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OT: Anxiety and Saints

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    OT: Anxiety and Saints

    My ds11 was recently diagnosed with high-function autism and anxiety (previously, ADHD). This fits and explains lots of what we have been seeing and dealing with in our home. Right now, he is doing well, doing lessons most days, trying new things with Dad, and playing a non-competitive sport league. My husband is Catholic, and we decided the boys and I would join the church this year. Ds8 and ds11 have been going to RCIA (for children) since they are not baptized. It has been a struggle, but we have made it to the beginning of Lent and barely through the Rite of the Elect (long story about cursive there!)

    Trouble is ds11 can not pick a saint. He has never been good with decisions, now I know because of anxiety. He is afraid that he will live as long as his saint, can't decide what patronage is most important to him, etc. I tried having him open the book to a page and using that one! Nope. He'd like the patron saint of jellyfish, engineers, and diamonds born on April 22 who lived to be over 100, please. I asked him to think about what kind of service is important to him: helping the sick, sharing the Word, learning about the Church, painting, etc. Well, none of that makes sense to his brain. So, I need two things:

    1. Any ideas or sources to look to, to help him learn to think through decisions and deal with the anxiety that produces

    2. Any thoughts on saints for a Protestant-mom helping his son. I don't care if he picks a saint and am ready to tell them he won't be. He understands the Gospel and believes in Jesus. (He did ask after 5 months of RCIA if Catholics worship God. Oh, my!)

    I don't now that anyone can help, but I hate to ask such a question of my Catholic-mom friends in person because his diagnosis is new and I'm afraid to offend. Please forgive me if I did offend you, but I sure could use some encouragement before I bring it back up with him or my husband.
    Michelle in Central Tx
    DS 12 (4A modified), Ds 9 (4M), DS 5 (K)

    #2
    Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

    St Dymphna She is the patroness of mental disorders. And a great intercessor. Read her story here:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymphna

    At my house, we are quite fond of St Joseph of Cupertino. AMAZING SAINT. He was most likely autistic, given his academic traits and his "fits", so-called. But he was intensely devoted to Christ and became a brother, despite being the poorest student in his seminary. He had amazing contemplative experiences and is remembered for his piety, despite being very simple.

    His story is here:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_of_Cupertino

    PS I'm a convert from the Pentecostal denomination. You can ask me anything! We converted in 2007.
    Last edited by Anita; 03-09-2017, 05:08 PM.
    Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
    Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
    Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
    Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

    “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
    ~Pope St John Paul II

    Comment


      #3
      Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

      Hi Michelle,

      You have a lot going on in your family and I hope that you find encouragement here. I am Catholic and my wife is Protestant so I have some inkling of the struggles you are going through understanding the Catholic world.

      You can share my story with your son regarding my confirmation patron. I chose St. Thomas (the apostle) because of his doubt -- and that meant a lot to me at the time but not so much now. It is okay if he chooses a patron that helps him now. He doesn't know what is in store for him so he doesn't have to have everything figured out anyway.

      St. Dominic Savio is a great patron for boys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Savio The story of St. Tarcisius (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarcisius) appealed to me more as a child though: Another option would be to see if the church would be okay with him taking the Sacred Heart of Jesus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Heart) as his patron. Given your background and that he doesn't know many saints (and therefore won't have much meaning for him), this may be the best route. Personally, even having grown up Catholic, I wish I had thought of that for my Confirmation!

      I wish I had a children's saint book to recommend but I recall long biographical books and lots of conversations at home about saints (both things difficult in your situation) more than a compendium.

      I hope this helps. God bless.

      Paul
      Paul Schaeffer
      --
      Academy Director
      Memoria Press Online Academy

      Comment


        #4
        Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

        I have OCD -- it started when I was 9 but went undetected until I was 14 or 15 (it was mostly interior anxiety until that point so my parents didn't know what I was dealing with before that). I also grew up Baptist/non-denominational and my family returned and/or entered the Church (Mom was raised Catholic, Dad was Baptist) when I was in high school. Congratulations on entering soon!!

        The tough part about anxiety is that it's a white elephant. Tell someone not to think about a white elephant and guess what they'll think about...anxious thoughts are the same way. A good priest once told me to treat it like I would treat a gnat or fly...casually brush it out of my face. Easier said than done, but still helpful for keeping me from fighting away the anxiety with all my might and thereby making it ten times worse

        For the parental side of things...don't come down hard on him when it seems he's being ridiculous (I'm not saying you do, but just sharing years of experience with this both as a sufferer and a parent). It will make him hide it from you and that will cause much more suffering for him. At the same time, don't be a crutch for his decisions. Let him ask advice once or twice a day, but not much more or he'll become dependent.

