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Manic Monday #2 – The ANTs Go Marching

Ants are tiny little creatures that are easy to forget about. You don’t see them very often unless they’re scurrying around, gathering food, and getting business done. The rest of the time, they live underground in their little tunnels. They race back and forth, back and forth, always with a specific mission in mind.

ANTs are similar, but at the same time very different. They aren’t always around. You don’t see them often, but when they do make an appearance, it’s never good.

ANTs are Automatic Negative Thoughts and they affect many children who suffer from anxiety. Aidan has them and I hate the little suckers. In layman’s terms, ANTs don’t allow the complete circuit of a negative thought. Most people’s thought processes work like this.

  • Hey, Joe just sneezed.
  • Ooh, I wonder if he’s sick.
  • Wait, I’m sitting next to him. I might get sick!
  • He probably just has a cold. No need to worry, I’ll take my vitamin C and be fine.

When ANTs strike, this is the thought process.

  • Hey, Joe just sneezed.
  • Ooh, I wonder if he’s sick.
  • Wait, I’m sitting next to him. I might get sick!
  • What if he’s really sick? I might get really sick.
  • I am feeling a bit stuffy.
  • Oh my gosh, I’m getting sick!
  • Repeat

The cycle doesn’t complete itself. The thoughts get stuck in the same pattern and can’t resolve the issue causing the anxiety. For the most part, Aidan’s ANTs seem to be in hibernation mode right now. Every once in awhile, a brave one pops it’s head out to see if winter is over, but we have been able to squash them as they come up.

For example, Aidan had the flu last week. For five days, he was achy and nauseous, tired and crabby. He only threw up once – on Tuesday night – but until yesterday we couldn’t get him to eat a few of his favorite foods because “what if I throw up again, Mom?” He felt fine. He had eaten plenty of other stuff, but refused to eat others on the off chance he might throw up again. Last night I finally got him to drink chocolate milk, his favorite beverage, for the first time in four days. He sipped a little, waited, realized he was ok, and drank the whole glass. BOOM! ANT squashed.

I don’t believe they are gone for good, but we’ll keep using all of our tools to spray, squash, and burn them until they’re gone.


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4 Responses to “Manic Monday #2 – The ANTs Go Marching”

Lay it on me