Support Thread for Mamas of Kids with Anxiety - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 46 Old 10-27-2010, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to find other mamas who's LO's have issues with anxiety. Dd (5.5yo) has been having issues with anxiety in some form for years and seems to be getting worse.

We're currently looking for a new therapist.

Parenting her has been such a challenge for me. It takes so much patience, and most of the time I feel like I'm not supporting her in the best way that I can.

Is there anyone else out there to offer support?

mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy

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#2 of 46 Old 10-28-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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I have an almost 6yo boy who also suffers from anxiety. He has actually been pretty good lately- although starting grade 1 was bumpy. My DS's anxiety may not be as pronounced as you DD's. I would be interested in sharing journeys.
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#3 of 46 Old 10-28-2010, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an almost 6yo boy who also suffers from anxiety. He has actually been pretty good lately- although starting grade 1 was bumpy. My DS's anxiety may not be as pronounced as you DD's. I would be interested in sharing journeys.
Hi mama!

Dd's anxiety started in the form of severe separation anxiety that just never got better after 18mo. I started back to work when she was 18 mo, (very, very part time). She cried and panicked every.single.time I left starting then, no matter who I left her with (including daddy). She's been in the same small Montessori school (this is her Kindergarten yr) for 3 yrs and still panics at drop off every day.

She has separation anxiety at night even though she slept in our room until she was almost 5. Every night is a battle. Even when she was in our room.

Now that she's a little older and aware of more things, she's starting to get anxiety about other kids noticing her, or laughing at her.

There's more, but I"ll stop here for now.

It's heartbreaking for me to watch her go through this, she has a great, secure loving family... I just wish she could feel that. And she's such a bright little ray of sunshine, I hate to see her suffer.

It's exhausting to have the battles over everything, every day.

Anyway, thanks for reading...

I would love to hear some suggestions for coping (for you and your ds) that you've used.

We got some tools to use with dd in therapy this summer and they seemed to help, but I just didn't jive with the therapist, so we're looking for a new one.

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and darling 2 year old guy

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#4 of 46 Old 10-28-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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We're dealing with anxiety with some OCD-type behavior over here. I'll try to post soon when I have more time.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#5 of 46 Old 11-01-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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My ds is 6, and in 1st grade now. He started having some anxiety type issues when he was about 3. It started with a constant throat clearing "tic". Over the years, that has come and gone... and he also did a head shaking thing for a while.

This year at school has been very trying for all of us. Most mornings he does totally fine, and heads off to school with no issues.... but 7 times this year (so far), he has had major meltdowns in the morning, and we cannot get him to go to school. My husband will drive him to school, and offer to walk him to class... but can't even get him to get out of the car. So far, we cannot figure out what triggers these anxiety attacks, but once they start, it's completely impossible to reason with him.

I have a meeting with his teacher and the school counselor in the morning, so hopefully we can figure out a way to work with him. It's very frustrating to talk to people who say things like "well, he just needs to know it isn't an option to stay home from school." They are clearly not there dealing with him... urgh...

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#6 of 46 Old 11-02-2010, 08:55 AM
 
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I also have a kid that struggles with anxiety. My dd is 7 and her anxiety is mostly around getting sick with some separation anxiety thrown in. We started with a new therapist in August and she has been 100 times better. You know that look of fear or anxiety in their eyes? The way that they carry themselves that you can see but others can't? Where you can tell that they aren't floating through their world happy and content? Almost completely gone. It's amazing. Now, the therapist hasn't really even started to work with her on the anxiety. She has mostly been working to establish trust so that when she does start to push her on the anxiety stuff, my dd will feel safe. But it's amazing how just the process of getting help has made my dd feel so much stronger.

So the therapy is bankrupting us but so far it's been worth it. It's mostly play therapy thus far. We went to a CBT specialist and it just wasn't for us. I can see where CBT has it's place but dd needed way more attention then just that.

Finding tools is just so hard because the anxiety isn't really based in reality, you know? I do think there is something to be said for pushing kids to do things that they are anxious about--so that you are not playing into their fear that there is somethiing to be afraid of. I think working on breathing exercises is really important so that when they are in the moment of anxiety they have a breating practice that will help them calm down. For dd it was taking 10 very deep breaths and doing it over and over until she was calmer.

Distracting physical activity can be really helping. For example, going outside and playing catch. It gets them focused on other things and gets their physical strength/attention on something else besides the adrennilan rush.

Also, breaking down the steps to do whatever it is that they are afraid of (like going to school) into manageable steps can be helpful, so that the goal is to get dressed, put on shoes, get in the car, walk up the steps instead of "go to school."

All of those things helped us to get through the "battle" but I was looking for something that would help us get through the "war" and I think that our therapist is goign to be able to help wth that. She's not going to be able to make the anxiety go away but I'm hoping we can help dd develop lifelong tools to deal with it.

Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#7 of 46 Old 11-02-2010, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your replies...

We haven't had full out refusal to go to school but we have a meltdown every.single.morning. Every day without fail, there will be tears and panic before school. Dd is in Kindergarten but at the same Montessori school that she went to for the past two years. Same classroom, same teachers. Totally safe place for her. Yet... she's panicked every single day. It's so hard for me to not get frustrated, but like Harper said, the anxiety is not based in reality. She asks the same questions repeatedly all morning, "Will I have to poop at school? What if I get too hot? How long will school be? Will it go fast?" Over and over and over and over and over. I've started telling her that my answers will not change and that me answering her doesn't make her feel better, and that she knows the answer. So now she's asking, "Is the answer yes Mommy? Is it yes?" over and over and over and over and over. So exhausting for both of us.

We tried one session of play therapy a few years ago, and I wasn't sure it was the right fit for us. Maybe it was just the therapist? Dd was playing with some animals in a sandbox and I felt like the therapist was over analyzing everything she was doing (like, see how the shark is going after the dog? That means she's afraid of something...)

Then this summer we did a few sessions with a therapist who uses CBT which seems to sort of work with dd. We named her worry, "Little Worry Bug" and we all talk to Little Worry Bug and tell her that she doesn't tell the truth, tries to get dd to worry, etc. Dd is only 5.5, and very imaginative, so it works for now, but she is really compassionate too and is now worried that Little Worry Bug will die if we ignore her...

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#8 of 46 Old 11-02-2010, 11:02 PM
 
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My ds is 6.5 and was DXed with ADHD with mild anxiety last year - after causing such a horrible scene at his Consecration that I had to take him off the bimah (stage? altar? pulpit? I forget what they call it in churches).

I know that the two things play off each other, but seriously, the trouble caused by the ADHD is nothing compared to the constant pain and humiliation of the anxiety. He could not succeed in preschool. He is homeschooled (and doing great academically, and I love homeschooling and plan to continue with all my kids, but he fact remains that if something happened and I could no longer do it he would be in HUGE trouble and that worries me). Occupational therapy helped a bit (but all his therapy peers had ASD - that is how disabling this "mild" anxiety is). The ASD kids went off to public school where their continuing therapy is covered, and DS and I are continuing to put on foot in front of the other with Religious school, a co-op, zoo class, basketball just starting up now...

Things are better than they were a year ago, truly. But I didn't understand the saying "hell is other people" until I found myself parenting a kid with anxiety To watch his peers shrink away from him kills me inside. Again, it's gotten better, but his anxiety disorder is the single most horrible thing that I've ever had to face, and as far as I can tell, he feels the same way. It's like a demon takes over his brain (his words). We've tried medications, but he was a total zombie - still anxious I think, but chemically restrained from acting on it. The plan right now is to keep on keeping on, and hope that the improvement we've seen in the past year continues.

Wow. This is a depressing post. But anyhow, OP, you are not alone.
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#9 of 46 Old 11-03-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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Thanks for all your replies...

We haven't had full out refusal to go to school but we have a meltdown every.single.morning. Every day without fail, there will be tears and panic before school. Dd is in Kindergarten but at the same Montessori school that she went to for the past two years. Same classroom, same teachers. Totally safe place for her. Yet... she's panicked every single day. It's so hard for me to not get frustrated, but like Harper said, the anxiety is not based in reality. She asks the same questions repeatedly all morning, "Will I have to poop at school? What if I get too hot? How long will school be? Will it go fast?" Over and over and over and over and over. I've started telling her that my answers will not change and that me answering her doesn't make her feel better, and that she knows the answer. So now she's asking, "Is the answer yes Mommy? Is it yes?" over and over and over and over and over. So exhausting for both of us.

We tried one session of play therapy a few years ago, and I wasn't sure it was the right fit for us. Maybe it was just the therapist? Dd was playing with some animals in a sandbox and I felt like the therapist was over analyzing everything she was doing (like, see how the shark is going after the dog? That means she's afraid of something...)

Then this summer we did a few sessions with a therapist who uses CBT which seems to sort of work with dd. We named her worry, "Little Worry Bug" and we all talk to Little Worry Bug and tell her that she doesn't tell the truth, tries to get dd to worry, etc. Dd is only 5.5, and very imaginative, so it works for now, but she is really compassionate too and is now worried that Little Worry Bug will die if we ignore her...
Sounds exactly like my dd. Exactly. What we found with the CBT specialist that we saw was that it was like a factory. She wasn't interested in dd or any of us at all. She just wanted to give us the tools (like those listed above) and send us on our way. What we ended up with was a kid that said "Dumb is telling me I am going to get sick" instead of "Am I going to get sick." And neither of those things were fruitful. We had a bit of a honeymoon after the first two appointments but then it all just came flooding back and I didn't like the CBT therapist at all so we stopped going.

Our new therapist really isn't doing that kind of analysis--at least not out loud! We talk for part of the session and then they play. She probably had about six session with dd before we saw her alone. She definitely picked up things from her play but it wasn't overanalytical. It all made perfect sense to me. We've been seeing the new therapist pretty regularly since August and the questions have completely stopped. So has the fear of going to school.

One of the things that we did about the constant questions that had short term success was ignoring them completely. I would make a statement that covered the worried and then tell her that I wasn't going to answer. When the questions came, I changed the subject and instead said something like "Time to put your shoes on." It would definitely work some of the time. We would just keep moving forward and moving forward and trying to leave her "worry brain" behind. But, for us, these little games were not long term solutions and that's what we are hoping to get from our new therapist.

Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#10 of 46 Old 11-03-2010, 10:00 AM
 
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My ds is 6.5 and was DXed with ADHD with mild anxiety last year - after causing such a horrible scene at his Consecration that I had to take him off the bimah (stage? altar? pulpit? I forget what they call it in churches).

I know that the two things play off each other, but seriously, the trouble caused by the ADHD is nothing compared to the constant pain and humiliation of the anxiety. He could not succeed in preschool. He is homeschooled (and doing great academically, and I love homeschooling and plan to continue with all my kids, but he fact remains that if something happened and I could no longer do it he would be in HUGE trouble and that worries me). Occupational therapy helped a bit (but all his therapy peers had ASD - that is how disabling this "mild" anxiety is). The ASD kids went off to public school where their continuing therapy is covered, and DS and I are continuing to put on foot in front of the other with Religious school, a co-op, zoo class, basketball just starting up now...

Things are better than they were a year ago, truly. But I didn't understand the saying "hell is other people" until I found myself parenting a kid with anxiety To watch his peers shrink away from him kills me inside. Again, it's gotten better, but his anxiety disorder is the single most horrible thing that I've ever had to face, and as far as I can tell, he feels the same way. It's like a demon takes over his brain (his words). We've tried medications, but he was a total zombie - still anxious I think, but chemically restrained from acting on it. The plan right now is to keep on keeping on, and hope that the improvement we've seen in the past year continues.

Wow. This is a depressing post. But anyhow, OP, you are not alone.
Wow. That sounds much worse then just a "mild" anxiety. I hope you continue to see improvements. There are definitely kids that outgrow it. My nephew had serious anxiety issues when he was my dd's age and he outgrew them without professional intervention. I just couldn't wait and i was too afraid that they woudl get worse instead of better. We're all doing the best that we can, you know?

Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#11 of 46 Old 11-03-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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It's heartbreaking for me to watch her go through this, she has a great, secure loving family... I just wish she could feel that. And she's such a bright little ray of sunshine, I hate to see her suffer.
I feel this way about my son. He holds it together at school, and has milder anxiety than others posting here about their kiddos in that he doesn't have panic attacks or anything, his is like a constant low level anxiety about things. He did have a puking phobia we sent him to play therapy for that he worked through, but then it seemed like he wasn't getting much out of the play therapy so we stopped and he's been acting the same since we stopped and hasn't said yes when I ask if he wants to go back, so for now he's not going. He has pretty noticable (at least at home - out in public and in school, he keeps it under the surface and then lets it all out when he's safe here) performance anxiety/perfectionism, and worries a lot about whether his friends like him or not - which seems so crazy to us around him ebcause he's such a great kid. To adults who meet him he is a bright, outgoing, kind, helpful kid who lights up a room; to friends he's the good guy who will help them out if they need it and makes them laugh, and is smart and knows stuff... but inside he's like this little tortured sould who never feels like he's good enough.

His impossibly high standards for himself (both academically and socially) were not imposed by us...though I have learned through a lot of reading I've done that my husband's and my mild perfectionism may have subconsciously dug its way into his brain, even though we have always been supportive and positive of his efforts, we often will comment about how things we do aren't quite the way we wanted them, or when he was littler and would try and get frustrated over doing something, we'd then just do it to get it done, so while we didn't browbeat him and break his spirit by putting him down or having too high standards for him *ourselves*, the way we framed our own lives and experiences may have given him the model for being hard on himself.

The funny thing is, both DH and I are pretty hard on ourselves, but I have a pretty good self esteem in general, and DH does not. I have NO idea how I got the contradiction of being a perfectionist but thinking that overall I'm a prety damn good person. I just wish I could figure it out so I could help my son. All the 'traditional' ways to help kids like this do NOT work with him, he sees right through the tricks and refuses to participate in any 'make mistakes' exercises, etc. His play therapist said that he was really advanced in perceiving other people's emotions and he "just gets it" ("it" being things from social nuances to advanced vocabulary, etc.), which is a comment I've heard from numerous people. Others have called him 'an old soul', and sometimes I fele like that describes him, BUT the torture for him comes from having that old soul in a young/very energetic body with a young brain that is still immature and developing and trying to work all this contradiction out.

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#12 of 46 Old 11-03-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The funny thing is, both DH and I are pretty hard on ourselves, but I have a pretty good self esteem in general, and DH does not. I have NO idea how I got the contradiction of being a perfectionist but thinking that overall I'm a prety damn good person. I just wish I could figure it out so I could help my son. All the 'traditional' ways to help kids like this do NOT work with him, he sees right through the tricks and refuses to participate in any 'make mistakes' exercises, etc. His play therapist said that he was really advanced in perceiving other people's emotions and he "just gets it" ("it" being things from social nuances to advanced vocabulary, etc.), which is a comment I've heard from numerous people. Others have called him 'an old soul', and sometimes I fele like that describes him, BUT the torture for him comes from having that old soul in a young/very energetic body with a young brain that is still immature and developing and trying to work all this contradiction out.
Have you read The Highly Sensitive Child? I'm reading it right now and it is my daughter exactly. Sounds like your DS fits the description too.

I'm a perfectionist as well and it's caused me a lot of pain and suffering in my life and I hate seeing my dd going through the same thing.

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#13 of 46 Old 11-03-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Hello all.