        For saints that suffered with anxiety, I know many did. St. Therese certainly did -- although I'm sure he doesn't want to take a girl for a patron saint!

        Please feel free to PM anytime about the Faith or his anxiety -- you're not alone in this at all!
        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        DS16
        MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
        MPOA: High School Comp. II
        HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

        DS15
        MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
        MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
        HSC: Modern European History

        DS12
        7M with:
        Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

        DS11
        SC Level 4

        DD9
        3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

        DD7/8
        Still in SC Level 2

        DD 4/5
        SC Level C

        Comment


          #5
          Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

          Dear Michelle,

          Anxiety is a daily struggle for my son with high-functioning autism. I really hope the new diagnosis results in new hope and help for your son.

          I talked to my son about your son's difficulty choosing a patron saint, and he shared that while he likes hearing the stories of saints, the thought of making a special friend in heaven makes him feel as uncomfortable as the thought of trying to make a special friend here on earth. I really like Paul's idea of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, if that would work. Otherwise is there a saint that shares his name?
          Catherine

          2019-20
          DS16, 10th with MPOA
          DS14, 7th
          DS13, 6th
          DD13, 6th
          DS7, MP1 with Barton Reading & Spelling
          DD4, JrK
          DS 23 mos

          Homeschooling 4 with MP
          2 in classical school

          Comment


            #6
            Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

            Originally posted by mymommy1 View Post
            My ds11 was recently diagnosed with high-function autism and anxiety (previously, ADHD). This fits and explains lots of what we have been seeing and dealing with in our home. Right now, he is doing well, doing lessons most days, trying new things with Dad, and playing a non-competitive sport league. My husband is Catholic, and we decided the boys and I would join the church this year. Ds8 and ds11 have been going to RCIA (for children) since they are not baptized. It has been a struggle, but we have made it to the beginning of Lent and barely through the Rite of the Elect (long story about cursive there!)

            Trouble is ds11 can not pick a saint. He has never been good with decisions, now I know because of anxiety. He is afraid that he will live as long as his saint, can't decide what patronage is most important to him, etc. I tried having him open the book to a page and using that one! Nope. He'd like the patron saint of jellyfish, engineers, and diamonds born on April 22 who lived to be over 100, please. I asked him to think about what kind of service is important to him: helping the sick, sharing the Word, learning about the Church, painting, etc. Well, none of that makes sense to his brain. So, I need two things:

            1. Any ideas or sources to look to, to help him learn to think through decisions and deal with the anxiety that produces

            2. Any thoughts on saints for a Protestant-mom helping his son. I don't care if he picks a saint and am ready to tell them he won't be. He understands the Gospel and believes in Jesus. (He did ask after 5 months of RCIA if Catholics worship God. Oh, my!)

            I don't now that anyone can help, but I hate to ask such a question of my Catholic-mom friends in person because his diagnosis is new and I'm afraid to offend. Please forgive me if I did offend you, but I sure could use some encouragement before I bring it back up with him or my husband.
            Hello,

            No offense at all! As a Catholic and a fellow sufferer from an anxiety-spectrum disorder since I was 15, I am particularly touched by your son's story. I'm going to start with your second question. It's a very understandable one, and you've gotten some great suggestions for a saint already. Another option might be a saint we know very few specific details about, such as St. Joseph. Then, your son won't be able to analyze every aspect of the saint's life. If you think it would help your son and not produce more anxiety, you and he could discuss what-if scenarios, e.g. what was it like for Joseph to teach Jesus carpentry? What would it have been like to be Jesus's (foster) dad? Just a thought.

            How understanding are the priest(s) and any other religious leaders at your parish? If the answer is "not very," I want to encourage you to seek out a parish with leaders who are understanding of your son's issues. As you're discovering, just like any other challenge or special need, anxiety can affect all areas of one's life, including spiritual areas. Not every priest (or any religious leader for that matter) is comfortable or able to help someone with those needs. In a way, finding a good priest/religious leader when dealing with ANY special need (from autism to anxiety) is similar to finding a good therapist!

