I get migraine headaches. Have since I was a kid. They don't hit all the time, but about ever six months or so, I have a week or so where I'm getting them every day.
About ten years ago things got a bit out of control. It was summer and I got these nasty headaches almost continuously. Seriously thinking I had a brain tumor, I went to a neurologist. What she told me stuck with me.
Thankfully, nothing was seriously wrong. I just was stuck in what she called a headache cycle. Basically after having them for a while, your body tenses at the very thought of another onset. This makes the headache worse, which in turn makes you more tense, and so on and so forth.
The whole thing is compounded by fear. Fear that it will never get better and that the pain will not go away. The trick is breaking the cycle, then managing it so it doesn't get to bad. But it also takes a lot of trust...that it WILL get better. It won't be this way forever.
Thankfully, I finally found the right medication. So now, even though the headaches can be debilitating, they no longer scare me. I know that once the meds kick in things will improve. And that helps me ride it out.
Where am I going with all of this? Last night I had one of my AH HA moments. Big brother started to perseverate on something and I felt myself tense up. I knew from past experience that this meant trouble.
But this time it was different. Our therapist was here. Instead of reacting to his meltdown, she just rode with it, like a surfer on a wave. As he cried, she just laid down near him. Both my hubby and I took turns consoling him, using as few words a possible.
It all lasted about an hour and a half. Although it was intense, no punches were thrown, no objects broken. What did come out was a whole world of hurt.
And after it was all said and done I realized that our whole family has been in one of these "headache cycles" for a very long time. On so many levels.
First, because of his disorder, Big Brother doesn't know how to process his feelings. He doesn't understand why he feels so bad and that frightens him. Thus the acting out. The same can be said for his twin.
As for the rest of us, at the slightest hint of a meltdown, our anxiety goes through the roof for fear of what is going to happen. That tenseness just fuels the fire, in part bringing on the very thing that frightens us most.
So what do we do? We work to find our own prescription of aids that will help break the cycle. And then we trust. Its not going to be easy or quick, but just knowing what we're dealing is one of the best defenses against the fear.