Monday, September 24, 2012

Getting Over Fear

Today's gift is getting over fear.

Unlike most children, my daughter does not like to ride a bicycle.  She never has.  I have a picture of her before Rett Syndrome entered our lives of her on her tricycle screaming!  However, if you are on a bike and you have her in a trailer sitting behind you....ride away...she loves it.  It is as if you are her own pedicab driver!  Who doesn't like being "driven" around?

For years in physical therapy sessions they have tried getting my daughter on an adaptive bike for children with special needs.  Guess what....she still has had no interest and does not like them.  Often, after she has tried riding on the bicycle, she will go into an unpleasant situation, leading to a behavior.   Why...because we pushed her to do something she did not want to do.  Because of this, I have not insisted on keeping it up.  I want her happy, not mad.

On the other hand, I know she would probably really like riding a bike...just like her peers.  As promised, I will not give up on her.  However, there is a fine line to walk with her and I know when I am near her "tipping" point.  And it is more than her "tipping" point,  it is her sense of fear....fear of the unknown.  Her body doesn't "know" what it is like to pedal and this scares her.   And at the same time, she has to unlock her hands from the stereotypical handwringing motion so many Rett girls possess to hold onto the handle bars.

Today, at physical therapy, the question of riding a bike came up.  Immediately my head flooded with negative thoughts, as this never has ended happily in therapy.  But then being in a new therapy center, I said...why not, let's go for it.  So we did!  My daughter was a little hesitant at first, but the therapists are incredible about getting her "into" the moment with the most positive words of encouragement and hope.  Guess what....she rode the bike around the center THREE times....and she pedaled....with a smile three times....100% herself!!!! I just want to clarify, she didn't pedal around the center three times herself...she pedaled three times total 100% herself in the three times she went around the center.  Baby steps....perspective....no matter how you look at it....she pedaled...BY HERSELF!!!   Can you say proud Mama???

Wow....she overcame her fear, by the excitement and encouraging words the therapists (and me) gave to her,  as we believe in her!  I don't know if I would say she enjoyed it 100%, but the fact she was holding onto the handles and at times we not only got a smile, but giggles...I would say she wasn't hating it!

There are many things in life in which we fear something and we have to think...is this fear holding us back from enjoying something in life.  If we keep introducing it slowly into our lives, eventually, the fear will go away as we get used to what was making us uneasy.  I hope this is the case for my daughter as we continue to try and get her on the bicycle in therapy.   I would love for her to be able to not only ride around the neighborhood with her brother and sister on her bike, but also her peers.  Until this day comes, I will continue to encourage her in therapy and not give up on her, but help her overcome this fear.

Here are some quotes for today....

A mind focused on doubt and fear cannot focus on the journey to victory- Mike Jones

The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will- W. Clement Stone

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows- Japanese Proverb

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