About That Pain…

About That Pain…

A couple weeks ago Hank decided it was all over him. He had this pain he couldn’t explain in his abdomen and he was pretty sure his short little life was drawing to a close. It was nothing that should have caused too much trouble but he absolutely couldn’t shake worrying about it. Why does it hurt? What is causing it? What if it doesn’t go away? What if I have to have more tests? What if the doctor can’t find out what was wrong with him. It was consuming him.

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We got it x-rayed, we went to the doctor, heck, we even had blood work done. The doctor determined he’d probably just injured it during baseball but Hank still couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Come to find out he’d watched some sort of movie about a child that get’s cancer and dies. Oh Henry…Even after I talked to him about how movies can put ideas in our heads he was still fixated on this pain.

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Finally I had the bright idea to ask my friend Kathy,who is a therapist, about it. I told her how he had no reason to worry but he was.

In case you can’t see the picture here was her response: “I would say something like ‘I know you are worried. We have been to the doctor, he has run all the tests he needs, and you are healthy. Sometimes our brains get stuck and we worry about the same thing over and over until it seems real. You really are okay. You need to tell your brain what to do. Tell it you are fine and go do something fun.’

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Y’all! It worked. It really worked. Now I had to say it several times over the course of the next several days but every time he would bring it up I would just pull out my phone surreptitiously and just reread it to him. He’d say ‘okay’ and then wander off.

You should totally find a friend who is a therapist.

The other little quandary we’ve had with this character occurred before we left for Disney World at Space Camp. The fifth graders at Hank’s school go to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for a five day day camp. After graduation the kids were allowed to hang out and ride the rides. All his friends piled on the Space Shot ride and he got on with them. Now he had hemmed and hawed about whether to do it or not and finally decided to go for it. He gets on the ride, they buckle him in, and then they say ‘last chance to get off’ and Henry raises his hand and says he wants off. Whomp, whomp, whomp…I pleaded with him ‘Hank, I’m worried that you’re really going to regret not going on this ride.’ But, he insists that he wants off. So, off he comes.

About thirty five seconds after we get in the car to go home he starts up ‘I should have gone on the ride. Why didn’t you make me go on the ride?’ It reminded me of a tweet I’d seen Jon Acuff make recently:

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‘Regret has a longer shelf than fear.’ Ain’t that the truth. It certainly set us up well for the next week when we went to Disney World though because he went on everything there. Even Everest.

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Let’s just hope he doesn’t see a movie about a kid that dies on a roller coaster or we’ll be back at square one. 

 

 

Comments

  1. Paula, this was totally me as a child! I hated when my parents just told me, “Stop worrying about it,” without giving me a reason. It drove me crazy. I was a smart kid, and I needed someone to explain WHY I shouldn’t worry about it (“it” being nuclear war, Russia, cancer, whatever I saw on the news!). I think your therapist friend had a great answer. You’re a good momma for following through and not dismissing his concerns!

  2. Alice Warson says:

    You really domy age a talent for describing a situation. I was right there with Henry all the way.

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