Support Thread - Anxiousness / Anxiety in Preteens and Teens - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 82 Old 07-22-2015, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Support Thread - Anxiousness / Anxiety in Preteens and Teens

Hi,

On another thread, we realized that it might be useful to have a thread to share tips/support and commiserate about childhood/teen anxiety. I put "anxiousness" in the title, because although my own child suffers from what I would call anxiety, she has not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. So, whether your child has a diagnosis or not, please feel free to share here!

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#2 of 82 Old 07-22-2015, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And since I started the thread, I'll tell you our story.

In a nutshell, DD1 has always been somewhat nervous. Every year before school would start, she would develop a new fear. One year it was the fear that our house was going to burn down. She has also long had the habit of chewing holes in her clothes. Fast forward to high school. She has developed stomach problems that we have seen various doctors about, even to the point of an endoscopy. Everything physical has been ruled out. No celiac, no ulcers, etc. In the meantime, her eating has become somewhat disordered (no food until lunchtime, only a little water; during the school year that gets extended until after school except for a small snack - which probably makes the acid production worse). Her stomachaches flare up around stressful times, usually associated with school. Our efforts to get her to develop coping mechanisms haven't really worked so far, so I would be so happy to hear from other parents who have had success with that. My goal is reducing her stress enough so that she can at least eat regularly.

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#3 of 82 Old 07-22-2015, 01:08 PM
 
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Thanks for starting this, Ragana. I truly appreciate it.

My daughter's outward physical symptoms are an intense feeling of needing to urinate, which is understandable given that uncontrolled urination is a fear response. I can understand it would manifest itself as other physical symptoms related to fear.

Your daughter's stomach issues sound like a viscous cycle (so does my daughter's-- she gets more anxious when it starts!) I know that for myself, not eating becomes a symptom of a more depressed/anxious cycle and that in turn makes me feel worse. I don't get stomachaches, but the feeling of food in my stomach is, well, hard to stomach. And then not feeding it a little bit makes the next meal even worse and onward the cycle goes.

I am still new to this and I am learning more each day about my daughter and myself, so I don't have any great advice for you. Palliative advice would be to find something she can stomach in tiny amounts, which might be hard. Sometimes thinking about making lunch in the morning makes it hard to keep my breakfast down, but I need to make lunch and so I live with the queasiness. I do enjoy, however, my breakfast of plain yogurt and frozen berries. Sugary stuff is especially easy to get down. My favorite is chocolate pudding for feeding body and soul-- and I even mean rubbery ready-made stuff. I love it. Cold and creamy.... Mm! Ideally I would like to not think about lunch until lunch.

What I have been learning, though, is that focusing on these escalating "phantom" (real but self-induced) symptoms seems to make it worse. Once I have medical reasons dismissed for dd's physical sensations, I need to de-emphasize it, because she will become anxious over feeling anxious. Which doesn't stop it either. It is such a vicious cycle and I don't fully have the patience for it, so we are seeking therapy. Focusing on and empathizing with the fear is never a bad place to start. To some extent, we are how we are.

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#4 of 82 Old 07-22-2015, 09:27 PM
 
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I'm glad this thread is here.


My daughter is the type that wears her emotions on her sleeve but has a hard time articulating what exactly is bothering her. She typically has some anxiety at the beginning of the school year. I had an 'aha' moment last week when my daughter was reminiscing about how hard it was for her to deal with her great-grandma's death. Ever since then, I realized she has never been the same. She's been cutting, crying in class, unable to concentrate on her work. She saw a psychiatrist (because a psychologist isn't covered under Canada's health plan). She seems a bit better, but I feel I have to be super careful in not overly upsetting her. She picks up on my frustration quickly and when she is down I have to check to make sure she isn't getting any "dark thoughts". She has a journal (because diaries are too girly for her) and she implements other techniques that she's been told by her guidance counsellor to alleviate her stress levels. Some other parents think I'm parenting out of fear and that I should be harder on her. Of course, there is a fear. I can't imagine what I would feel like if my daughter did something serious to herself due to me not being able to control my emotions. And that's the thing. I deal with stress and anxiety all the time, especially at my job. I talk about this with my daughter because she wants to know that I go through stress, too, and she needs to see me keeping it together and see what I do to cope in a healthy way.
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#5 of 82 Old 07-23-2015, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for starting this, Ragana. I truly appreciate it.



