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Separation anxiety - advice needed please :( (sorry, long)

(2 Posts)
JollySarah Mon 02-Jun-14 20:56:30

Without going in to too much detail DD2 is 7 and has a genetic condition that predisposes her to psychological/psychiatric disorders. That said, equally they may never happen and she just might not have that particular susceptibility - we don't know.

Her father and I separated 18 months ago, he moved out and lived with a friend and her family and then about 2 months ago he moved in with his new girlfriend (they'd been together for a year). She dealt well with the separation and all developments, she's stayed with her father every weekend and has been happy.

BUT just these last couple of weeks DD2 has developed a severe separation anxiety. She's behaved very out of character by refusing to see her father (they were quite close) and even insisting he brought her home after just one night with him over half term when she was supposed to be staying for the week. She hasn't really left my side since, she panics if I'm going out and has to come with me, and tonight confessed to several fears all related to me going out without her and/or something bad happening to me.

I had this exact same anxiety when I was young - in fact it never really left me and for the last year I've been on high-strength medication for an anxiety disorder. It's helped, but I'm not there yet. I'm 30 btw.

I am petrified that the same thing is happening to DD2. The good thing is that I know exactly how to deal with it from experience (my mother was awful and exacerbated it, though not deliberately) but I know nothing about separation anxiety in general. I'm desperately hoping that someone out there is more experienced and has some advice for me??

There's a history of psychiatric problems in the family so I feel that I really need to get on top of this ASAP. Her school have been made aware and I'm considering going back to her paediatrician for advice but I'm not really sure if it's a Dr issue?? Any guidance appreciated!

mummyxtwo Tue 03-Jun-14 10:04:37

Can't offer a great deal of advice I'm afraid but just one query, did anything happen while she was at her dad's to scare her or that was unpleasant? I'm just wondering if there was a trigger involved in setting off this anxiety, as it has come on so suddenly and since a time when she was with him. I would just ensure that she feels comfortable and able to tell you openly about any concerns or worries she may have about being with her dad, and that she knows you won't laugh or be cross or not believe her. I had a similar anxiety about something happening to my mum when I was a child. It wasn't a debilitating anxiety though and it eased as I got older. I would try not to make a major deal of it to your dd, but just ensure that she knows she doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to do and is not happy with, just provide her with security and the safety that she needs and hopefully this anxiety will start to settle. Sorry I can't give more advice than that.

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