            To return to your first question, there are a wide range of treatments and helps for anxiety, from simple tips and tricks to more systematic therapy to medicine. Hopefully, a formal diagnosis will open up more options and generate specific advice from qualified professionals. It is wonderful that you already have all this info with your son still only 11 and at home with you! Anxiety in particular can go undiagnosed for years, depending on how much it interferes with one's life. Facing anxiety is uncomfortable for anyone, but with your son at home, he has you to push him to complete any therapies and use any healthy coping mechanisms that he needs. Your son clearly has a loving, devoted mom to help him and fight for him; he is in good hands

            Finally, thank you for sharing your questions and story with us, and allowing us to offer advice and encouragement. You are juggling a lot! Know that you, your son, and your whole family are in our thoughts and prayers, and please continue to share and ask questions as needed. I believe at least one other member has mentioned that PMs are an option if you ever become uncomfortable with a public post or want to ask a specific person a more-private question.

            We're all here for you!

            God bless!
            Michael
            Memoria Press

            Comment


              #7
              Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

              I'm touched, as always, by the kind and gracious responses I'm seeing here this evening. I know we've said it before, but this MP community is nothing short of amazing.

              Welcome to the Church, Michelle!

              Michael brought up a fabulous point --- how are the parish leaders? We've actually had this discussion before (with Anita and others), about the need for religious education/support for families with struggling learners/special needs. If you run up against a wall in your own parish, please don't think that the entire Church is like this .... you just may have to deal with a bit of trial and error to find something that's a good fit.

              Other saints to consider:
              St John of God

              Please keep us posted, and know that we are lifting you up in prayer.
              Plans for 2019-20

              DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
              DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
              DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
              DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
              DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
              DS6 - 5 - MP K

              [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

              Comment


                #8
                Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                Amen, Dianna. I am so proud of my MP family <3

                Other Saints to consider:

                Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady, Undoer of Knots -- both very good to call upon in anxiety or worry
                St Andre Bessette https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Bessette A French brother, not academically bright -- he was just a humble French-Canadian porter (doorkeeper) for his monastery but was intensely devoted to St Joseph and performed healings and miracles. He lived to be 91.
                St Faustina (of the Divine Mercy)
                And (my personal favorite) the Child Jesus or Holy Infant -- you can't go wrong here. "The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you." There is no sweeter Friend than the Holy Infant. Jesus, all-powerful, almighty, all-holy, but in his toddlerhood; ready to hold your hand, play with you and curl up in your lap. He is my personal patron and I cannot recommend Him highly enough.
                Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
                Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
                Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
                Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

                “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
                ~Pope St John Paul II

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                  Originally posted by mymommy1 View Post

                  1. Any ideas or sources to look to, to help him learn to think through decisions and deal with the anxiety that produces
                  Hi Michelle,

                  I have found the "What to Do" books from Magination Press to be helpful in our ongoing discussion with our son about coping with anxiety:

                  https://www.amazon.com/What-When-You...coming+anxiety

                  The books are written for NT kids who struggle with perfectionism, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, etc. so they require some interpretation for my son's ASD way of thinking, but they're still helpful. I'm not using them right now and would be happy to send them to you. Just PM me your address if you'd like them.

                  God bless!
                  Catherine

                  2019-20
                  DS16, 10th with MPOA
                  DS14, 7th
                  DS13, 6th
                  DD13, 6th
                  DS7, MP1 with Barton Reading & Spelling
                  DD4, JrK
                  DS 23 mos

                  Homeschooling 4 with MP
                  2 in classical school

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                    I can not begin to tell you how blessed I have been by your responses. I praise the Lord for your help, advice, and prayers! I will consider all the suggestions and have asked if he can consider the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The insight from those with similar situations is so helpful! I do not think like him at all, so it's difficult to help at times. I'll use those offers to PM for help.

                    Michael and Dianna made a good point about a supportive parish. We are in a small town with a large parish as most of the town is Catholic and very tight knit. I don't think they have had anyone ask for special help or such before, but after I asked if we could just do classes at home, they were much more understanding. This is close to my heart because I want the church to be a place he can turn to for help, not just weekly mass. My guess from the past year is that they are uneducated about such needs. I'll ask around about other parishes near us and see what I can find out.