Your daughter's stomach issues sound like a viscous cycle (so does my daughter's-- she gets more anxious when it starts!) I know that for myself, not eating becomes a symptom of a more depressed/anxious cycle and that in turn makes me feel worse. I don't get stomachaches, but the feeling of food in my stomach is, well, hard to stomach. And then not feeding it a little bit makes the next meal even worse and onward the cycle goes.
That's it exactly!

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I am still new to this and I am learning more each day about my daughter and myself, so I don't have any great advice for you. Palliative advice would be to find something she can stomach in tiny amounts, which might be hard. Sometimes thinking about making lunch in the morning makes it hard to keep my breakfast down, but I need to make lunch and so I live with the queasiness. I do enjoy, however, my breakfast of plain yogurt and frozen berries. Sugary stuff is especially easy to get down. My favorite is chocolate pudding for feeding body and soul-- and I even mean rubbery ready-made stuff. I love it. Cold and creamy.... Mm! Ideally I would like to not think about lunch until lunch.
It almost sounds like a joke, but a good breakfast for her these days is a few coconut flakes and a very small glass of water. I figure if we start with something like that, we can work up to a piece of toast or something.

Chocolate pudding is a great idea! Will try.

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#6 of 82 Old 07-23-2015, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Some other parents think I'm parenting out of fear and that I should be harder on her.
And that is one reason I started this thread! Other people can't understand why my kids need so much downtime, don't do many activities (generally one each, if that), don't go to sleep-away camp, etc. I'm happy with all of that, but the explaining all the time gets tiring. Mostly it's because we're in a tight-knit ethnic community, and "everyone" does those things. Well, not us!

PS I should add that we're also in a fairly wealthy area where kids doing stuff like travel soccer, extra tutoring, etc. after school is the norm. Our "speed" is more like it was when I was a kid.

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#7 of 82 Old 07-23-2015, 07:32 AM
 
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And that is one reason I started this thread! Other people can't understand why my kids need so much downtime, don't do many activities (generally one each, if that), don't go to sleep-away camp, etc. I'm happy with all of that, but the explaining all the time gets tiring. Mostly it's because we're in a tight-knit ethnic community, and "everyone" does those things. Well, not us!

PS I should add that we're also in a fairly wealthy area where kids doing stuff like travel soccer, extra tutoring, etc. after school is the norm. Our "speed" is more like it was when I was a kid.

Yeah, us too. But not out of choice. We just don't have the money to do expensive things or send her away to camp like every other well-off person in the neighborhood. I get the pressure from my mom, though. "Why don't you put her in an activity? There are lot's of classes in the leisure guide. You know? Why don't' you put her in camp? That's what I did with you. Why don't you do things with her?" grrrrrr. I do plenty with her. Taking every advice my mom has ever given me would send me far into the poor house since it's always buy this, buy that. Spend, spend, spend.

I try to be a good mom and try to make sure she gets to school. She often has stomach aches, throat infections, you name it. It has caused the teachers to become concerned. It has affected her attendance greatly. I was considering homeschooling her, but it can get way too pricey and I just don't have means nor a way to help her. I tried to help her with her French and ended up having to look up nearly every word in the instructions because nothing was in English. We had to leave it. Plus, her psychiatrist said that she could become isolated even more. She has a lot of friends and now that she is on summer break she is much more relaxed. She's going camping this weekend and is hoping to go channeling on the river. She describes it as "just relaxing and letting all your troubles wash away in the water." It sounded so cute when she said it.


Friend drama is what really gets to her, too. She feels pressured to help her friends with their relationships and their issues between one another. Often she complains that she always the one her friends go to for advice and support. She just can't take it. I've been telling her that her friends need to sort things out themselves or go to an adult. She's been doing that now but she still gets stressed over conflicts.
And then there are the rumors. There's been a nasty rumor going around her school that some other kids were saying about her. Why is it that whenever a girl is home sick, automatically people think she's pregnant? My daughters 13 and has had just one week long boyfriend. But the thing is is that there is a rumor going around that this 13 yr old dude has already slept with girls. All rumors, I'm sure. These rumors have only been brought up but the school can't really do anything about it. Her social media access is limited so we can't really tell, and it would be impossible to find, if these rumors are circulating on the web. I'm sure they are but we don't think about that. She is very worried about starting school again. I don't blame her. We are hoping for a fresh new start. Hopefully, it will be a smoother school year.
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#8 of 82 Old 07-25-2015, 05:32 AM
 
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Oh.. I'll join in. My son has mild social anxiety.. though yea, he hasn't been diagnosed officially. He just meets the criteria. He also tends to see threat in the most mundane situations. He walked from his homeschool class to meet me at the coffee shop where I was waiting for him. We were downtown but not in a bad area. People in suits walking around. I could see him through the window as he walked up the street. He got into the coffee shop and said "Man, mom, I thought I was going to get jumped and mugged out there!" This is pretty common for him when we walk places.. he thinks he is about to be attacked. It's not overwhelming him, but it definitely is noticeable.

