8yo who overthinks everything(7 Posts)
My 8 year old daughter is incredibly anxious about everything, and I am struggling to help her. A bit of background; she had a life threatening virus at 16 months and has chronic kidney disease as a result, but, apart from daily medication and visits to GOSH, it doesn't impact on her life. However, as she has got older, she has become increasingly anxious about her health. She doesn't remember anything about what happened, but I have explained it all to her. My mantra is that she's a perfectly healthy little girl who happens to have poorly kidneys, and we have to look after them to make sure they keep working properly (in truth, she'll probably need a transplant in the next few years). She's incredibly bright and has always been one of those kids who questions every-bloody-thing, but in the last couple of years I have realised that she's hyper-aware of what's going on around her. This year, just gone, her 28-year-old cousin died and it hit her harder than I anticipated. Also, a little girl she knows through her child minder is currently critically ill at GOSH, the knowledge of which I was unable to shield her from. Her anxiety has gone into overdrive and it breaks my heart. I practice mindfulness with her, which helps a little, but I was hoping for some advice from other parents who face the same issues. Childhood shouldn't be marred with these kind of worries - she worries that I might die, that she might die, that the bloody dog might jump off a cliff and die. I think eight is a little too young to be facing up to mortality, and I want to put her fears to rest. Recently, she has suffered with breathing problems. Obviously, I have had it checked out and she's physically fine, but I recognise the symptoms of panic attacks (I suffered them throughout my teens and 20s). I'm kind of feeling alone in this and would be very grateful if anyone could share their experiences. I'm pretty pragmatic, but this is really testing me. My eight-year-old should not be suffering near-panic attacks.
She's got a lot going on hasn't she?
She shouldn't suffering with PA's but she's not the only young child to do so.
My DS2 now 7 spent alot of time under medical supervision and we still have hospital appts a few times a year. He's panicky when he's ill. He also overthinks about medical stuff and death.
I have tried so hard to be light and breezy about his health issues but it's bloody hard when you are worried sick yourself. I often wonder is he picking up the worry from me? He's very intuitive.
I have found letting him know the panic attacks/worry are really normal. We saw a therapist for children who was helpful if only to reaffirm its natural. Gave him methods on how to deal with it.
Have you spoke to her doctor about it?
There's a company called Relax Kids - their website may have resources useful to you.
We have a good book off Amazon - like a workbook about anxiety. Think it's called what to do when you worry too much. That was a good starting point.
It's tough isn't it?
Cranial ostheopathy helps with anxiety. Also try to avoid talking about those topics with her as much as possible and try to teach her to think positive; maybe some yoga classes can help too.
Could GOSH put you in touch with a play therapist to help with her anxieties I'm sure things like this unfortunately would be quite common there
Try taking up a sport or some other physical activity so she can learn to focus more on what she CAN do and how relatively strong and healthy she is. That her body won't let her down all the time, it can also make her feel empowered and create lots of endorphins and have fun. She doesn't have to compare herself to other people, I'm sure even setting small easy goals will give her a real sense of achievement and confidence. And resilience too. Obviously this is just a small piece of the puzzle but if nothing else it might help her to sleep better and stay calmer.
Also it's possible that she remembers more than you think; my first memories are from being in hospital in an oxygen tent when i had whooping cough aged 18 months. I thought they were just memories from a strange dream until my mum told me about what happened many years later.
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