I have moved this over to Special Needs Parenting where I think that you will find a lot more support.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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#14 of 46 Old 11-04-2010, 03:06 AM
 
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I think I need to pick up a copy of The Highly Sensitive Child.

My DD (nearly 5) has had severe separation anxiety since about 7 months old. It's slowly gotten better over the past year. For her first 2 years at preschool there were tears at every drop-off and refusals to go to school. Yet when I asked her after class she always said she had fun. I learned over time not to give her too much time to think about upcoming partings or events. On days when we have preschool or when her interventionist comes here, I keep her busy. She knows she has these things but doesn't get much time to over-think it. The more idle time she has to think the more she worries about things.

Even then, she still tells me many times a day how much she misses her dad who has gone to work. Or asks to see her Nana who is here almost daily and sometimes just needs a break from the intensity. It's hard to really understand that for her, living in the present the way she does and not really being able to take experience from one context to another, that she is literally never 100% sure that we'll come back when we leave her at school, at therapy, etc. Even though she's done it hundreds of times and we've ALWAYS come to get her, she's just never 100% sure. I've learned to accept that right now this is who she is. This little girl living in the present with only a dim understanding of the future needs a level of reassurance most kids just don't need.

Things that have helped our partings or transitions:
- goodbye ritual that is always the same. Based on "The Kissing Hand" story, I kiss her hand and she kisses mine and we literally pocket our kisses.
- in the past I've given her a "precious" item of mine to hold for the time we're apart asking her to look after it until I come back to get it
- constant verbal reassurance asking her what happened last time we went to X or to school. Did I come back? Do I always come back? etc
- physical play before the event. Keeping her active and busy helps her release some of that pent-up worry energy

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#15 of 46 Old 11-04-2010, 08:21 AM
 
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I feel this way about my son. He holds it together at school, and has milder anxiety than others posting here about their kiddos in that he doesn't have panic attacks or anything, his is like a constant low level anxiety about things. He did have a puking phobia we sent him to play therapy for that he worked through, but then it seemed like he wasn't getting much out of the play therapy so we stopped and he's been acting the same since we stopped and hasn't said yes when I ask if he wants to go back, so for now he's not going. He has pretty noticable (at least at home - out in public and in school, he keeps it under the surface and then lets it all out when he's safe here) performance anxiety/perfectionism, and worries a lot about whether his friends like him or not - which seems so crazy to us around him ebcause he's such a great kid. To adults who meet him he is a bright, outgoing, kind, helpful kid who lights up a room; to friends he's the good guy who will help them out if they need it and makes them laugh, and is smart and knows stuff... but inside he's like this little tortured sould who never feels like he's good enough.

His impossibly high standards for himself (both academically and socially) were not imposed by us...though I have learned through a lot of reading I've done that my husband's and my mild perfectionism may have subconsciously dug its way into his brain, even though we have always been supportive and positive of his efforts, we often will comment about how things we do aren't quite the way we wanted them, or when he was littler and would try and get frustrated over doing something, we'd then just do it to get it done, so while we didn't browbeat him and break his spirit by putting him down or having too high standards for him *ourselves*, the way we framed our own lives and experiences may have given him the model for being hard on himself.

The funny thing is, both DH and I are pretty hard on ourselves, but I have a pretty good self esteem in general, and DH does not. I have NO idea how I got the contradiction of being a perfectionist but thinking that overall I'm a prety damn good person. I just wish I could figure it out so I could help my son. All the 'traditional' ways to help kids like this do NOT work with him, he sees right through the tricks and refuses to participate in any 'make mistakes' exercises, etc. His play therapist said that he was really advanced in perceiving other people's emotions and he "just gets it" ("it" being things from social nuances to advanced vocabulary, etc.), which is a comment I've heard from numerous people. Others have called him 'an old soul', and sometimes I fele like that describes him, BUT the torture for him comes from having that old soul in a young/very energetic body with a young brain that is still immature and developing and trying to work all this contradiction out.
Wow! This is practically my ds2. He's 9 and is in 4th grade, but the things that come out of his mouth are often well beyond his years. His humor is definately well beyond his years as well.

He's gifted with a learning disability and he also hates hates hates making mistakes and is so worried about "looking stupid." Last year we had a hard time getting him on the bus. He would cry in the morning, have night terrors, wouldn't sleep and would be so tired and frustrated. It was so hard to get through the day for him, and just the thought of all that anxiety at 9 breaks my heart. I know how it feels.

We finally got him on an IEP, and that did help some. But this year, he had to change schools for redistricting, and it started all over again. They hadn't put anything about his anxiety in his IEP last year, but at the IEP meeting this year, I had them add it. So hopefully he'll have more support at school about to deal with those moments when he feels like he's going to just shut down.

 
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#16 of 46 Old 11-04-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread. I'm dealing with anxiety issues in my 6 yo DD and right now, they're kicking my butt. I swear this has been one of my biggest parenting challenges ever!

DD has always been "sensitive" and more easily scared than my other children. But her fears didn't really veer outside the realm of normal until this past summer. What started as a fear of the dark (quite normal) expanded into fear of being alone in ANY setting.