He also does not like meeting new people. He gets really anxiety ridden. Like hand wringing, agonizing.. he becomes short tempered with everyone for days as he anticipates doing something new. I asked him what he felt was going to happen he said he always says the wrong thing, people think he's stupid, he CAN'T speak up. I pulled him from 7th grade because he was depressed and, though his friend said he was well liked at school and talked to a lot of people, son felt that no one liked him, he was isolated, felt bullied and was depressed. Concerned, I pulled him and homeschooled him. He, by choice, is starting high school this fall. We've talked about his anxiety in meeting new people. He has been in therapy and we've worked with some skills on reducing anxiety. We'll see what happens.

I'm sure I'll be reading over other people's experiences when I get a chance! My son's anxiety gets to me after a while. I was shy and hated meeting new people, too. I hate seeing him also be so shy and anxious about meeting people.

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#9 of 82 Old 07-25-2015, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I pulled him from 7th grade because he was depressed and, though his friend said he was well liked at school and talked to a lot of people, son felt that no one liked him, he was isolated, felt bullied and was depressed. Concerned, I pulled him and homeschooled him. He, by choice, is starting high school this fall.
A friend of mine had this experience with her daughter, and I'm happy to report that she's doing very well in high school. It helps that it's a big school, so if there are people/situations that are hard to handle, it's possible to find others that are a better fit.

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He has been in therapy and we've worked with some skills on reducing anxiety. We'll see what happens.
If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear about this - what type of therapy, what types of skills? Thinking about this for my DD, since physical stuff has all but been ruled out.

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I'm sure I'll be reading over other people's experiences when I get a chance! My son's anxiety gets to me after a while. I was shy and hated meeting new people, too. I hate seeing him also be so shy and anxious about meeting people.
Same here. I tend toward nervousness and anxiousness myself, and wouldn't you know it, DD's anxiety is a source of anxiety.

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#10 of 82 Old 07-25-2015, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There's been a nasty rumor going around her school that some other kids were saying about her.
Does the school have bullying and social media policies? At our high school, the school would intervene if students are involved, particularly if they are using school computers or anything like that (but even if it's during off-school hours as far as I know). If you find out this is happening, I would ask the school to intervene, especially if it's bullying - repeated aggression with a power imbalance.

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#11 of 82 Old 08-03-2015, 02:38 PM
 
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Same here. I tend toward nervousness and anxiousness myself, and wouldn't you know it, DD's anxiety is a source of anxiety.
Ugh, same here! I am having my worst anxiety in 20 years, mostly because of my DD's anxiety. (Might be perimenopause, too.) Then my anxiety makes me much less effective at parenting her.

I'm glad this thread exists. I am finding it helps to open up to friends in real life, after keeping it kind of secret for a year. We have had a hard time finding a therapist who's a good fit. The first two used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which was a terrible fit for DD, and I actually feel like it was harmful to her. We just switched to a counselor who (among other things) uses art therapy, and DD loves her so far. Anxiety is "just" one part of DD's struggles. But I am very proud of the progress she's made in being able to calm her own anxiety.
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#12 of 82 Old 08-03-2015, 10:34 PM
 
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Ugh, same here! I am having my worst anxiety in 20 years, mostly because of my DD's anxiety. (Might be perimenopause, too.) Then my anxiety makes me much less effective at parenting her.

I'm glad this thread exists. I am finding it helps to open up to friends in real life, after keeping it kind of secret for a year. We have had a hard time finding a therapist who's a good fit. The first two used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which was a terrible fit for DD, and I actually feel like it was harmful to her. We just switched to a counselor who (among other things) uses art therapy, and DD loves her so far. Anxiety is "just" one part of DD's struggles. But I am very proud of the progress she's made in being able to calm her own anxiety.
Art therapy sounds like a good idea for my daughter. She LOVES to draw, especially on the computer, where she uses less paper, thank goodness.

