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Dd2 suddenly very worried about either me or herself dying and is generally very unhappy

(24 Posts)
nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 11:33:32

She is nearly eight and for want of a better word has always been a bit odd/sensitive/overly stressed.

She has mild OCD mainly to do with germs on hands and handwashing and this flairs up when she gets stressed.

Anyhow, before 6 week hols she was mega grumpy, but this was expected as end of terms always has this effect on her, as the schools change their routines etc. This normally goes away once the holiday starts, but this time it has stayed and she has been very very down and tearful. and all I can get out of her is that she misses me when she's not with me.

She was ill the other week and so stayed off school for one day and there was just me and her, and she was so much better, so happy, but after a few days she was back to being miserable.

She also will no longer stay overnight at my mums, which she has done since she was born. My mum lives s stones throw from mine, but dd says that a) Grandma snores lol, and b) she will miss me too much.

Now last night she came downstairs after about 30 min and said she'd had a nightmare. I asked her if she'd even been to sleep yet and she said no, but was really sobbing. I eventually got out of her that she is worried that I will die and she will never see me again, or that she will die and not see me again.

I wasn't totally sure what to say to her, but I just assured her that neither of us were going to die and that she should try and think about something else.

She has had a bad couple of years what with me and her dad splitting, but she honestly seemed fine with the split and it's only really since Julyish that she has gotten really down.

Any advice after all of my waffling appreciated.

imaginaryfriend Thu 04-Oct-07 11:37:25

nutcracker I don't have advice as my dd is only 5 next week. But your description of your dd is like looking into the future as she sounds so very like mine. Mine is obsessive, perfectionist, anxious and has had terrible phases of crying at the thought of me dying. I've gone over everything I can in my mind to see if I've somehow 'made' her insecure but I can't think of any particular thing - me and her dad are secure, I've mostly stayed home with her (worked part-time), she's an only child so she's never been short of attention.

Anyhow, no help but much sympathy and I'll be interested to see if wiser people have something to day.

sarahtwobratz Thu 04-Oct-07 11:41:23

I also have similar with DD1 (6yo). She is very sensitive and thoughtful. She comes down at night worried about fire. I have tried to reassure her. My MIL says I should tell her how to escape in case of fire in house, and what to do if there is a fire, but part of me thinks that by giving her too much information I mught just worry her further. I have tried to talk to her to find where the initial fear came from, but she doesn't know. Her uncle is a fire officer, so wonder if this has something to do with it.

mumblechum Thu 04-Oct-07 11:41:46

It might be worthwhile talking to the GP about getting a referral for help, as it sounds like she has an anxiety disorder. The local service may be able to offer cognitive behavioural therapy, which just means teaching your daughter to recognise when she starts to have the anxiety and some tactics for changing the way she thinks about it so she can handle it more positively.

(Don't have any personal experience, but a friend's dd went thru something v similar to your dd and it getting much better).

HuwEdwards Thu 04-Oct-07 11:43:54

Oh bless her.

Tell her you are young (you are, I just checked your profile wink)

Tell her your mum is still alive and chances are with better diets and medicine etc. that it's highly likely that you will live well beyond your mum's age, by which time she will be a grown woman.

And if you think she can handle it, tell her by the time anything might happen to you, she will likely have her own family (and therefore will not be 'alone')

nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 11:45:22

Thank you

I was considering taking her to the gp, but I fear they will think that either it's me being OTT (they thought it was odd when i went about her ocd), or that there must be more going on to make her feel this way.

I think i am worried that because I am a single mum, they might think I am just not doing a good enough job if dd feels this way. I know thats silly though.

I did think maybe I could ask to speak to the school nurse instead as I know she can reffer on if needed ?

mumblechum Thu 04-Oct-07 11:47:38

Yes, that's a good idea. I know the matron at my ds's school is trained in counselling, so your school nurse may be as well.

sad that you didn't get support for her ocd

nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 11:47:45

Thats is exactly what i did say this morning Huw, you must have been a fly on my kitchen wall LOL. She pulled a huge face when I said that by the time I was very old and did die, she'd have a husband and children of her own.

She just seems so miserable lately, and now I also think she is pretending not to be because she knows I am watching her.

For example i'll catch her starring into space with a sad face, and i'll ask her whats wrong, and she'll, sort of snap out of it, sit up, smile and say 'nothing i'm fine', and she so isn't.

nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 11:49:27

She did get reffered Mumble, but unfortunatly only had 2 sessions with a psych before they discharged her.

I am just so worried that as she gets older and life gets harder, she won't cope. There is a bit of a history of teenage depression in my family (myself included), and I so don't want that for her.

HuwEdwards Thu 04-Oct-07 11:51:01

Any chance you could get a Sat morning on your own with her and take her to a nice coffee shop or something, or even a mooch around town, see if you can get to the heart of it, see if there's an underlying anxiety about the split between you and her dad maybe?

Other than that, maybe the gp or schoolnurse can help - I think you're definitely right to try and do something for her.


Desiderata Thu 04-Oct-07 11:54:21

I went through exactly the same thing at exactly the same age. Most of my childhood went by in a blur, but this I vividly remember.

My parents had also split. I don't know whether this had anything to do with it or not, or whether some children just seem to realize, at a certain age, that people don't last for ever. Either way, I recall walking downstairs and throwing my arms around my mum, sobbing my heart out, convinced that she was going to die imminently.

It must be very distressing for you, but I can almost give you my guarantee that this is a phase, and it won't last long. Just bigs hugs and reassurances whilst she's going through it.

nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 12:01:27

I so hope it is a phase Des smile

I am taking her out shopping on Sat as she has some vouchers to spend, so i'll see what I can do.

