My meltdown started with the voice mail symbol on my cellphone. This symbol will push my inner panic button every time. Fear and anxiety are predominant emotions in my living on the spectrum. In this case, the fear of the unknown caller and message. I could hear my heart beating in my chest as I called my voice mail. I don’t dare hold off listening to the message because if I put it off, the fear of the unknown message will continue to press on my panic button. Usually, a phone message is no big deal and I can sigh a ton of relief. But not that morning.
It wasn’t a message for me but for someone I know. It was upsetting because I didn’t give that person my number. They were trying to reach someone else through me. This infuriated me being put in the middle. I don’t get many voice mail messages and I don’t want to get any that are not for me.
My world had temporarily been rocked. I was screaming inside. The thoughts that this was a small thing and within my control to delete the message was overwhelmed with my thoughts of invasion of my privacy and fear that I would continue getting calls that weren’t for me. But I had a place to go and a job to do. I wanted to go to some safe corner and rock back and forth; or pace the floor, telling whoever a thing or two, but that wouldn’t have gone over too well in a gym filled with fourth graders.
It got to the point of being almost unbearable as I walked around the gym monitoring the students. I said a little prayer pleading for help. Then, my mind took a turn to the music. The coach was playing Neil Diamond songs. I knew those songs. Back in my youth, I paced the floor to Diamond songs with my wild imagination. I knew most of the words and so I started mumbling them. I “stimmed” to the music with foot tapping. It was working. My heart stopped pounding so hard and I was able to breathe.
The coach began a new activity. At the roll of a jumbo dice with names of exercises on each side, the dice landed on the exericse those who lost had to do. I decided to join those in the middle instead of observing from the sideline.
I did the arm curls, leg lift-ups, knee bends, and touch your toe bends. Now when the dice landed on push-ups, I sat that one out. HA! It was a relief that the exercies were increasing my heart and breathing rate instead of my panic button doing the honors.
I thanked the Lord the crisis had passed. It helped me tremendously to pray followed by the idea of singing to the Diamond songs and exercising with the students. Just things to do to channel my energy somewhere else.
My thinking about the phone message eventually turned positive. I can’t stop whoever from leaving a voice message, but I can delete it with the push of a button. Maybe next time it won’t push my panic button, but if it does, I know Who to call on.