It's interesting and refreshing for you guys to talk about your own anxieties. I feel guilty about my own emotional issues. I often feel like I caused my daughters anxieties. I am open about it to her and talk about how I feel sometimes. But she does ask me if I feel the same things she feels. I think it's important and good for parents to be open because it shows our kids that we are human just like them and we are not always perfect in every way. At the same time, I wonder if it's too much information. My anxieties happen mainly at work, so I'm worried that my daughter thinks of work as something to be feared or anxious about. I do tell her that when she starts a career it will be something she enjoys because her family has started a nice education fund since she was born. She will be set so she won't have to work at some low paying job she hates. I have social anxieties. It's hard for me to meet people. When I do find a friend I never stay friends with them long. I just always feel they expect me to conform to their ways and I don't like that. Or they just never have the time to hang out or go anywhere with me. I've spent a majority of my life with one good friend or by myself. I'm used to it. But my daughter is a social butterfly. I wish she could see what I see and that she has more friends a bigger acceptance group than I ever had. Of course she cannot compare herself with how my life was. I do tell her, though. I've told her the times I've been bullied and how that affects me today. I think it's helped shaped how my daughter is today. She is highly against making fun of people. In fact, if I recall, I don't think I've ever heard her make fun of anyone. Even if I make a remark of someone my daughter is quick to correct me. I always tell her she will be a great mother when she's older.
My daughters anxieties just baffles me. She has so much wisdom. She is like a 60 year old trapped in a 13 year old body. And yet, she is not academically caught up with the rest of her peers. But who is these days and how can it possibly be measured when the curriculum keeps getting harder at lower grades. I've told her we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I think it's unrealistic to expect a child to be great in every subject. I find it ignorant towards their intelligent limitations.
You know, I had my daughter youngish. I know that doesn't and shouldn't a reason as to what's going on with her, but I do think that there is a reason I have her and I had her at that time. She is just so amazing and spiritually "there" with the world that I think we can pull through this and when we do she will accomplish big things.

Oh, I'm rambling once again.
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#13 of 82 Old 08-04-2015, 09:20 AM
 
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Please ramble, Ragana. I need it. Maybe we all need it.

I, too, think I've transmitted my anxieties to my daughter. However, my anxiety manifests itself as irritation, anger, and so it feels strong and powerful when in fact it is incredibly weak. I have a very leaky vessel for containing reassurances that others offer me, I've discovered.

I can trace much of my daughter's anxiety back to a bad nursing match. I had flat nipples, she had an overbite and very weak muscles. I didn't realize how bad it was until my younger daughter latched on for the first time and --yowza!-- this is what nursing should feel like! Maybe I should have pumped and bottle fed her, but I didn't. Plus, my arms were too short, my breasts too large, and my let down was gargantuan, poor girl. Couple that with a genetic tendency towards nervousness, and today is no surprise. Plus, when I am stressed I want to retreat to the darkest, quietest place and my kids want to follow me and glom on.

Now I'm rambling.

As a homeschooling family, I can say that I'm glad not to have school to add to our anxieties, which I think it would. It is not free of problems-- are there no 10-12yo girls around??? Sheesh! It can be hard to reassure an anxious kid that it's ok to have strengths and weaknesses when you have this ominous report card. The best I could do (because I do consider schooling sometimes) is to play down the report card as much as possible. But schools cultivate this kind of pressure, and adulthood for school kids is forever looming, though they are ostensibly "being prepared" for the eventuality, as if adulthood is so complicated we need to cloister our kids for 16+ years to prepare for it.

I'm not trashing schools just to vent. I'm really framing this in a way that we can see how anxious kids might view the experience and how difficult our jobs are as parents to balance that pressure with other, perhaps even more important things.

As far as sharing my anxieties, I have to proceed with care. For my daughter, it makes it much worse. Probably the hallmark of this is being anxious about anxiety, and that's what happens with my daughter. (It doesn't happen with me so much, which makes me think my problems are not strictly anxiety.) I sometimes even regret giving my daughter a name for what she is experiencing, because I think she is suddenly focusing on that. But I reassure myself (yes, "reassure") that she is playing around with this new word she has to define her feelings, and it can sometimes tip a little too far in a negative direction. But I think once the newness wears off, she will see it less as one more thing to worry about, because she does worry about the feeling, even before she had the word to define it.

Back to reassurances, because this is important. The characteristic that is most aligned with anxiety for me is the inability for having reassurances actually reassure me with things I am worried about. Reassurances, using logic to help soothe feelings does not work for me. What does work is commiseration from someone who is deep in it themselves and who has managed to function with it-- not conquer it, but function. One of the most useful things was, besides acknowledging and accommodating my needs without judgment, is learning from someone who has "been there" to prioritize my anxieties. Which ones are the most important to focus on improving *right now*.

