It didn’t occur to me that stress, anxiety, and depression can be brought about by this pandemic. It’s not just us parents who are experiencing these mental health issues. Even children are also susceptible to it. My third child broke down the other day, saying, “I cannot live in this house without going out for another day!” I had to talk to her and ask why she was feeling that way, and her reply was, “I am so sad, mom!”
Why was my daughter sad? I had to let her calm down on her own because she was crying so hard. Her older sister said that I should just leave her alone when she is crying because she hates being comforted while in that state. How come I don’t know my children in that sense? Her sister was the one who told me about how she is, and I am the mother. I didn’t know her. Anyway, when I heard her pop music play, I knocked on her door and asked if I could talk to her.
In our home, I allow the locking of doors. It is a private thing that I have instilled in my children, but I can always open it with my keys whenever I feel there is a need. And the rule is if I knock, they will open. It is absolute.
She opened it and smiled faintly. My daughter went back to her bed and lay down. I sat on the footboard and sighed.
“You were a bit intense earlier,” I said. “Just a bit?” My daughter laughed at her own statement. “Care to share it with me?” I promised her that I would not judge, nor would I make fun of her feelings. She took a deep breath and told me that she feels constricted. Her head was spinning and that her breathing was difficult. She said that she felt locked up and couldn’t move. I asked her what she did to calm down. She said that she still had this faint headache, but what improved her feeling was going out of the house by the patio and breathing in the fresh air.
I think my daughter had a panic attack, and I called up their school guidance counselor for assistance. She talked to my daughter over Zoom, and yes, she did say that my daughter had a panic episode due to being locked down. The counselor confirmed it. Because of this episode, the counselor will have a weekly session with my daughter, just to check with her. This wasn’t her first time to have an attack, unfortunately. My poor baby!
The counselor also talked to me and told me of ways to help my daughter.
- If my daughter will have an episode again, the counselor said that I should be there with her and hold her hand. I should let my daughter know that the episode will run its course and that it will also end. I have to tell her that it will be fine and that I am there for her always. She will get through this – I should say that.
- I should be calm as well so that my daughter will see that and get the vibe. This is not the time for me to join her in panic. Instead, I will breathe slowly so she can follow my breathing. When a person is in panic, their breathing is erratic. I have to show her how it is to breathe normally once again so she can relax.
- The most important thing is for me to be there and listen to her if she needs to talk. And I will. I vowed that I will always be there for her.
Who would have thought that the lockdown can have these effects on kids and teenagers? If it is hard for us, it is hard for them too. And like us, they too, need reassurance and comfort.