Sunday, October 31, 2010

Green grows my anxiety

E. has a co-morbid diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.  In other words, he worries a lot.  This summer, we tried some cognitive behavioral therapy.  It was not all that effective, more because the therapist did not seem to make any adjustments for the Asperger's piece of the equation.  He told us several times that dealing with anxiety in kids is easy.  But it doesn't really work that way in Asperger's.

Before we realized that we would probably be able to do more for E.'s anxiety than this therapist, A. remarked to me that maybe I could learn a thing or two through E.'s sessions.  See, I most definitely suffer from anxiety too.  (And I am trying to address it and will eventually, someday, when I'm sleeping again, read the cognitive behavioral therapy and Asperger's book we have.)

I recently received an email from E.'s school about their desire to form a green team and work on some initiatives.  For those who know me, you'll recognize that environmental issues are high on my list of concerns.  Which means that these are also something that cause me a fair amount of anxiety.  For example: our local recycling does not take glass.  The reason they gave when we first moved here is now moot, but they still do not take it and we haven't found a nearby place that will take it.  I have a very hard time throwing out glass--it is so recyclable--so we have a bunch of it in the garage right now.

Anyway, one idea this email floated was that of "waste-free lunches."  It's an idea I definitely support, something I try very hard to do for myself when I take my lunch someplace, but this is one of those times that my green desires conflict directly with my son's issues.  Right now, E.'s lunch consists of the following: half a cream cheese sandwich, some pretzels, a protein bar, fruit snacks, and a bottle of water.  The sandwich, pretzels, and water can all easily go to school in reuseable containers, but not so much the protein bar and fruit snacks.  They are, of course, individually wrapped.  My big victory, in regards to E., is that the fruit snacks are fruit-juice sweetened and don't contain any of the usual nasty stuff.

E. does not consistently eat everything in his lunchbox and usually requires a hefty snack when he gets home.  But one thing I think a lot of parents of Aspies would say about their kids' eating issues is that you do NOT mess with something that is working.  On occasion E. will eat every single thing in his lunchbox and, more importantly, he's not predictable on which specific items he'll eat on any one day.  So we put them all in there and hope for the best.

So he's not going to have a waste-free lunch anytime soon, not unless I cut out half of what he'll eat.  But now it's something I'll be fretting about until I can quiet that part of my thinking.

1 comment:

Bea said...

Not being quite as anxiety-prone, I disregard the waste-free lunch memos with no guilt whatsoever. It's one thing when it's a matter of choosing between two options that are the same except for packaging - by all means, then I will chose the low-packaging alternative. But eliminating nutritious food from my children's diets solely because it comes conveniently packaged and easy to pop in a lunch box? Nuh-uh.