It is not perfect because what seems less important to me one day becomes something I cannot ignore the next, and I don't know the mechanism behind that. The fact is, I will never escape this. This is how I will be, basically, for the rest of my life. I need strategies to calm it. My daughter needs strategies to calm herself, to know herself, to be brave enough to ask for what she needs and to seek people that help reinforce her positive qualities rather than the negative.

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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#14 of 82 Old 08-04-2015, 04:43 PM
 
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Have you tried EFT for de-fusing some of the anxiety? I completed formal training in EFT (levels 1 and 2) and am an EFT coach. I have found it very helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.

Another helpful tool is the health journey recordings from Kaiser Permanente Hospital. They are on line and free.
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#15 of 82 Old 08-04-2015, 09:06 PM
 
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I just realised that my mom has never really asked to spend any time with her granddaughter in years. She won't even accept to have her over if I need someone to be with her so I can go to work, confident my daughter has company instead of being alone. She's like one of those I-love-my-grandkids-from-a-distance types of grandmas. My ex's parents always have her over and watch her while I work, which is much appreciated, and take her camping and to all sorts of family functions.
Grr, I can't believe she thinks she is so positive all the time. All I hear her do is complain. It's so bad and has been so for so long that I've even picked up the habit. Well, at least she doesn't drop by often. Actually she only comes over by invitation, now. phew.
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#16 of 82 Old 08-04-2015, 09:20 PM
 
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Have you tried EFT for de-fusing some of the anxiety? I completed formal training in EFT (levels 1 and 2) and am an EFT coach. I have found it very helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.

Another helpful tool is the health journey recordings from Kaiser Permanente Hospital. They are on line and free.
I know you're trying to help, but for some people, the issue runs deeper than just listening to something to make it all better. You can't erase an entire childhood ruined from excessive bullying, family dysfunction, abuse and alienation. It's near impossible unless you are able to locate and contact every person who tormented you and got an answer as why they were like that towards you. When you have been to as many schools as I have, I'm sure few people would even remember me. I don't even think I would recognize them. But I did get in touch with a couple of mean girls from junior high. You would think people would mature a bit and forget the drama, or leave it behind. Nope. One girl I knew in junior high was cool with me. I friended her. I was looking through some of her pics and I saw one that was a year book pic taken in grade 6 of some of the more popular girls in class. I saw that one of the mean girls commented. Instead of commenting on what was going in the pic or reminiscing about how much fun THEY had that year, she said "remember the time I put tape in ____'s hair. That was so funny." Really? A grown woman who still thinks being mean is funny? Okay, so that wasn't even the worst of the bullying, but I had to unfriend both of them. I lived through it back and I don't need to live with it now.
But anyways, I go to sleep listening to rain, waves, sandstorms, wind etc. It only masks the humming drone of the industrial exhaust fans that are on the roof. It doesn't fix what is going on inside my mind or helping my emotional roller coasters.
That's just me, though.
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#17 of 82 Old 08-04-2015, 11:02 PM
 
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DD1 is 12 and has struggled with anxiety most of her life. She eventually did end up with a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis. She goes through periods where it is manageable, and by manageable I mean, if life goes 90+% by plan, then we can keep the anxiety in check and she can function. And then there are other periods where it gets bad. I'll be upfront that we eventually put her on Zoloft at age 9 after doing therapy for years and years. I know it is not always looked on fondly, but it has been a game changer for us.

We are currently having to bump up her dosage a bit after her being on the lowest dose for the last couple years. And she is going through a tough time but even with the incorrect dosage, this bad spell means insomnia and depression rather then me having to physically restrain her because she is having a panic attack and is attempting to flee the house in the middle of the night.


Summer are difficult because of routine change with her. She does not do well with change. It takes a long time to get her to accept any kind of change. Schools have been hit to miss with her. We've been through many different schools, homeschool, tutors. Right now we have a good fit and will keep her there another two years until high school starts.


Our biggest coping mechanism has actually been to get her really involved in activities. I refer to her as a hamster on a wheel sometimes. As long as the wheel is in motion, life can be good. When the wheel stops, that is when it gets very difficult. She starts to think and overthink everything. And then is when the depression and self destruction starts. DD1 excels at sports and loves them so we allow her to do as many as we can.

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#18 of 82 Old 08-06-2015, 06:50 AM
 
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A friend of mine had this experience with her daughter, and I'm happy to report that she's doing very well in high school. It helps that it's a big school, so if there are people/situations that are hard to handle, it's possible to find others that are a better fit.



