Support thread for parents of anxious children

(178 Posts)
eggsfloursugarbutter Fri 07-Dec-12 12:01:22

I thought I'd start this as I have a very anxious DS and I feel that I am the only one in RL. I figured that there must be lots of us out there and it always helps to feel like you are not alone.

My DS is 4.4 and started school in September. He has not found it easy since the beginning, but since returning after being off sick last week, he has been so anxious that he has vomited every morning in the classroom sad. His crying is what I would call "hysterical".

Trying to get out the door in the morning is a battle, with him running back up the stairs, clinging onto the door frame and refusing to put his shoes and coat on.

He has been quite a clingy/anxious child since he was a baby, so it is not just exclusive to school. He is terrified of going to the dentist, Father Christmas, dressed up characters, parties, trying new things, the list goes on. At this stage, I don't know if there is an underlying reason for it, or whether it is solely anxiety, but I am working closely with the school and GP to monitor it.

I am also 6 months pregnant, with not a lot of support around me and finding it quite difficult and stressful. So if you are going through something similar or have done in the past, then please post it here and perhaps we can all help each other smile.

Ineedpigsinblankets Fri 07-Dec-12 13:47:57

Hi eggs I think this thread is a really good idea, many people in RL really dont understand anxiety.

My Dd3 suffers from anxiety and starting school was a real struggle for hersad, like your Ds she vomits or feels sick when she is very anxious.

My Dd3 who is 10 now, also has Autistic Spectrum Disorder [ASD], I feel that her anxiety is related to the ASD in as much as if she doesnt know what is going to happen to her she becomes anxious.[ not saying your Ds has ASD]

Much of her anxiety is based around me, she wants to be with me all the time and when she isnt she worries that something will happen to mesad, she has only recently been able to tell someone this as she finds it difficult to put her feelings into words.

We ended up moving Dd3 to another school because when I realised that her anxiety had an underlying cause the school she was at didnt want to support me or help me to get a diagnosis for her.

I am glad your sons school are supportive.

I hope some more people come along to join your threadsmile

eggsfloursugarbutter Fri 07-Dec-12 14:39:38

Hi Ineedpigsinblankets smile

Sorry to hear that you have had problems with your DD's anxiety too. I think my DS is similar to your DD in that he feels safe when he is with me, so he has the ability to handle situations better, or is able to tell me if he doesn't like something. Yet with school teachers and in front of his peers, he feels shy and anxious to speak up if something bothers him or he doesn't understand.

At this point in time it is difficult to tell whether or not DS has ASD or something similar - I think the school and GP have both said it's unlikely as he has developed well in other areas, but we are all keeping an open mind.

The school he is at is great and I have had contact with the class teacher, TA, one to one TA's, SENCO, and Family Liaison. They have all gone out of their way to help and support us as a family.

I'm so sorry to hear that your school was unsupportive, but glad to hear that you managed to get her into a school that was.

Africagirl1 Sat 08-Dec-12 14:39:39

My DS is 5 and also anxious. It came to a head last year (when I had my DD) with him chewing his sleeves a lot. He's had Occupational Therapy this year which has really improved his confidence. his main issues now are around worrying what other kids think about him (what he's wearing, if they'll play with him.) He's been diagnosed with ADD now (his dad has it too and struggles with certain social situtions). So now we're moving him to an educational psychologist to work on his social skills.

Ineedpigsinblankets Sat 08-Dec-12 22:27:47

Oh yes sleeve chewing, Dd3 used to do that and rubbing her face with the wet sleeve until her face was red raw.

Funnily enough she has never ever done it since she moved to her new school.

She also used to chew the collars of her polo shirts and buttons on her cardigans.

Glad your ds is getting some help now africagirl

eggsfloursugarbutter Mon 10-Dec-12 10:02:34

Hi Africagirl1

It's interesting that you say it came to a head last year when you had your DD - I am pregnant with DC2 and I wonder if this has added to DS's anxiety. He hasn't mentioned anything negative about it, but I wonder if at that age they don't know how to express themselves very well - they just know that they don't feel good. Do you mind me asking how you managed to get him occupational therapy and what it involved? Was it organised by the school?

I've had a terrible morning - absolute refusal to get dressed or come down the stairs which resulted in me having to wrestle him to get his clothes on and then carrying him down the stairs. No mean feat when you are 6 months pregnant with a heavy 4 year old! He also vomited twice. It is just heartbreaking sad.

Ineedpigsinblankets Mon 10-Dec-12 15:29:20

What a shame eggs, it is horrible isnt itsad

Is he worse than usual ATM? Just asking because at this time of year school is horrid for many children.

Is there anyway you could reduce his hours at school for a short time? If you took him later and picked him up earlier he might settle better.

How does he cope at lunchtime? Dd3 absolutely hated the school hall at lunchtime, it was noisy and smelly and people used to stand over her telling her to eat faster.

I think you need to go back to your GP or into school, vomitting through anxiety is not "normal" and you and he need help to sort this out.

Ineedpigsinblankets Mon 10-Dec-12 15:38:59

Hi eggs, I have asked the lovely people from the Special Needs children board to pop over here and have a look at your thread, they might have some good advice for yousmile

sannaville Mon 10-Dec-12 18:58:04

Hi there my dd2 is only 3.4 and ridiculously anxious - about everything. She is under a pead and camhs and waiting further assessment. In the summer she ran straight into glass patio door as she freaked when nxt door lawn mower turned on. She gets very anxious about nursery and about sleeping. Also doesn't like people being behind her

eggsfloursugarbutter Mon 10-Dec-12 20:59:12

Aw pigs , thank you for that - hopefully someone from SN might see it and be able to offer some help.

I am really in two minds as to whether or not to pull him out of school at the moment as he is obviously so traumatised by it. Like you say, the vomiting is not normal and it feels so cruel to keep putting him through it. But school is school and he can't be off indefinitely so I don't know if it's better to just persevere? It is so odd because he was fine to start with, but he seems to have got worse as time has gone on. He has always been a bit hesitant in the mornings, but used to go in without tears and they said that for most of the day he was happy. Why do you say that this time of year is horrid for many children? Is it the hustle and bustle of Christmas activities?

I have spoken to the school about his anxiety/vomiting and their suggestion was to take him in later after all the children are in class/assembly, and be met by a TA. They can then have some quiet time before going to class. I thought this would help him relax a bit, but he was worse than ever at home this morning. He was a lot better once he got in there though. They have a visual timetable for him and have sent home a social story for me to read with him, but I just don't know if it will work.

I have got a GP appointment on Friday afternoon but it feels like an eternity away - this week ahead just seems like a marathon to me. sad

Hi sannaville - sorry to hear about your DD, but good that you have managed to get her seen by a paed etc. I wish in hindsight that I had sought help earlier, but I kept thinking that I was just overreacting or reading too much into it. I suffer with health anxiety myself, so I didn't want to be labelled as a "neurotic mother". Bless your DD - does she sleep well? If she is running on adrenaline then it might be difficult for her to fall asleep?

What were either of your dds like as babies? My ds has always been what I would call "high maintenance". He was a very fussy baby who didn't ever seem to relax, and as a toddler he was absolutely non-stop - like a wind up toy. But as he has developed well and done everything at the right time, no-one seems to have thought there was anything wrong.

Ineedpigsinblankets Mon 10-Dec-12 21:24:34

You could post on the SN board you know, some of the posters dont come on the other boards much because some people are quick to judge and there has been some SN bashing in one or two parts of mumsnet.

As I said earlier in the thread Dd3 has ASD, she was I think a really easy baby butg certain things did really stress her out, noises, smells and tastes were the main things.

As she got older everything stressed her out and when she was so unhappy going in to reception we decided the time had come to seek a diagnosis for her.

Getting her assessed was the best thing [and one of the hardest] I have ever done, it was agonising deciding whether to do it or not but she has ASD and we knew she had. Now she gets good support at school and better understanding from family.

If she is not coping with some things, we can just say, Ok she is not coping because of the ASD we can either stop doing whatever it is or try it a different way.

At the end of the day all any of us wants for our kids is for them to be happy and if that means they need a label to ensure that they get support then so be it. IMHO.

Good luck at the GP'ssmile

bjkmummy Mon 10-Dec-12 21:33:44

Hi, my son vomits at school and before school. He has asd. He has now been signed off. Y my go so attends in the afternoons only.mthat is still not working and it's a struggle to keep him in school at the moment. We are trying to sort out a specialist placement for him. Have you considered asking for a referral to an OT as it maybe that he his anxiety is being made worse by sensory overload? It may not be that but could be something worth asking your GP for a referral for. Also ask for a referral to a paediatrician so they can see if there is an underlying issue that is making the anxiety worse.

frankie4 Mon 10-Dec-12 21:35:43

My ds was a very difficult baby, he cried constantly and I could never put him down. Then he went on to be a very anxious toddler. We couldn't go swimming, soft play, I couldn't even go to friends houses as he would be screaming as I tried to carry him through the door. When we had friends round I had to sit on the floor with ds and he would never go to another room without me.

You have all my sympathy as people without this have no idea how hard and draining it is.

I have no idea why he was like this, and various family members tried to blame me saying I was too anxious with him!! Whereas other friends said I had the patience of a saint.