Now she won't be on a floor of the house that no one else is on, even to just dash upstairs to grab something. She won't go out to the car alone to get her shoes, won't go 3 doors down the street with me WATCHING her walk to meet up with her other sibs to play. She cries every.single.morning before school and often for hours AT school about being separated from me, Dad, and from her brothers and sisters. And she's only in school for 4 hrs. a day, 4 days a week b/c she's homeschooled the rest of the time (charter school.)

As if all that wasn't enough, she has a peanut allergy and 2 weeks ago, she was inadvertently exposed via cross-contamination and ended up in the ER with an anaphylactic reaction. You can imagine what this has done for her overall anxiety level! Now she refuses to eat anything unless she can watch me prepare it and even so, she cries multiple times a day because she's afraid of peanuts. We don't even have any peanuts in the house, but this doesn't reassure her.

I recently finished the book "Freeing Your Child From Anxiety" which had some good CBT techniques and relaxation things to try -- she likes the balloon blowing exercise and it does seem to calm her down when she melts down. We've met with one therapist, who confirmed the anxiety dx, but couldn't continue meeting with her b/c her openings didn't work for our schedule. Need to call the other 3 people on the list. I also attend a monthly support group of parents in my children's school whose kids who require more "involved" parenting , and they gave me a couple of good suggestions that I plan to try out.

They were:
1. Let her have a small object (on a bracelet or necklace or in her pocket) to handle and rub when she feels scared.
2. Create a mantra or affirmation of a few lines and repeat it to her every day and have her repeat it to herself, something like this:

"My name is ______.
I am a 1st grade girl.
I like butterflies and school.
I am strong and brave."

So far, we haven't had ANY success with the concept of the Worry Bug, but I do think I can use CBTs of desensitizing her to the peanut phobia -- the book gave some good, concrete suggestions about that which I plan to try. The separation anxiety is harder to fight, though, and is infinitely more frustrating. Her world is shrinking before my very eyes, and she really would like mine to shrink along with it (i.e. never leave her for any reason, ever.)

Nice to chat with others who are dealing with this, too.

Guin

caffix.giftoddler.gifnocirc.gifBusy, grateful mama to: Kieran (12); Hanna (10); Cameron (8);
Charlotte (6);Sophie (5) Down Syndrome & so beautiful! brokenheart.gif(9/08), & rainbow1284.gifDuncan 8/26/09
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#17 of 46 Old 11-04-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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My dd just turned 7 and has anxiety issues (along with SPD, a severe visually impairment, apraxia, hypotonia, and NVDL). It is only in the last month that someone has been able to put a label to what the behavior is. In the last year things have really started to intensify and what started as just repeatedly asking the same question over and over again, like her brain was stuck on a subject, now she will say that everything makes her nervous and she is needed lots of reassurance before doing just about anything. It hasn't yet stopped her from doing anything but the anxiety beforehand is pretty intense. Our developmental pediatrician referred us to a behavioral psychologist. Does anyone have any recommendations of what type of doctor to see? There is so many options, I'm confused on what is the best fit.

Michele - Homeschooling mom to Hadley, (10/03 - the 23 week preemie miracle) and Noah, (08/05)
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#18 of 46 Old 11-04-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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My son is almost 10 and he has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. His anxiety is pretty bad right now, or maybe we are just noticing it more now that the bipolar is mostly controlled by meds. He is scared of being alone in a room, or on a floor of the house. He is scared of lots of things that children his age wouldn't be. It is very hard to find help where we are (Ontario, Canada) so at this point we are just dealing with it as best we can and trying to be there for him.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#19 of 46 Old 11-06-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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My youngest dd is 8 and has an official diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder & currently a learning disability NOS (about to start further testing through the school to pinpoint that one).

She'd always been a very, very sensitive child but she broke her arm twice with in 10 months, the second time was a compound fracture where her arm was badly deformed, bones out & she needed emergency surgery to put her arm back together. She ended up with PTSD from all that & her anxiety went through the roof.

Really it just breaks my heart to see her like this. She has bad anxiety attacks where she can't breathe. She has nightmares from the ptsd so she gets very anxious before bed. Any mildly stressful situation leads to a full breakdown. Halloween was awful. She was too afraid & anxious to knock on doors. My 11 year old dd & I helped her out. She constantly lives in fear of breaking her arm again or some sort of serious injury. In her mind, it's not if she'll break it again, but just when.

I just wish she could enjoy being a kid.

She's been in therapy since the summer. It's sand play therapy & just regular talk therapy. We got really lucky & found an awesome therapist who I love. She still has a ways to go but I have seen progress, too.

She's about to start testing at school for the learning disability. She had psych testing over the summer that was extremely upsetting so I worry about the school testing but we need to do it so she can receive services there, too.

Stephanie, mom to 3 big girls ('94, '99 & '02) and to my little guy (12/30/09) intact & CD'ed!
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#20 of 46 Old 11-11-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere View Post

They were:
1. Let her have a small object (on a bracelet or necklace or in her pocket) to handle and rub when she feels scared.
2. Create a mantra or affirmation of a few lines and repeat it to her every day and have her repeat it to herself, something like this:

"My name is ______.
I am a 1st grade girl.
I like butterflies and school.
I am strong and brave."
 