If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear about this - what type of therapy, what types of skills? Thinking about this for my DD, since physical stuff has all but been ruled out.
Thanks for the reassurance! I found therapy helped my own anxiety. I would tend to own other's problems and then feel guilty and responsible if I couldn't make them feel better. I was in CBT for myself- not for the issue of anxiety for myself but for a tramatic event in our family. But the side effect was helping me with my anxiety.

For my son, I'm not sure what he always talked about with his therapist directly but she also gave him some website resources to review. He would do this one where it was a guided meditation and it seemed to help him a lot. He did it every morning. I'm big on living in the present moment and mindfulness and focusing on breathing. I also would go over with him fears he might have about the situation he was going into. Then we would revist those fears afterwards and see how many were correct (none ever were). We'd also just go over worse case scenario- maybe "I think the worst that would happen would be that no one would talk to me and they wouldn't like me." and I'd say "OK. If that happens we can leave early, or never go back.. etc". I also know that meeting new people wore him out so we'd have a finite amount of time we'd stay somewhere new and I would be forgiving if he decided to come sit with me rather than mingle. As time wore one, he got better at sitting with his peers, even if he was quiet.

Married, working mom to son (almost 15), DD1 (almost 13) and DD2 (11). Oh, and badnewf, a nonobadbordercollie and 3 black cats.
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#19 of 82 Old 08-06-2015, 11:48 AM
 
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Our biggest coping mechanism has actually been to get her really involved in activities. I refer to her as a hamster on a wheel sometimes. As long as the wheel is in motion, life can be good. When the wheel stops, that is when it gets very difficult. She starts to think and overthink everything. And then is when the depression and self destruction starts. DD1 excels at sports and loves them so we allow her to do as many as we can.
I hear you! DD's psychiatrist says this is common - downtime gives them time to ruminate. We've had DD in as many arts activities as possible this summer. School is 1.5 weeks away, and her anxiety seems better every day. She also seems excited about planning her autumn activities.

She also told me last night that boyfriend has caused her miserable anxiety all summer. She would never admit it before, and I couldn't pinpoint it, because they started "dating" the day school released. Yesterday she had enough of feeling terrible, and was able to calmly and clearly confront him about the hurtful things he's done. Now DH, DD, and I are all dreading any blowback, but it was a huge step for her to stand up for herself and do something constructive to remove an anxiety trigger. I'm very proud of her!
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#20 of 82 Old 08-09-2015, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote: You can't erase an entire childhood ruined from excessive bullying, family dysfunction, abuse and alienation. It's near impossible unless you are able to locate and contact every person who tormented you and got an answer as why they were like that towards you. (End quotation)

Do you believe that we need to get an answer from the people who were mean or abusive to us in order to be healed?

Is it possible that even though we can't erase childhood abuse that we can still feel better with less anxiety? That the impact can fade away, even though we acknowledge that part of our history?
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#21 of 82 Old 08-09-2015, 02:01 PM
 
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The Kaiser Permanente recordings aren't the same as the feel-good, relaxation-with-new age music recordings you might find in the health food store. (Not that there's anything wrong with relaxation music.) They were developed for helping people cope with major illness, anxiety, surgery, and many other challenges. That particular hospital has been doing important research. I was lucky to have found the recordings - the link was shared by a friend whose surgeon there gave them to his patients to help prepare them for open-heart surgery.

They're free. Nothing is lost by giving them a try or giving them to an anxious child to try. They're just one of many tools.
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#22 of 82 Old 08-09-2015, 10:33 PM
 
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I keep thinking that my 16yo would benefit from counselling, but it is such a hard sell. She's a high achiever, even when it comes to coping with mental health challenges. Eighteen months ago she was coping with social ostracization and a poor academic fit at her high school and she slipped into anorexia as a way of coping. She diagnosed herself and sought insight and support online, anonymously, and seemed to come to terms with her triggers and body image issues. She's had no body-image or dietary problems for the past year.

But her misophonia has gotten gradually worse, to the point that she's extremely difficult to live with. She lives fairly independently most of the time, but her poor brother, who has been sharing a house with her this summer... oy, he just hides in his room until he's sure she's asleep. And my youngest dd and I will be spending 4 or 5 days a week living with her this coming year, we're dreading it.

But there never seems to come a crisis point where she hits bottom and feels like something has to change. She has a fair bit of insight into the issue, but the overachieving side of her is pretty sure that since she's read everything the internet has to say about the disorder she probably knows more than any counsellor would, and why bother? The thing is, she's probably right about the knowledge base. But the insight? The process of exploring her feelings, of stripping away her various protective layers to find out what's underneath? I think she needs that, but she doesn't see how it could make a practical difference.

