I think I am getting closer and closer to calling about meds. DD1 is 9. When she was 5 she had a very sudden severe onset of anxiety after a incident on a vacation. Our life was hell for a year after that but I couldn't get her into to anyone that would medicate her then or else I would of be first in line. She basically spent that year curled in a ball freaking out and not sleeping, she made herself stay up for months and months on sleeping maybe 4 hours a night. It isn't that bad anymore but because we came from where she couldn't ride in a car or or the bathroom by herself in our own house, I feel like I've lost perspective on how a normal child her age is.
She is in 3rd grade, she attend school now, she is involved in several sports teams and generally does ok with those things. She carries a cell phone and maybe once a week will call crying hysterically because of something. it could be that she left her sweater at school, her book, today i sent her up to ride with her snowboard team and I forgot her gloves. Little things just send her over the edge. I can calm her down and then she will go back to her normal. If I am not around or don't answer the phone then it gets more difficult. DH can not calm her, only me. Once she gets wound up, she will throw the ultimate temper tantrum, but it all started because something was off in her world. She does not deal well with change, she is a perfectionist. She also is severely dyslexic and has milder SPD. Other then that she does very well with others, she will not break down at practice/school she can hold it together until she can call me and will break down on the phone or when I am picking her up somewhere, I can tell the minute I see her face that the second the car door closes, she is going to lose it. This is a minimal issue compared to others.
Her biggest problem is at night time. She still sleeps in my room most nights, she prefers in my bed. She has her own room and will go through phases where she can sleep in there but then something happens and it takes months to get her back in there. She has periods of insomnia and sleepwalking. Her mind just never shuts off, I feel like she is a hamster on the wheel constantly. I think part of the reason she loves sports so much is because they keep her mind focused. She can not handle down time, she starts thinking and worrying and I think that is what happens when she finally lays down at night. A normal night is her up and around the house, needing reassure on something, it can take an hour to finally get her to go to sleep. Sleep walking is normal once a week unless is is acutely worried about something then it will be nightly and could be multiple times a night.
She tried to have a friend sleep over here for her birthday 6 weeks ago (DD1 can not sleep over at other people's houses) and just the idea of having someone else in her house was too much for her. I had to drive the other girl home at 10:30pm when it become apparent that DD1 was heading towards a freak out. That has spiraled her down again and she has not set foot in her room since. A girl that we knew through dance just died. In her sleep of all things. And the dance studio told the older girls like DD1 more details like that. So last night DD1 went to go to bed in my room, in my bed and then realized she was getting sick and then I spent the next 2 hours talking her though because she was convinced she was going to die in her sleep. I used to think that it was just an incident here and there and then for the most part she is ok, well ok for her. But now I thinking realizing that it is just incident after incident, we might have small gaps between where things might appear slightly "normal" but I don't think they really are. Now I'm wondering if meds might be worth it so she feels like a normal child. She has seen a therapist off and on since she was 5, more on then off. We've gone though several and have one that we like, we stopped weekly therapy last summer because it was never any better then this and now just go in for emergency sessions. I live in a small town in a very rural area, medical care for children is very limited unless you want to drive 8 hours. I just got the number of a doc from a friend of a friend that is supposedly new to town and is prescribing to children which is what we've never been able to do locally before. I guess I'm just curious about other people's experiences.
My heart goes out to you and your DD. I was that child full of anxiety, but no one recognized it. I just started taking Celexa less than a year ago and it has helped a great deal. Some people's bodies seem to lack the mechanism for calming down. It is a chemical, biological process that pulls us back down to an even keel after freaking out. I can tell this medication is working for me and I haven't had any side effects. I don't feel 'drugged', just normal. You might have to try a few different medications to find one that works and doesn't have side effects. I got lucky that we got it right on the first try.
We don't medicate specifically for anxiety (though it has been an issue), but we do for ADHD. Ds' first med (at 6.5) didn't have side effects but it didn't work well for long. He has been on his second med for year and a half, second dosage for a year, without any issues. When ds started on medication he said that he didn't feel "the crazies" anymore. The medication allowed him to be redirectable, less aggressive, and less destructive than he was in K; he also stopped having his "I'm being murdered" tantrums; though he didn't demonstrate any progress in therapy until the second dosage of his second medication. I also take the same medication. For both of us, once our bodies adjusted we didn't feel the med switching on/off anymore; with the right medication you shouldn't "feel" it.
Our 11 year old son started on Zoloft (generic name sertraline) last September and the only thing I wish is that we had tried sooner. He's had issues with anxiety since his toddler years, and one depressive episode that was thought to have been brought on by the anxiety.
Here's where we were at with the decision: If our son was able to learn more skills to cope with his anxiety, then therapy was good enough. But we went through periods where he was not only too anxious to absorb skills for dealing with the anxiety, but other skills as well, such as social skills and learning skills. While he is on the autistic spectrum, I think anxiety played a major role in his ability to approach others socially with ease and his ability to handle stresses and challenges appropriately to handle the task at hand. There are other factors, but I really believe that for him (this very much depends on the child and the situation) he wasn't able to use the skills he was learning in therapy without help balancing some of the chemicals causing his anxiety. So in your shoes, I'd look at how hard your child is struggling to use the tools she's been given to deal with her anxiety. If she's putting significant energy into managing her anxiety in day to day living, how much energy does she have for the other things.
Also, in your case, while it doesn't sound like the death of the dance class mate caused the anxiety, it is good if she has someone to talk to about it. Most kids have a hard time with someone their age dying. Honestly, most adults do.
I also suggest group therapy for anxiety, especially with group support for the parents. I found my son learned a lot from his peers in a way that was different from one on one classes, and all the parents were learning together how to mentor the kids and had support from each other. Incidentally, in a group of 13 kids, all of the parents in the group also had issues with anxiety that to some extent affected function. One of the best things you can do for your child is not only manage your own anxiety, but model out loud when you do it. Even if you don't have a problem, but just have circumstances where you are occasionally anxious, model it. Ex (my own): "I always get so nervous going to the mall. The parking lot is so busy and it's really crowded. Oh well, it needs to get done, and I'll get more comfortable parking with the practice. Really, I don't like the crowds, but they're just shopping, too. Last time we got out in OK time. I'll just make a plan so we can be efficient." You can do this with anything.
Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!
So glad I found this thread. I've been dealing with my dd (almost 7) severe anxiety for a while. Well, forever, really... it's just gotten much more intense lately.
I was on/off Zoloft for PTSD/anxiety for a few years and just started back on it due to the anxiety caused by dealing with my dd's anxiety!!
I totally agree that as parents, we need to deal with and model our own ways of dealing with anxiety so that our kids can. That's why I'm back on meds to get a handle on my anxiety. It's so hard to deal with the constant questions and fears with my dd, it's exhausting to me.
I'm so conflicted about medicating her, though. She just seems soooo young and I don't know what it will mean for her... if she starts now does she have to be on it for the rest of her life?!
mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy