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is this summat? or nowt? whatever tis, tis looooong...

(19 Posts)
OhBloodyNorah Sat 06-Nov-10 10:42:58

right- I've namechanged for this because I don't want anyone to recognise dd

I have three kids- ds, dd1a and dd1b (twins,7). Dd1a- I know everyone says this about their kids but bear with me- is utterly lovely. She is funny, kind, open, warm, very affectionate and just- sweet. She doesn't look particularly gorgeous but she really appeals to people iykwim. My other dcs are delightful but different from dd1a in that they are not particularly "people" persons grin (I'm just putting that in so that you know I'm being objective about dd1a and not being a Gushy Mum. Honest.)

Just recently dd1a has become anxious, on and off. She is a handwasher- eg if she picks something off the floor she'll wash her hands without being told. She is also a very thorough bum wiper- to the point of annoying her impatient siblings.

Very recently, though, she has been anxious to the point of throwing up about things she has done/ might have done/ couldn't possibly have done. It started with some scribble on the wall- I asked all of them who had done it, no-one fessed up; I was the correct amount (I think) of Cross and Disappointed and asked the eldest to scrub it off (not insinuating that it was him what had done it- just because he's the most thorough scrubber and I was busy making tea). Few nights later and dp is putting girls to bed- dd1a starts sobbing uncontrollably and says she did it and she feels "gulty" because her brother had to clear up. Dp says (kindly)never mind at least you know it was wrong and now you'll think twice before you do it again. She ends up, though, getting so upset she throws up...

that was a couple of weeks ago and since then, on and off, she seems to get these fits of guilt and shame and worry about things she's done/ thinks she might have done without knowing about them confused. The things she talks about are of sooooo little consequence it's unreal- like "I'm sorry I put my trainers on the rug in the bathroom" "I'm sorry I put my hand on the wall" or "I'm sorry I gave [visiting child] a car in his hand and it might have hurt him" and "I'm sorry I whispered dd1b are you awake"- even "I'm sorry I breathed loudly on purpose to wake dd1b up"-

I know it doesn't sound much written down but it's relentless and accompanied by sobbing. Last night she threw up again and didn't manage to get to sleep till about half ten- and she was up again before 7 doing the same thing

we are trying (and mostly succeeding) in being patient, not getting testy, telling her she doesn't need to feel sorry etc etc and trying to shift her perspective a bit- but it isn't working.

I really really hate it. She's always been such a happy little girl. I can't describe it without her sounding like Pollyanna, or the girl in that Mike Leigh film Happy Go Lucky- you'll just have to take my word for it that she's lovely grin and I really hate to see her making her world miserable

Am I overreacting? has anyone else had to deal with dcs burdened with "gulty" feelings?

Must add we do have boundaries but we're not all that strict, and our house is a tip- so really don't understand why she's worried about making a mess etc sad

MmeLindt Sat 06-Nov-10 10:46:16

I can understand you being worried, it sounds very sad.

Is there anything in school that she is concerned about? Is she very ambitious/pefectionist in her attitude towards school?

I don't think that you are overreacting, I think you are dealing well with it. Reassuring her and telling her everything is fine.

OhBloodyNorah Sat 06-Nov-10 10:52:27

thanks Mme smile

I've home educated the twins for nearly a year, so no school

...of course I'm now wondering if it's anything to do with the HE, but we go to a lot of meet ups and activities and things and, out of the pair of them, dd1a is always the one who joins in, makes friends, chats to people etc, while dd1b pulls at my coattails and asks if it's time to go home yet grin

as far as achieving in work goes- she likes to do things well, and to be praised, but she's not particularly driven iykwim- and I don't push her hard at all...

Hassled Sat 06-Nov-10 10:58:38

My DS3 (8) went through a similar, though less extreme, thing - he massively overreacted to anything that could be remotely construed as "telling off" (a fairly mild "don't do that please, DS3" would be a Major Deal), he fretted endlessly about having possibly done something wrong, he always seemed to feel guilty about something.

I wondered at the time if it was just the realisation that he really was responsible for the consequences of his actions, whether it was just a leap in maturity/level of empathy as part of his development which had come to fast and too quickly for him to really be able to process. But he's the youngest of 4, and I never went through this with the others - interestingly, like yours, he's by far the most people-friendly and "attractive" of the siblings.

Anyhoo - it seems to have calmed, and while I do worry that he seems overly anxious to please at times, he's nowhere near as bad as he was. I did spend a lot of time telling him how parents always love their children no matter what they do - we've talked about how while I know sometimes we won't like each other very much, we'll always love each other, and what the difference is.

I do hope things settle with your DD - it's a tricky sort of age. It sounds like you're doing everything right.

OhBloodyNorah Sat 06-Nov-10 11:27:08

Hassled- that's so good to hear. Iykwim!

I did/do wonder whether it's just a realisation of responsibility/growing awareness of impact on other people, right and wrong etc. That's in my optimistic moments. In my less optimistic moments I think it'll go on forever

I've also been having the 'unconditional love' chats. Dd said "what, anything? even if I blew up the Houses of Parliament?" grin

was just chatting to ds (13) about it. He was complaining that dd1a is "really boring these days" because she won't join in anything naughty- eg jumping on the beds, fighting. He can't wait for her to forget about feeling gulty and get back to normal (he is not what you'd call overburdened by conscience grin)

OhBloodyNorah Sun 07-Nov-10 22:20:14

just bumping in case anyone else should happen along with some knowledge/experience of this...

dd1a (and the rest of the family) has had awful weekend. Nearly every waking moment has been filled with constant repetitive questions/statements about things she says she has done- eg tripped people over on the way to the fireworks 'on purpose', poked dd1b or ds 'on purpose' (of course, she hasn't)...perhaps the most distressing thing has been that she keeps insisting she has stuck two fingers up at me or her dad (we know she hasn't, because she has started- since last night- holding her arms out in front of her with her hands flat. She even went to sleep with her hands flat out over the covers and woke up doing exactly the same. She can barely dress/undress sad)

we are being very very patient but unfortunately the other dcs are getting frustrated, upset and ultimately angry. Of course we've told them to bear with her, but tbh it's more than a child can take, iykwim...

I have googled childhood OCD and it does resonate- wonder if anyone else has experience of similar. I am not sure whether she realises that the statements she makes are not "real"- dp thinks she does; I'm not sure though. This seems to be the key to OCD, that the person who has it is aware that it's not rational. I'm not sure with dd, though sad

SpringHeeledJack Mon 08-Nov-10 09:19:01

bumping again

SpringHeeledJack Mon 08-Nov-10 09:19:41

oops! forgot to name change


3isthemagicnumber Mon 08-Nov-10 09:29:52

Had to post as we are going through exactly the same thing with ds1 aged 10, and have been for about 18 month.
We are at the point, after much reading and research , in believing he has OCD

From what we can tell, obsessive/repetitve thoughts-which is where his very much is based, is actually the most common symptom and not the repetitive behaviours, which most people assume.

He too feels enormous guilt for actions, going back 2 or 3 years. He feels terrible if he has a "bad" thought (e.g unkind about someone) and he is truly crippled by the obssessive processess which allow him not to move on from it.

He has a current 'germs' obsession, i-e hand washing which has been the first real physical manifetation.

I have slightly more of an insight as my Mum suffers from the same, so it is quite obvious to me that OCD seems to be the answer, if you like.

We have not yet saught outside help, though i am feeling that we are moving towards that as am always unsure if we are supporting him in the right way.

I know how upsettingg, as a parent, it is to see your child going through this so although i have no answers for you, sorry, i just wanted you to know you are not alone.

His is very much worse by the way when he is anxious about something, from a football match to school work to whatever.

I really think it is just the way he is made, and all we can do is support him and help him find his own tools for dealing with it.
fingers crossed for you

3isthemagicnumber Mon 08-Nov-10 09:35:46

Also, in terms of rational understanding of the thoughts, DS wavers between understanding he hasnt done something, though still not being able to convince himself this, to genuinely believing that his thoughts/actions (imagined) have caused it.