This is a kid who at 16 lives mostly on her own in a house 90 minutes from home, is racking up 5's in AP courses, works 20-35 hours a week, takes summer courses for fun, has thousands of dollars of savings, volunteers as a TA in a remedial Grade 9 math classroom, cooks and cleans like a pro, can program a robot, replace a light fixture, play violin concertos and sing soprano solos in Swahili or Creole, hold a needle pose in yoga for two minutes, do back handsprings, and she does it all well and without help... but she can't be in the same room as someone who swallows or sniffs or scratches their nose, even when she's got noise-cancelling headphones on, because she still knows you're swallowing or sniffing or scratching!

How to help such a fiercely independent high achiever accept that help from a counsellor might be a good thing?

Miranda

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#23 of 82 Old 08-11-2015, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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But her misophonia has gotten gradually worse, to the point that she's extremely difficult to live with.

...


How to help such a fiercely independent high achiever accept that help from a counsellor might be a good thing?

Miranda
Unfortunately, I have no advice on getting her to accept therapy, because my kid won't either, although I think finding one with the right approach would be helpful.

It's interesting that you mention misophonia. DD1 has that as well (self-diagnosed from the Internet - the therapist she saw briefly didn't seem to know what it was or take it seriously). Mostly it's manifested in hating the sounds of chewing and crunching. Up to now, we've still insisted on family meals, though. If there are sounds to mask the chewing and crunching, it's better, but she still sometimes loses it over those sounds. Has anything helped your DD besides the noise-canceling headphones?

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#24 of 82 Old 08-11-2015, 08:38 AM
 
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Has anything helped your DD besides the noise-canceling headphones?
Loudness, happiness and busyness. If her mind is occupied with lively positive things like the boisterous hilarity our family of six can occasionally generate at the dinner table, if she's fully engaged in the wit, teasing and energy of it, she can get through a meal with no trouble at all. But those times are rare, and we can't turn that kind of energy on purposely.

We've definitely relaxed the expectation of family meals. When she's home for the weekend she starts meals with the family, but she'll often retreat to eat at the kitchen island (within visual range, but beyond the auditory range of mouth noises) while we continue at the dining table. Instead we try to use home movie nights or outdoor hikes / paddles to get time altogether as a family.

Her misophonia has got worse since she's been living on her own, I suppose because she doesn't get regular desensitization and is more resentful of intrusions on her customary solitude and silence, and probably because she is feeding her Type A tendencies with a ton of work and responsibility for someone her age.

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#25 of 82 Old 08-11-2015, 12:37 PM
 
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Her misophonia has got worse since she's been living on her own, I suppose because she doesn't get regular desensitization and is more resentful of intrusions on her customary solitude and silence, and probably because she is feeding her Type A tendencies with a ton of work and responsibility for someone her age.
I have had misophonia since puberty, and so has my DD. I find that desensitization does not work for us, and I've read similar things online. The more I'm exposed to a trigger noise, the more rage I feel. When I'm removed from that particular noise for a while, I'm able to better tolerate it - familiarity definitely breeds contempt where my misophonia is concerned.

I agree that a Type A person who likes to control situations is more likely to suffer from misophonia. My DD's is always worse at high-stress, more anxiety-ridden times. We actually don't eat family meals at home, but we do OK in restaurants where there's a lot of background noise. We do post-dinner walks to get the bonding benefits without the misophonia.

One more thing about the anxiety and therapy: I often despair that all the counseling is useless because DD is so stubborn and, like many of you mentioned, thinks she knows it all because she read something on the internet. However, we had a revelation this weekend. She broke up with her boyfriend, and in the course of that conversation, she comforted him with at least six things I know she's learned in therapy. So while she may not yet be able to practice all her skills in the heat of the moment, she is internalizing the messages, and I felt hopeful for the first time all summer.
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#26 of 82 Old 08-11-2015, 02:46 PM
 
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I have had misophonia since puberty, and so has my DD. I find that desensitization does not work for us, and I've read similar things online.
Yes, I agree, I've read that too. I kind of mis-labelled it by calling it a desensitization thing: it's not desensitization to trigger-noises, but to being with people, and sharing space.

My dd is an extreme introvert, and being around people a lot adds a layer of stress to her life. That stress in turn makes her misophonia worse. When she is living with her family on a day-to-day basis she acclimatizes to sharing space (we're all pretty introverted) and copes okay. But when she is living on her own for long stretches, and then comes home to where she suddenly has to share her living space, it takes a while for her to adjust. And during that period all her anxiety-related symptoms get worse, including the misophonia.

