G: "Oh, like Abraham Lincoln and his hat!"
"What?" Mystified Mom.
G reported his knowledge,
"Oh really? Like what?"
"Oh probably important things like volcano eruption warnings and things like that."
Lol. Of course I explained and discussed the reality.
This is a typical conversation with my G. He holds these random facts in his magnificent mind, and blends them with his own interests. His memory cache is outstanding. It's the comprehension/application that gets wonky. Is this behavior a verbal or language processing error, as he often mixes up words or definitions? Is it anxiety-based obsessive thinking? Or is it simply a typical 7 year old imaginative thought process? It's likely a combination, G style. Whatever it is, it worries me in turn. I worry about my own "G anxiety-driven" anxiety. LOL. I fear for his anxious little psyche. I wonder what else he's worrying about. I know that he thinks and frets much more than he relays to me. Often he'll tell me weeks, months or even years later about his worries from a certain time or incident. Many so insignificant that I can't recall the event, but have obviously tormented him. I remind him to share his fears with me or another caregiver when he's scared RIGHT AWAY so we can help. I work on my calming strategies. I try to remain peaceful and not over-react when his queries get far-fetched. I try not to laugh, though stopping his siblings and peers from giggling or poking fun is a challenge. These questions are legitimate horrors for him. He gets hurt and upset when we laugh or don't take him seriously. He closes down when I get alarmed and react.
The results of his odd ruminations range from funny - whimsical; distressing - bizarre. G's OCD weighs him down with a fixation for natural disasters. He constantly asks if tornadoes are coming, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. When we travel somewhere, he anxiously asks if tornadoes happen there. Then asks again. And again, foreboding on. I don't dare watch or listen to weather alerts with him in earshot. Today's "Doppler 6 Gazillion" and sensational reporting sends the common public into a flurry of emergency angst. G with his propensity for extreme "fight or flight" response, spirals into full panic attack if he sees ANYTHING ominous on the weather map, even clear across the country. He sees the arrows and knows weather travels. If he sees a news report on a tree uprooted from a wind storm, he stays up at night nervous that one of the huge trees in the backyard will crash through our roof and kill one of us. I dread days when his reading bag is filled with natural disaster readers and picture books, knowing he's destined for a stormy sleepless night of distress that will echo for days. He's written many stories in his school writing journal about natural disaster heebie-jeebies. I so wish I could ease his mind more than I do. I fear if I connect him with a website or app with stats on disaster realities, it may backfire only to further amplify his apprehension.
So, what to do? I calmly explain the reality. I shelter him as best I can from triggers. I worry about his worry. I re-direct him back to saving what he has control over: his gloves! This is all I know how to do for now.
Just keep swimming...
...and hope there's no hurricane predictions.
As an aside, I came across these books while searching for a volcano image for this post. "My Mouth is a Volcano" is a picture book is about learning manners related to interrupting. I was excited to bump into a book in which interrupting is explained in a visceral, visual way that just may resonate with G and other spectrum kids. Volcano Mouth Etiquette 101. Plus a handy activity workbook! The problem I have is, what if G gets too tied up in the "volcano" aspect and begins his cycle of whirling tornado worry? We'll see. The reviews are excellent. I'm going to check our library. Have you read it?
Got helpful suggestions? I'm always up for been there - done that help.