He got a lot better over the years, for some reason he got better after the birth of ds2. He is now 11 and is still hard work. But he has no SN like ASD, so I have never had support from those types of networks, so this thread will be great for me. My ds2 is anxious in other ways, won't wear certain clothes, can't sit with people eating etc, but he also has no SN.

sannaville Tue 11-Dec-12 06:41:44

Hi dd doesn't sleep and takes meltaonin for it. She was a truly awful baby she would scream relentlessly for hours! Also had reflux which didn't help

SallyBear Tue 11-Dec-12 06:46:36

Hi eggs. It does sound like your school are trying everything to help him. Christmas is sometimes massively overwhelming as the routine changes, there's an air of excitement amongst children in school, play rehearsals etc. Does your DS understand that you're having a baby? Have you talked through it with him in depth with the help of preparation books etc,? I would have a serious chat with the SENCO to see if the school think that he needs to be observed by an Ed Psych. The EP will help give you and school some strategies to help him cope.

Gingersnap88 Tue 11-Dec-12 08:46:37

Can I join?

My DSS (7) is very anxious, and has always been. He won't try new things (ranging from food, to saying he wants swimming lessons but then refusing to get into the pool etc), has to be in control of situations and people, is a very fussy eater, gets upset with certain bits of clothing etc. He is difficult and very emotional, he struggles to articulate it and so has angry outbursts when he is upset.

But he is also a lovely, friendly boy who is doing well at school and is popular at school (when he's not being bossy). He sort of swings from manic over excited to over anxious. He has night terrors.

He's a wonderful boy, I think he's affected a lot by the tension between his two families. I'm at a loss really on how best to help him, I've bought those worry books for kids and DH has been doing them with him.

Love him to bits, just wish I knew how to help him smile

eggsfloursugarbutter Tue 11-Dec-12 12:44:31

pigs - yes I might post in SN - I dithered over whether to post this thread there initially, but I didn't want to exclude those whose children are not SN. Can't believe there has been SN bashing?! shock Whatever for? I'm stunned.

How did you go about getting your DD assessed? I want to be well informed for when I go to the GP on Friday.

Hope your DD is coping ok at the moment with all the Christmas goings on smile.

bjkmummy - it's so hard isn't it, the vomiting sad. I'm sorry but I don't know what an OT or sensory overload is? Will definitely ask for a paed referral though.

frankie4 - my ds was exactly the same as a baby. I nearly went out of my mind through stress and lack of sleep. It was only by the time ds was about 6 months old that I realised that his behaviour was not normal baby behaviour - I had just been thinking I was a crap mum who couldn't cope. I felt so envious of other parents with "easy" babies. I too have been blamed for being too anxious around ds, but it is impossible to be relaxed when you have a screamer/fussy baby 24/7. Very easy for others to judge... Glad that things got better for you after the birth of your second child - here's hoping the same happens for me!

sannaville - so sorry to hear your dd doesn't sleep and needs medication. You must be exhausted. My ds had reflux also, quite badly, but the GPs refused to give him anything but gaviscon infant (didn't really work). The only way I knew that he had reflux was because of the vomiting/crying. Once he was 1yo the vomiting stopped, but I often wonder if it is still there/made worse by stress? I wonder if that's the case with your dd?

SallyBear - hi there - yes, the school are absolutely fantastic and have really gone out of their way to accommodate us. Yes, DS understands that I am having a baby but he doesn't seem that interested. He says he is worried about the baby crying when he arrives, but he is a very loving and kind boy and loves babies so I am hopeful it will be ok. I haven't really gone into it in depth, but perhaps I will get a book and try to get him to understand, thanks for the idea. The school have contacted an Ed Psych, but she didn't think it was necessary to come into class and just gave the teachers some advice/ideas over the phone.

Gingersnap88 - of course you can join! Welcome! Sorry to hear you have problems with your ds too. He sounds very similar to my ds. For example, he will see other children doing something fun like going on a long, high slide, try to do it himself, but then will freeze when he gets to the top and needs to be rescued!! My ds also has angry outbursts. Sorry to hear you have tension between your families - do you want to talk about it at all? Those worry books are great - hope they are helping you.

Well on the upside, today was the first day in a week that ds has not been sick in the morning. He was actually quite chipper this morning, though there were a few tears when I had to leave him at school. They are doing their nativity play today though, so I will not be surprised if he has puked by the time I collect him! I am going to watch it at 2pm but I am not holding out too much hope for him performing sad.

youmeandtheoldzifferzafferzuff Tue 11-Dec-12 16:28:59

What a relief to find this thread.

My DS is 3 and suffers from extreme anxiety. We recently saw a paediatrician who has referred him for full assessment for some kind of social and communication disorder. It's so strange, he's very independent and fearless in some ways, but has a lot of control issues and gets very distressed if something isn't how he expects or if things change when he isn't expecting it - even something as silly as me hanging up the phone or taking off my coat when he can see.