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#27 of 82 Old 08-11-2015, 02:55 PM
 
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Yes, I agree, I've read that too. I kind of mis-labelled it by calling it a desensitization thing: it's not desensitization to trigger-noises, but to being with people, and sharing space.

My dd is an extreme introvert, and being around people a lot adds a layer of stress to her life. That stress in turn makes her misophonia worse. When she is living with her family on a day-to-day basis she acclimatizes to sharing space (we're all pretty introverted) and copes okay. But when she is living on her own for long stretches, and then comes home to where she suddenly has to share her living space, it takes a while for her to adjust. And during that period all her anxiety-related symptoms get worse, including the misophonia.

Miranda
Aaaah, I get you. As an introvert myself, I can totally see the stress of going back and forth between solitude and busy family life.

Which makes me think of something else: how much do you mamas try to handle the environment for your anxious kiddos? My DD is completely resistant to trying the structured DBT Therapy. But one thing about I really like about that program is reducing your vulnerability by staying on top of your physical needs: Physical wellness, eating well, taking your medication, avoiding altering drugs, sleep, and exercise. While I can't do her therapy for her, I can do my best to take care of her physical needs.

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#28 of 82 Old 08-12-2015, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Which makes me think of something else: how much do you mamas try to handle the environment for your anxious kiddos? My DD is completely resistant to trying the structured DBT Therapy. But one thing about I really like about that program is reducing your vulnerability by staying on top of your physical needs: Physical wellness, eating well, taking your medication, avoiding altering drugs, sleep, and exercise. While I can't do her therapy for her, I can do my best to take care of her physical needs.
I think this is a great point. We poke and prod a bit DD rides her bike or goes to the fitness studio with me sometimes. It's a women's studio, and she's very into gender studies/feminism right now, so it's a great fit with the women who attend classes there. Eating is an issue because of her stomach problems. No drugs or alcohol. Sleep - probably she sleeps like a typical teen: not enough sometimes. Also, we don't push activities, because both kids like a lot of downtime at home to read, do art projects, etc. She is in one club at the high school that meets once a week for an hour or two.

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#29 of 82 Old 08-19-2015, 10:02 AM
 
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Does anyone have back-to-school updates they would like to share??

We're only on Day 3 of back-to-school, but so far, so good. DD said, "It's better than sitting around the house being sad." I think right now her biggest anxiety is trying to stay connected to her friends who moved to the high school. I wasn't shocked when she lost it and had one last self-injury episode Saturday - I knew the summer-to-school transition wouldn't be easy. These high school friends are so terrible for her - she only likes them because "they understand me." Yes, because they share all her emotional problems, and exacerbate them! I've realized my DD is highly suggestible, but I can't put her in a bubble.

My anxiety and depression are still completely triggered from the summer, and my DH is uneasy, too. Today, my brain is telling me I'm a terrible parent and maybe DD would be better off without me. Before we got to this stage, I would have wondered what in the world was wrong with the parents of any kid who had all my DD's emotional problems.

(To be clear, I recognize it's my anxious brain giving me these error messages. I tell myself every day I'm doing the best I can.)

Nichole

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#30 of 82 Old 08-19-2015, 10:36 AM
 
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Does anyone have back-to-school updates they would like to share??

We're only on Day 3 of back-to-school, but so far, so good. DD said, "It's better than sitting around the house being sad." I think right now her biggest anxiety is trying to stay connected to her friends who moved to the high school. I wasn't shocked when she lost it and had one last self-injury episode Saturday - I knew the summer-to-school transition wouldn't be easy. These high school friends are so terrible for her - she only likes them because "they understand me." Yes, because they share all her emotional problems, and exacerbate them! I've realized my DD is highly suggestible, but I can't put her in a bubble.

My anxiety and depression are still completely triggered from the summer, and my DH is uneasy, too. Today, my brain is telling me I'm a terrible parent and maybe DD would be better off without me. Before we got to this stage, I would have wondered what in the world was wrong with the parents of any kid who had all my DD's emotional problems.


Mine doesn't start until Sept, but so far she is having a relaxing summer. She camping 2 times with her grandparents and it's been very beneficial to her. I haven't heard anything from a psychiatrist or psychologist. I think she may have dyslexia and that could be contributing to her anxiety with school work. More specifically it could be dyscalculia, which is the type I have. I think she should be tested for that but I know it's not going to make a difference in how teachers and other students perceive her smarts.
Don't blame yourself and don't you ever call yourself a terrible parent. This can happen to anyone. As long as you're doing all that you can to help your kids your not terrible.
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