains the things it already spent years learning how to do, because trauma has just drop kicked all of those innate lessons outta the park. Treating ourselves the same way we would a child that we’re teaching. (And I have zero childhood trauma. It doesn’t really matter if your trauma was as an adult or child, certain lessons just have to be relearned. Not cognitively, we’re adults, we KNOW what/how etc. But our bodies & brains? Are reacting much like toddlers & teens attempting to navigate the world. Along with accompanying meltdowns, when our stress-cup starts overflowing.

Exposure therapy can be done a whooooole lot of different ways. A really great overview of the process can be read about here >>>


^^^ Whilst Exposure Therapy is the best way I know of to blunt & eliminate triggers & stressors? Learning how to manage stress in general? That Stress Cup is the best, most useful hands down, way to manage both the stress & anxiety (of anything! not just kids, or triggers/stressors, but life with PTSD itself.) vvv

 
The absolute best way I know of for eliminating triggers/stressors is exposure therapy.

Which is NOT the whole forced exposure, throw the baby in the River to see if it can swim, lock someone in a box full of snakes until they get over it -or die of fright- kind of thing most people think of when they hear the name!!! 🤣

It’s little teeny tiny gradual exposure where the goal is to get just a HINT of a reaction, then back away, fully in control. Flirt up to the edge, back away, move close, back away. Because super weirdly? The more one does that? The more the edges actually MOVE. More, and more, until the trigger is just… gone. Poof.

As someone who works with kids? You have a HUGE head start in this process, because you’re undoubtedly used to both watching & managing kids’ limits. (And the meltdowns that happen when they try and do too much, too fast; the meltdowns that happen when they’re tired, hungry, overstimulated; and the moving target of figuring out how much is too much, when to take breaks, how to set them up for success, etc.).

A whole helluva lot of learning to manage PTSD? Is like reteaching our brains the things it already spent years learning how to do, because trauma has just drop kicked all of those innate lessons outta the park. Treating ourselves the same way we would a child that we’re teaching. (And I have zero childhood trauma. It doesn’t really matter if your trauma was as an adult or child, certain lessons just have to be relearned. Not cognitively, we’re adults, we KNOW what/how etc. But our bodies & brains? Are reacting much like toddlers & teens attempting to navigate the world. Along with accompanying meltdowns, when our stress-cup starts overflowing.

Exposure therapy can be done a whooooole lot of different ways. A really great overview of the process can be read about here >>>


^^^ Whilst Exposure Therapy is the best way I know of to blunt & eliminate triggers & stressors? Learning how to manage stress in general? That Stress Cup is the best, most useful hands down, way to manage both the stress & anxiety (of anything! not just kids, or triggers/stressors, but life with PTSD itself.) vvv

Thank you so much for this.
 
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