 
 
 

We did these two things with dd as well. She had a necklace that I would encourage her to rub when she was feeling anxious. It was helpful--especially when she started to put her hands in her crotch whenever she was anxious! This was a good way to stop that quickly. We also tried the affirmation but didn't have as much luck. She just wasn't buying it, you know? She would say it over and over again but it didn't really make the anxiety stop.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by hadleys_mom View Post

Our developmental pediatrician referred us to a behavioral psychologist. Does anyone have any recommendations of what type of doctor to see? There is so many options, I'm confused on what is the best fit.


There are so many options but I think the most important thing is that it is someone who you like and trust. I guess that seems like a no-brainer but we took dd to a therapist that I didn't like. I had no reason not to trust her but that came pretty quickly behind not liking her. She was a childhood anxiety CBT specialist which was what I thought we needed. But it turned out to feel like a factory. They had no interest in dd and her anxietys or our family. It was just step one, step two, step three. Dd didn't respond well to it. She is very verbal and analytical and there were times when I felt like she was outsmarting the therapist and she would just move on without addressing what dd was talking about. When we took her to someone who specialized in children but not anxiety per se, she was so much more engaging with dd about a variety of things. AND, dd responded to her almost immediately. When I was interviewing therapists, they would all spend A LOT of time on the phone with me before setting up the first appointment. (I only had one that said that I had to come in for a visit to talk and that that visit would cost $250. Um no.) We got lots and lots of recommendations both from friends and from her school. After the first therapist, I just trusted my instincts when I was talking to someone on the phone. I understood then how important it would be for me to really like them--not just respect their credentials. The anxiety books all say you have to pick someone that says "CBT" but my therapist said that's just because it's the CBT people are the ones writing the books and that there are many other ways to work with anxiety. Good luck.

Quote:

Originally Posted by girlzmommy00 View Post

I just wish she could enjoy being a kid.

She's been in therapy since the summer. It's sand play therapy & just regular talk therapy. We got really lucky & found an awesome therapist who I love. She still has a ways to go but I have seen progress, too.

 

 

This was just how I felt about dd. Like she wasn't enjoying her childhood. I am so glad you found an awesome therapist. So did we. And since she's been going, dd is really acting so much more like a normal kid. She just moves through her world with so much more ease than she had before. We're working now in therapy on pushing her in some directions that she is uncomfortable with and that make her anxious--sleeping without her daddy and me and dh going out and leaving her with her grammy. Neither of things are too terribly important to us but this is part of the therapy. In order to teach her the tools to deal with anxiety, we need to manufacture it in a controlled setting. So far so good.


Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#21 of 46 Old 11-11-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harper View Post


We did these two things with dd as well. She had a necklace that I would encourage her to rub when she was feeling anxious.

<snip>

We also tried the affirmation but didn't have as much luck. She just wasn't buying it, you know? She would say it over and over again but it didn't really make the anxiety stop.

I tried to get my son to listen to a meditation for kids CD that I got, that had calming techniques, and affirmations on it, and he FLATLY REFUSED.  I got the book, "When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough", and he won't go through it with me.  He just does not want any help in finding ways to cope with his perfectionism/anxiety.  His way of coping is to verbally beat himself up and freak out about potential situations...I wish he would accept that there are healthier ways, and let someone help him - if not me, someone else.  sigh.  He does NOT want to confront this at all; which when I think about it, I can hardly blame him, he's not even 7 years old and that's a hell of a thing to tackle, I don't even want to tackle my own problems with similar things.

 

He found, in a memory box of mine that I was looking at, a worry stone I had form years ago, and was VERY interested in that when I told him he could have it in his pocket and rub it whenever he was nervous or upset about something.  Soooooo, we'll see if that helps him.

 

He is currently a little tweaked out about the focus the school has been having on bullying - it's great that they're tackling it head on and discussing it more/focusing on it, but for my kiddo he's now really obsessing and extrapolating situations in which he's potentially going to get bullied and having anxiety about that.  Poor kid.  We have parent-teacher conferences in a couple weeks and I might ask if it's going ot be a year-long thing or just a temporay thing, the increased focus on discussions...cause if it's going to be year long, I might find out if there's something he could do instead sometimes so it's not being refreshed in his mind over and over and over again. Sigh. 


Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#22 of 46 Old 11-14-2010, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do any of your anxious kids have sensory issues as well?  Dd has both and I struggle sometimes to understand if one causes the other or vice versa.  Dd has always been super sound sensitive, clothes and shoes have been a big issue lately too. 

 

I am reading the Highly Sensitive Child and also have The Out of Sync Child and both seem at odds with what to do to help the child...

 

Thoughts?


mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy

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#23 of 46 Old 11-14-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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I am so glad I found this thread!  I don't have time to read/type right now but I'm posting so I remember to come back and read.  My DD (5yo) is dealing with anxiety issues.  Just scanning what you all have written here makes me realize we are not alone.  

 

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#24 of 46 Old 11-14-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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I'm curious - those that have had such a turnaround with therapy - what do you attribute it to?  A trusting relationship with an adult outside the family dynamic?  Specific tools?  My 10 year old DD just started therapy  - she has had three sessions so far and tonight she lay in bed sobbing that Monday was coming yet again (I'm sure many here know that experience).  I have an early meeting tomorrow which is absolutely the kiss of death for her - a Monday morning without Mom.  My husband does his best, but for whatever reason, the security of having me here and the stronger boundaries I tend to set (she knows she is going to school when I'm home, but sometimes she can get my husband to give in) is more important than ever.  I don't understand it because she is not a kid who had typical separation anxiety, but she has gone through intense cycles of it.  We have been in a cycle since the start of school and it seems to be getting worse instead of better - have others seen that?  That what used to cycle through quicker gets longer and longer with age or successive cycles?  Also, besides the Highly Sensitive Child and Out of Sync (I've read both) does anyone have any other good book recommendations?  For me or for DD?

 

I really love her therapist so far - seems like a mix of play and talk therapy and SHE loves her therapist too, but I don't see progress yet and I'm so desperate to see some progress.  My DD's primary anxiety is throwing up, but it seems to me more that she is anxious about being in any situation that is out of her control and comfort zone.  

 

I just feel so lost with this.  It is so incredibly hard.  It was really good to stumble on this thread tonight, just to know there are others who get it.

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#25 of 46 Old 11-15-2010, 06:27 AM
 
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You know, I'm not sure what exactly they did in therapy, and I he didn't actually say anything about not being afraid of throwing up anymore per se, but he started eating regular foods again without crying at the table and picking things completely apart, and he was only mildly anxious about going on a field trip on a bus about 5 months after he started therapy for that. Every thing that happened that he *didn't* puke for (eating a bell pepper with the skin or a piece of steak, riding a shuttle bus to a festival with us as a family), really, REALLY helped.  Of course, when he got a stomach bug later that year it was pretty tense, but we did a lot of "reality" and "worst case scenario" talking through it and he was OK.  He's had several vomiting illnesses since (I often wonder if  a few times a year it's a manifestaiton of all the pent up anxiety, because the last 3 or 4 pukie bugs he's had none of the rest of us have caught, which to me means it wasn't viral/contagious).....and has done OK because he finally gets that they are self limiting.  We did a lot of, "what's the worst that's going to happen?  you'll get gross from puke on your clothes and we'll have to wash you up, and if you get really sick we'll have to go to the hospital for you to get some fluids (been there, done that), but then you'll feel better and it will be over. " He seems to need to talk out the possible bad scenarios in order to process thingsl which I find odd that takling them out doesn't seem to make the anxiety worse - it's almost like once he says all the things it doesn't seem so bad to him - I know for other kids that would be a disaster and make the anxiety worse.  Also, I think since his worst case scenario HAS happened (getting an IV in the hospital), and he recovered, he's way better now.  I try to do the, "so what if that happens?" thing when I can remember to help him process things, but I don't always remember. 

 

He has been in a junior karate class for a couple years now (they do 6-week sessions 3-4 times a year) and has progressed up through their little junior ranking system, and while his abilities have been such that for the past 3 sessions they have asked me if he wants to go to the regular classes, he hasto this point been reluctant and anxious about it, and I think I finally figured out why this last time.  He finished the progression and got the last color stripe on the belt that they do for the little kid sessions, and now he's all gung ho to take on the real regular classes....and I think it's because in his mind he didn't 'deserve" to be in the regular all ranks classes until he "proved worthy" of finishing all of the little kid classes, because that's the way they have things set up (he doesn't get the nuance of the instructors thinking he'd do fine in the other class and advancing/skipping him; he had to finish the program as they designed it).  It just amazes me how intertwined his anxiety is with perfectionism and doing things the "right" way.


Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#26 of 46 Old 11-15-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carouselrider View Post

I'm curious - those that have had such a turnaround with therapy - what do you attribute it to?  A trusting relationship with an adult outside the family dynamic?  Specific tools?  My 10 year old DD just started therapy  - she has had three sessions so far and tonight she lay in bed sobbing that Monday was coming yet again (I'm sure many here know that experience).  I have an early meeting tomorrow which is absolutely the kiss of death for her - a Monday morning without Mom.  My husband does his best, but for whatever reason, the security of having me here and the stronger boundaries I tend to set (she knows she is going to school when I'm home, but sometimes she can get my husband to give in) is more important than ever.  I don't understand it because she is not a kid who had typical separation anxiety, but she has gone through intense cycles of it.  We have been in a cycle since the start of school and it seems to be getting worse instead of better - have others seen that?  That what used to cycle through quicker gets longer and longer with age or successive cycles?  Also, besides the Highly Sensitive Child and Out of Sync (I've read both) does anyone have any other good book recommendations?  For me or for DD?

 

I really love her therapist so far - seems like a mix of play and talk therapy and SHE loves her therapist too, but I don't see progress yet and I'm so desperate to see some progress.  My DD's primary anxiety is throwing up, but it seems to me more that she is anxious about being in any situation that is out of her control and comfort zone.  

 

I just feel so lost with this.  It is so incredibly hard.  It was really good to stumble on this thread tonight, just to know there are others who get it.