I feel so sad that his childhood is slipping away and we never do anything fun because he doesn't find fun stuff fun, he finds it terrifying. Just going to the park in the next street is impossible at present, let alone something like going into town to see the Christmas lights or going on a trip to the zoo.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 16:30:19

Hi eggs, the SN bashing is nearly always ignorant people who say stupid things and then argue black is white that it is ok to say such things.

I am sure it is often not meant to be offensive but they just wont back down when they are told that it is offensive.

Also every now and then there will be a thread running about kids with ADHD just having bad parents or something similar, of course the people who write such things have no idea what it is actually like to live with a child who really has ADHD.

Anyway, enough of that, I started the assessment process at the GP's I took a list of all Dd3's quirks/unusual behaviours and asked him to refer us to someone who, I did mention that I thought she was showing some signs of aspergers. Fortunately the GP that I saw was sympathetic and also admitted that he didnt know much about it.

He referred us to a paediatrician who ruled out any medical issues before referring us on. It was quite a difficult journey as Dd3 is quite complex and very bright, so is able to mask her symptoms a lot of the time.

Dd3 has missed most of the build up to christmas this year due to having a UTI and being knocked completely off her feet for nearly 3 weekssad

Good luck at the GP and I hope the nativity went ok.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 16:34:11

Sorry for the typos eggsblush

Hi youme, that sounds really tough for your ds. I hope his assessment can shed some light on why he is struggling so muchsad

Welcome to eggsanxiety threadsmile

frankie4 Tue 11-Dec-12 17:57:59

Thanks eggsflour...

Does anyone else find it a real strain to always have to be one step ahead? Today I got very worried about the way my ds was going to react to something , and I felt anxious about it most of the day. In the end, he was fine, so I worried over nothing! But I am always trying to preempt stressful situations, which is also quite stressful for me to do all the time!

I have never had my ds's assessed by a paediatrician. When my ds was a baby I took him to a paediatrician who said he was crying all the time due to colic. There was no mumsnet when he was a baby so I had no one sensible to ask advice from!

eggsfloursugarbutter Tue 11-Dec-12 20:07:09

youmeandtheoldzifferzafferzuff - glad you have found the thread too - welcome! I completely get where you are coming from re the childhood slipping away. I see other people really relaxed around their children and enjoying them, whereas I am usually a nervous wreck and wondering at what point there is going to be a meltdown. So sorry that you are feeling like this, but hopefully when you get your assessment it might give you some answers and help you find some coping techniques. I have to say that the only thing that really helps ds is to get down to his level and explain exactly what is happening/going to happen in a way that he can understand. Also reassuring him that he doesn't have to do something if he doesn't want to seems to help, but obviously when it comes to school I can't do that sad.

pigs - I sort of see what you mean - am I right in thinking that it's along the lines of "I don't think this child has x disorder, I blame the parents?" I find it quite difficult actually having to deal with ds in front of other parents as I often think that they think I am just an overprotective mother or a "helicopter" parent. I feel like I need a badge for ds saying "I have extreme anxiety - don't judge!"
Thanks for the info re the assessment - the school has written a letter for me to take to the GP with the observations they have made, and I am going to do one of my own too. I've not seen this GP before so fingers crossed she is understanding!
So sorry to hear that your DD has been ill - what a shame - hope she is ok or at least on the mend now.

frankie4 - I TOTALLY get where you are coming from - I feel like that all the time. I don't think it helps the situation, because it makes me feel anxious, and I think DS picks up on it. I frequently burst into tears after such an event because of having to hold it together so strongly in front of ds/other parents!

Well the nativity went ok! He took part in it and was smiling and waving at me - I was so proud I could have burst. The teachers at that school are absolutely amazing smile.

sannaville Tue 11-Dec-12 20:19:16

Hi eggs, dd2 had ridiculously awful reflux and was on domperidone and ranitidine until she was gone 2. It still sufaces every now and then mainly when she's ill.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 20:52:06

Great news about the nativity eggs and I am really glad that the school are supporting you and your dssmile

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 12-Dec-12 09:57:13

Had a terrible morning this morning, Dd3 saying she has been awake all night because she didnt know what she was supposed to wear for the school playsad. It is not until next week but she is just so stressed.

She didnt want to stay for lunch at school and cried most of the morningsad

I felt terrible taking her in and went to see the HT, he was fab and listened to what I had to say and said he would try to get it sorted before we went too far backwards.

I am picking her up at lunchtime but he said he will sort something out for tomorrow.

This is such a difference from her old school and I am really glad I went in.

Hope everyone else had a better morning, I was supposed to go xmas shopping but didnt have the energy after struggling with Dd3sad, now I am panicking.

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