All we do is talk and talk-try to introduce the logical/rational and tell him it is because he is overthinking which has made it seem true-again dont know if we are doing the right thing.

I can tell you are treating her with kindness though, not matter how frustrating it truly is, and that seems to always help DS

Eleison Mon 08-Nov-10 09:41:29

Sorry you are going through this. It sounds awful. OhBloodyNorah, it does sound like OCD and because you expressed a worry about whether HE had anything to do with it I just wanted to say that OCD would IN NO WAY be remotely caused by anything to do with your parenting or educational decisions.

I think that if you ask your GP about it, and if s/he feels that it is OCD, the GP is quite likely to think in terms of prescribing anti-depressants (not bcs your dd is depressed, but because some anti-ds are very effective with OCD). There was a poster on here a year or so ago whose daughter was suffering very badly with this condition and was very clearly helped by an anti-depressant.

ginodacampoismydh Mon 08-Nov-10 10:03:02

from initial post i thought either attention seeking behaviour or ocd.

after your second post about putting fingers up, this may also indicate early signs of urges present in touretts.

it may also be nothing more than her reasoning with the unsaid and irrational thoughts we all experience in our heads. but learn to ignore. I would talk to her teachers about this and request some support along the way from an educational psychologist if you feel that is esculating or getting worse.

poor thing she sounds like she is a very concienciouse little girl and struggling with this.

can you encourage her to replace vomiting and sobbing with another less distressing task, such as writting some of this down and ripping it up to get her stress out and then putting it in the bin so the episode is over for her. this worked with a sen child I once worked with who had uncontrolibel urges to tell you to fuck off if her was told off, so was encourage to right down i want to tell you to fuck off because....then he would rippp it up and stamp on it.

SpringHeeledJack Mon 08-Nov-10 18:36:59

thanks everyone for all your posts- will read and digest them properly when dd (finally) goes to bed- she has been a pretty constant presence today and I can't risk her looking over my shoulder!

thanks again smile

SpringHeeledJack Mon 08-Nov-10 18:37:28

sorry- I am the OP- in too much of a flap to change my name


Lougle Mon 08-Nov-10 18:56:12

I am wondering if you are unintentionally having the opposite effect to what you intended.

By playing down her worries, she may be feeling even more that she has been terrible. ie. that she must be so terrible that you can't even admit it.

Perhaps you need to give her some time to 'get it out of her system'. It will be very wearing at first, but perhaps go along with this sort of thing:

DD "I'm so sorry I did x, y, z..."
You: Have you been worrying a lot about that?
DD: Yes, ....
You: What makes you worried most?

Perhaps by allowing her to communicate her fears, they will get a bit of perspective?

I do think you need to talk to her school though.

ginodacampoismydh Mon 08-Nov-10 21:07:34

agreed Lougle that these things need to be adressed with dd help her to come to some sort of perspective and understanding of her own behaviour and if that is failing then possibly along the way may need some perspective from school etc.

i have a relative who has very mild behaviour characterisitcs of torettes and/or ocd, never diagnosed as a child but very classic traits. that probably where much more pronounced as a child.

ginodacampoismydh Mon 08-Nov-10 21:12:46

sorry missed a few post i see you home educate, so possible not able to talk to school? sorry, not sure who you may be able to access in that case.

Lougle Mon 08-Nov-10 21:13:53

sorry, i did read that, then promptly ignored it blush

SpringHeeledJack Tue 09-Nov-10 12:14:24

sorry I haven't been back to this and thanks very much for all the good advice here. And magicnumber- thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one!

we are still being gentle with dd and she seems a lot better than she was at the weekend- she is managing to play a bit- between apologising for things inc things she did many years ago- and hasn't been sick this stage we're just keeping an eye on her, making sure she's not stressed and that we're there/available and intending to take her to the GP next week

will come back when I get a chance- honestly during the time it's taken me to tap this out I've had to hide it 5 times because of interruptions from the dds- so it's a bit of a struggle- sorry if it reads as twaddle- no time to check...

once again thank you very much- dp is amaaaazed at mn and the willingness to share information/help- think he thought it was all bumsex trolls and catfights wink

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