I really do think, that for dd, it's just the having another adult outside of the family that is her's and her's alone to talk to and depend on that made all the difference. They haven't even really started to work on tools to deal with her anxiety and when they do, we expect that there will be a lot of backsliding. I wonder how long your daughter's anxiety has lasted and if her age has anything to do with why it is harder to get those fast (but probably a little falst) results from a therapist. Dd had her anxiety for almost a year when we found the therapist we see now. She was six when it started and now she is seven. Plus, it sounds like it was a little less severe. She went through a stage of not wanting to go to school that involved crying but my dh (he's a SAHD) could always get her in the door of the school. I think that if you both love the therapist, you should stick with it and hope to see results SOON. But, like I said, the results that we got really had nothing to do with therapy--which the therapist freely admitted. It was more just the fact that there was help coming and more on the horizon. (Now if I can only keep affording it so that she actually does start to work on her anxiety. Fingers crossed.)

 

I would ask your therapist for book recs. Just so that you and she/he are on the same page on the way that your therapy is going to go. For example, if she doesn't think CBT is the way to go with your dd, it might not make any sense to read all the CBT/anxiety books that are out there. I would also ask her for exercises that you can work on between therapy sessions so that there isn't a lag between sessions. Obviously the parents have to have the skills to help their children deal with the anxiety while the therapist isn't there so maybe there are tools that she can give to you and your dh.

 

Good luck. I hope you see results soon and that your daughter's Monday morning wasn't as bad as envisioned. It's just so hard....
 


Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#27 of 46 Old 11-15-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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Heather and Harper - thanks for your perspectives.  Monday morning was not as bad as expected according to my husband and DD (I left before everyone was up).  We spent a lot of time setting expectations and I told her that if she got through the day, I would spend some special one on one time with her this evening - not so much as a bribe or reward, but thinking that if she had something to look forward to at the end of the day, it might help her get through.  She said she felt pretty bad but it helped.  I'm not sure that is a sustainable strategy, but after four days at home (inservice and conference days for the school), I felt like she was at a super hard transition and a little more might to entice her through might help.  Still feel like I'm flying blind and trying to make this up as we go, but I was so encouraged by the fact the it went better - she got up and out to school with only minimal tears, and even went to chess club in the afternoon which sometimes also becomes a fight when she's not in a good place.   All in all, a good day.  I'd like to attribute it to the fact that we talked it out, or giving her something to look forward to, but the truth is, I don't know, and that is what can be crazy making about this.  It's so variable.  But you know - I'll take a good day any time.  

 

Harper - my DH is a stay at home dad as well, which sometimes makes this easier and sometimes makes it harder.  Like most things, hah!  

 

Thanks again for the good thoughts.  Now on to tomorrow.

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#28 of 46 Old 11-15-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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All 3 of my kids deal with varying forms and levels of anxiety.

 

My oldest gets herself so worked up that she starts throwing up, mostly over things like tests.  If she comes to us throwing up or feeling sick the first question we ask is "So, what class do you have a test in today?" lol. We've never done anything beyond helping her cope.

 

My son has diagnosed anxiety issues, not uncommon for ASD kids. His anxiety is pretty extreme.  He will go into tirades about making sure that every detail of his schedule is planned out days in advance and get stuck on things if we don't have an answer for him. "How many days", "How long" etc and even "How many days until tomorrow?"  If he comes with me to work he asks at each location "How many minutes here?" if I don't have an exact answer he starts flipping out.  If he's really anxious he'll make me plan out trips to the grocery store so he can time our visit there. "we need hamburger, tortillas and milk... then out... that's it, we can't get more..." and if I pick something else up he just might lose it.  A change in his plan throws the whole day off and he has major anxiety with it. He relies on our dogs too, he wont even go to another level of our home without someone and since we wont follow him around he makes the dogs follow him around. He does take medication that helps somewhat, but not completely.

 

My youngest has started to show more anxiety now too. Mostly with fire. She is extremely paranoid that the house is going to burn down.  We burn wood in a insert in our fireplace, one of the safest available even, and she runs and yells anytime we have to open it to put more wood in.  If possible she runs out to our porch to wait until its closed, even if the porch is in single digit temps.


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#29 of 46 Old 11-16-2010, 09:24 PM
 
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Just FYI, these are the resources recommended by my DD's therapist today:

 

Anxiety book for kids

http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-Worry-Much/dp/1591473144/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1289971342&sr=8-2

 

And OCD workbook for parents (this is her other DX, but the therapist feels that there are many, many crossovers, and that this book has excellent ideas for anxiety.

http://www.amazon.com/Helping-Your-Child-Ocd-Obsessive-Compulsive/dp/1572243325/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289971406&sr=1-1

 

Can't speak to them personally as I just ordered them off Amazon myself.  I flipped through the kids book and liked what I saw.  The presentation is below my DDs reading level, but I think she'll take to it nonetheless.  I'm excited to give her something that speaks directly to her without labeling.

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#30 of 46 Old 11-16-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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My middle child tends to be anxious, though not to the extent some of you describe.  I find cell salts to be very helpful in normalizing anxiety.  They offer the benefit of being inexpensive, safe, and easy to give children.  I think I've talked about them in some other posts and can write more if someone wants to know.

 

When anxiety is high, I also tell ds "relaxing stories."  He has a very significant language delay, but enjoys this time anyway.  I often hold accupressure points or tap on meridian points used in EFT as I tell him a pleasant story.  I use the book "Ready.  Set.  Relax ." for inspiration.

 

Some children also benefit from flower essences which are also very safe and easy to use.

 

Hope some of this helps.


Natalia
Easier, healthier living for Uniquely Magnificent Kids and Their Mothers
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