                    I'll keep you posted! Saint paper is due next Wednesday!
                    Michelle in Central Tx
                    DS 12 (4A modified), Ds 9 (4M), DS 5 (K)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                      I'm not sure how well this would work with ASD, but when I went back to therapy a year ago he taught me something that has been a huge help: when the anxiety would come on, seemingly out of nowhere, I needed to stop and do a self-check to see what was REALLY causing it. For example, I was at a friend's house with my whole family (all nine of us) and hers (all ten) plus her in-laws. I was sitting on the couch and suddenly started having one of my usual worries come up. It was getting really intrusive and I was trying to fight it but then remembered to stop and ask "WHY now?" I realized that I was overwhelmed by all the noise and excitement around me and my brain couldn't take anymore. AS SOON AS I REALIZED THAT, the anxious thoughts all but left. They had nothing to do with the situation at hand, but they started playing in my head as a response to it. I so wish I had known this twenty years ago!
                      Jennifer
                      Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                      DS16
                      MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                      MPOA: High School Comp. II
                      HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                      DS15
                      MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                      MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                      HSC: Modern European History

                      DS12
                      7M with:
                      Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                      DS11
                      SC Level 4

                      DD9
                      3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                      DD7/8
                      Still in SC Level 2

                      DD 4/5
                      SC Level C

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                        Originally posted by mymommy1 View Post
                        I can not begin to tell you how blessed I have been by your responses. I praise the Lord for your help, advice, and prayers! I will consider all the suggestions and have asked if he can consider the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The insight from those with similar situations is so helpful! I do not think like him at all, so it's difficult to help at times. I'll use those offers to PM for help.

                        Michael and Dianna made a good point about a supportive parish. We are in a small town with a large parish as most of the town is Catholic and very tight knit. I don't think they have had anyone ask for special help or such before, but after I asked if we could just do classes at home, they were much more understanding. This is close to my heart because I want the church to be a place he can turn to for help, not just weekly mass. My guess from the past year is that they are uneducated about such needs. I'll ask around about other parishes near us and see what I can find out.

                        I'll keep you posted! Saint paper is due next Wednesday!
                        Depending on where you are in Texas, a good friend of mine might have a lead on solid parishes near you. PM if you would like me to find out for you.
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        DS16
                        MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                        MPOA: High School Comp. II
                        HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                        DS15
                        MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                        MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                        HSC: Modern European History

                        DS12
                        7M with:
                        Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                        DS11
                        SC Level 4

                        DD9
                        3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                        DD7/8
                        Still in SC Level 2

                        DD 4/5
                        SC Level C

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                          Originally posted by Anita View Post
                          Amen, Dianna. I am so proud of my MP family <3

                          Other Saints to consider:

                          Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady, Undoer of Knots -- both very good to call upon in anxiety or worry
                          St Andre Bessette https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Bessette A French brother, not academically bright -- he was just a humble French-Canadian porter (doorkeeper) for his monastery but was intensely devoted to St Joseph and performed healings and miracles. He lived to be 91.
                          St Faustina (of the Divine Mercy)
                          And (my personal favorite) the Child Jesus or Holy Infant -- you can't go wrong here. "The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you." There is no sweeter Friend than the Holy Infant. Jesus, all-powerful, almighty, all-holy, but in his toddlerhood; ready to hold your hand, play with you and curl up in your lap. He is my personal patron and I cannot recommend Him highly enough.
                          You know what makes me laugh .... I was thinking of St Andre Bessette last night as well. His story is so very, very sweet. <3
                          Plans for 2019-20

                          DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
                          DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
                          DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
                          DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
                          DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
                          DS6 - 5 - MP K

                          [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                            Originally posted by DiannaKennedy View Post
                            You know what makes me laugh .... I was thinking of St Andre Bessette last night as well. His story is so very, very sweet. <3
                            I love the "little" Saints, Dianna, don't you? They are my favorites. St Gemma Galgani is another friend.
                            Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
                            Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
                            Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
                            Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

                            “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
                            ~Pope St John Paul II

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: OT: Anxiety and Saints

                              Just a note to thank you for your help. Sacred Heart of Jesus didn't work because Jesus isn't technically a saint. Our priest suggested St. Joseph of Cupertino, as some of you had. Ultimately, my son picked St. Jude, who is the one he opened the book to first after saying a prayer for guidance.

                              I really appreciate all your help with the anxiety and autism parts that I am just beginning to understand. Thanks!
                              Michelle in Central Tx
                              DS 12 (4A modified), Ds 9 (4M), DS 5 (K)

                              Comment

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