I know she would like more time with me on our own, but unfortunatly it just isn't possible very often.

I think I might see how she is just before, and during and after half term, and if there is no improvement I will ask to see the school nurse.

Thank you all for your advice smile

covenhope Thu 04-Oct-07 12:02:43

Like Desi, I have a vivid memory of going through this myself. I was about 6, sitting in the bath, and it suddenly occurred to me that my parents could die, or worse still I might.

My parents were together and all 4 of my grandparents were alive so this came out of nowhere.

TinyGang Thu 04-Oct-07 12:08:27

I don't know if This thread might be of any help.

I started it the other day because my 8 yr old dd seemed a bit sad too.

Maybe it has something to do with a general awareness of life the universe and everthing kicking in. Makes you feel a bit helpless when they start to notice the big unanswerable stuff in life though doesn't it?

bootsmonkey Thu 04-Oct-07 12:21:45

At 7ish/8ish they start to become aware of themselves as a seperate entity, and start to see themselves as an individual. (My DD is only 5, but I have seen my friends go through this). I remember going through a phase of being terrified about nuclear war (cold war days, used to have the nuclear siren tests and leaflets shoved though the door telling you to sit under your kitchen table in the event of a bomb....etc.). I think it is the first step of growing into an adult - the realisation that you are not going to be this age/secure/mummys little girl forever.

Also, can something have happened at school - a mum at school died last year (40yo, 4 children) and ALL the kids went through a big wobble (and some of the parents)... Pets dying can also bring mortality home. Hope she cheers up soon and sorts it out in her mind. It is horrible seeing them upset about and abstract concept that you can do nothing about.

minouminou Thu 04-Oct-07 14:21:00

FWIW, i used to worry about developing cancer/rabies/ebola/galloping lurgy ALL the time at a similar age to your DD, and all the "don't worry, it'll never happen" stuff doesn;t help if you're inclined to worry like that.
What does help is cold hard facts - tell her it's very unlikely that i'll die, but if i do, this is what we've got planned for you.
Part of the worry is not knowing what will happen after you've gone (and let's hope she's quite a few years older then, eh?), and so if she can see that she will be provided and cared for, it'll help her to get her head round it.
What helped with my disease worries were facts like cancer stats, rabies not being present in UK etc etc....not a blanket "Don't worry, it'll never happen....", because as we all know - it could.
It's also likely that the split has something to do with this, so she might benefit from talking to a professional.
Hope she feels better soon - it's not nice, but it is part of growing up for some of us.
Just as an added note, i'm now very sensible and informed about diseases etc - i'm not washing my hands every 2 mins, so it does pass!

minouminou Thu 04-Oct-07 14:38:08

oh yeah - the curse of the 80's childhood - bloody nuclear war!
I tell you - when i saw the milk bottle melting on the doorstep in 'threads", i hot-footed it to the bathroom, locked the door and sat on the edge of the bath in silent panic.

nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 21:37:14

We had tears again at bedtime, again about me dying, although tonight she seemed more upset that I wouldn't be anywhere, she said she didn't believe people went to heaven, she thinks they go nowhere, and I didn't know what to say to that as we are not at all religious.

I had a really good chat with her, and she does still have some issues about the seperation and so i went through that again with her, explained why it happened and that me and her dad would always be there for her ecen if we lived apart.

Tbh I think one thing that may be making this harder for her, is that her closest friends at school have parents that are together, and that when she goes to theirs for play dates, she sees what in her mind she is missing out on.

Elasticwoman Thu 04-Oct-07 22:00:13

I don't think your child is oversensitive to have these fears. Actually she is right: you or her father could be knocked over by a bus tomorrow. She has been through the trauma of your splitting up and is looking at other possibilities. Many children start to realise what death means at 8 years old - I can remember a friend I was at school with having similar fears at the same age.

I think it is better to accept her feelings, but just reassure her that although possible it's very unlikely you'll die in the near future and if by any chance you did, what the consequences would be for her.

Our children know who would look after them if dh and i were to die while they are still children. We have made that provision in our will. If you don't do that, and you die, your children could be made wards of court.

Elasticwoman Thu 04-Oct-07 22:04:07

And re her fear of her own death, you could take the view that death is the end of suffering. Woody Allen said (something like) I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens. You could point out that while the death of a child is very sad, it is also very very rare. I bet you've said that already.

nutcracker Thu 04-Oct-07 22:04:50

I don't have a will at the moment. I suppose if I died they'd go to xp, although i'm not sure thats what I'd want, but it's what the kids would want.

If we both died then it would be my mum or if she were too old my elder brother.

God it's complicated isn't it.

I was truthful with her, and I did say that everyone dies eventually, some sooner than others, but that if that were to happen, she certainly would not be alone, and i reminded her that she is 1 of 3 and has uncles and grandparents etc that are all her family.

I think you are right though, my seperation from her dad has kind of broken the illusion that life will always be good, she now realises that sometimes things will happen that she doesn't like, and i think it worrieds her.

Elasticwoman Thu 04-Oct-07 22:09:02

"If we both died she would go to my mum ..." Not necessarily if you haven't made a will. And only to exp in the event of your death if he is named on the birth certificate. Without a legally drawn up will, your children would be wards of court, who might or might not be placed according to your wishes.

tizzwhizz Thu 04-Oct-07 22:11:09


Dont have any experience of this myself but was just wondering if there could be something going on at school thats making her feel insecure.

Also does your school have a school counsellor. I know you said about the nurse but just thought if they did that might help. The school I work at used to have a counsellor come in once a week before they got permanent one. Dont know if thats over the top if its just a phase just thought it was a suggestion.

smallwhitecat Thu 04-Oct-07 22:19:06

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