Our daughter had a remarkable therapy session this past weekend. Like a soft melody, I could feel her confidence shine through her this past week. Perseverance and pride marched through each day as she worked through her exposure therapy challenges. She rocked it! Not only did she use strategies to overcome anxiety, she showed anxiety who was boss! She used her detective thinking skills combined with positive self talk as she persevered through daily challenges.
I knew she could do it. I tell her every single day. As a mom, stepping back and watching her go through challenges on her own has not been easy. We process the challenges each day, reflect on how she feels, rate her levels of anxiety, and we end by sharing how proud we are every single step of the way.
I could not wait to share our daughters successful challenges with the therapist this week. I was so excited, I kind of took up over half of her session time bragging about how awesome she is. Whoops! Now don’t get me wrong, it was messy this week. Working through exposure therapy is not perfect. We had ups and downs on the daily. However, how we act and react in those moments have changed drastically. And it’s making all the difference!
As I’m talking to the therapist, I can see my daughter nervously shuffling through my purse. She managed to find my lipstick, chapstick, and lipgloss… She put it on repeatedly the entire time I talked (and boy do I like to talk…) With a shimmer like no other on her lips, the therapist walked over to her, bent down, and embraced her in an “I am so proud of you hug!” They embraced, laughed, and smiled their hearts content! It was a beautiful scene and I was blessed to be a witness to it!
After my daughter pulled away from the hug, a serious look spread across her face, her eyes darted at me, and her face turned beet red. I looked at my daughter and then my eyes shifted towards the therapists crisp clean white blouse, which was neatly pressed with a bright RED lipstick smile. The stain made me chuckle a little…(mostly because I was nervous.) I gently whispered, “Are you nervous because you accidentally got lipstick on her shirt?” Our daughter nodded and her eyes filled with tears. In that moment the therapist’s reaction was exactly what she needed to hear. “It’s ok honey! I don’t mind at all, in fact I’m going to leave this lipstick stain on my shirt all day. Nobody’s perfect and this is a reminder to me of how proud I am of you. Tell mommy to put away her tide stick!”
Riding the waves of anxiety with our heads held high!