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7 year old girl. Anxiety/sleep phobia?(6 Posts)
Hello. This is my first time on MumsNet and I am writing this in complete desperation of some help and advice. I am a 23 year old mother of two, Amelie nearly 3 years old and Hallie who is 7 years old.
My daughter, Hallie, is whom I would like to talk about. Hallie lives at home with me, her sister and my partner of two years. Myself and Hallie's father seperated when Hallie was only 6 months old and so she knows no different than to visit him on a fortnightly basis Saturday-Sunday, he lives two hours away and with school and him working it makes it hard for it to be any longer than this.
Hallie is a very polite, friendly, well mannered, very intelligent little girl who I would describe as being a lot more mature for her age. I would even go as far as saying spending time with her and talking to her is like that of a 10-11 year old. Although I would describe Hallie as being confident I would also describe her as a worrier and thats something that I've noticed from a very young age, this has only been little things though and nothing that caused me massive concern.
The reason for my thread is that my perfect little girl is having some serious sleeping problems at the moment and I would go as far as calling it a phobia of sleep!!!
We have the same bedtime routine for four years and this consits of, bath, cuddles, brushing teeth, more cuddles, up to bed, story, 'turning on' her Dream Catcher, kisses cuddles and then I'd leave. For the past couple of weeks I had noticed that Hallie started to seem fidgety and looking a little sad when I mentioned it was bedtime. I would always ask her what was the matter and it would usually be either something was hurting i.e her tummy or that she missed her daddy.
At the start of this happening I would let Hallie then ring her daddy before bedtime but it got to the point that it was making her cry afterwards because she really 'missed' him and would keep getting up before she would even fall asleep only ever telling me she missed daddy. She would get up over and over again and I would give her cuddle after cuddle and send her back to bed and in the end she would fall asleep. After I realised that it was actually making things worse I chose not to let her ring him and if she mentioned calling him I would tell her that she can ring him in the morning and that she is allowed to call him at any point of the day if she wanted to.
The next day he was never mentioned that is until it came to bedtime again. I explained to Hallie that she has had all day to ring her daddy and that she hadn't mentioned him all day and that she could call him in the morning. If I am honest I believed it was a stalling tactic because she wasn't wanting to ring him the next and she wouldn't mention him either. It was also the only thing I had no control over. With the previous illness's ect that she would come out with I could give her a hot water bottle and some Calpol and send her off to bed but I couldn't physically make her daddy be there right now as he lives miles away and he is working which she knows and understands.
This went on for 3-4 days where Hallie wouldn't lay down in her bed and would keep saying 'mummy mummy' as I was leaving the room to the point I'd go back and ask her what was the matter and she would say again 'I miss daddy'. I'd talk to her. She would still refuse and so I'd tell her goodnight and walk down the stairs but before I even got to the bottom she was completely freaking out, crying, following me. I could tell her untiil I was blue in the face to go upstairs and she would just stand there and just not say anything. I would then physically take her upstairs and she would just stand in the middle of her bedroom. I'd tell her to get into her bed and she just refuses. So i'd walk out and she would follow. She would be crying and screaming. I'd be getting frustrated and would be physically having to push her bottom upstairs because she refused to walk up and this would go on between 19:30 and 23:00pm where she would finally go to sleep. I suppose I was getting a little more agigated because her sister was only next door and is such a light sleeper and I told Hallie she was going to wake her sister and she just stood there and didn't really seem bothered.
The next few nights would be the worst. Hallie would go to bed as usual and would be down 30 seconds later but this time she was telling me she needed me to stay with her and that 'i want mummy'. I did everything I could this night. Everything I possibly could. I even spoke to her for ages and it made no difference. I even laid with her and as soon as I left she freaked out again. I was up and down the stairs with her for hours and at one point I chose to sit by the living room door and speak to her through the door telling her to go back upstairs. It's at this point she was hitting the door over and over again and telling me if she didnt get this or get that she wasn't ever going to go to sleep. She has now damaged my door. Every so often I would go out there and ask if shes ready for bed yet and she would say no and so I'd say well I don't want to listen to it all and I had finally had enough of over a week of this. She was screaming at me she hates me and everyone that makes her go to bed and within a split second she was saying 'mummy im sorry' and I'd say its ok hallie now go to bed and she would tell me no and we'd go over it again.
I would take her upstairs and she would grab the door and tell me I werent leaving and that she doesn't deserve a mummy. I then started crying and explained to her that everyone deserves a mummy and that I love her and she just needs to go to sleep so her 'brain can work properly'. I would then say i am going again and she ran at the door and grabbed my arms. She pushed me backwards into a wall. I said to her that I had had enough and I was going downstairs because it isn't fair to do that to mummy. I then went downstairs and she just carried on. She was hysterical. I was trying to calm her down but she was just freaking out.
I took her back upstairs and physically put her in her bed and again she was screaming and I was begging for her to be quiet but she just wouldn't. I walked out and I heard her get back up and so I walked into her room and she was grabbing my arms begging me not to go saying I'm not tired and it's at this point she slapped me in the face. I was in pure disbelief that my precious little girl would ever do anything like that. It's even breaking my heart to write.
I went downstairs and sobbed my heart out. My partner went to talk to Hallie and said she must apologise. Hallie came and apologised. I gave her a cuddle but then it just started all over again. She was kicking doors and screaming. She was hysterical. She had a panic attack. My darling daughter at 7 years old had a panic attack and I was heartbroken. I wasn't willing to watch her like that anymore and so I went to bed and told her to come get in bed with me. It was 2am in the morning and we were both shattered.
The next day it was forgotten about. Bedtime came again and we had the exact same thing but this time it was that she was scared of having a bad dream. It had been 11 days and I was exhausted I explained to Hallie that I was getting nanny over to help because I just couldn't do it. My mum and Hallie have a very close bond and it was very difficult for my mum to watch. She again tried everything she could. She explained to Hallie that if she wasnt to stop that I would go to sit and nannies house until Hallie was in bed (but really I would just be in the garden!) because she could see I was at breaking point. She carried on anyway and so I put my shoes on and Hallie was screaming 'no mummy no please'. I said to Hallie that I didnt know what else to do and I asked her If i had done something wrong which is why she was being this way towards me. I asked her if she was going to go to bed like a good girl and that she could sleep in my bed but she refused. I went to put my shoes on and explained that I would come straight back when nanny said she was in bed. She ran towards me and threw her arms around me and I couldnt even describe to you how heart wrenching it was and her little heart was beating so fast on my tummy and I just cried ' her little heart is beating so hard ' and I broke down. I fell to the floor and I just didn't know what else to do. I just held her so tight and picked her up and took her and put her in my bed and we slept 1am-5:45am when Hallie's sister woke up.
I know some people may be sitting there and wondering why it took so long for me to just put her in bed to take away her distress but please dont judge me as a mother. Looking back I wish I did now. I love my children to death and seeing her like this caused me such distress, just knowing I couldn't do anything for her to take it away. Hallie is so clever and it was hard for me to determine whether she was just testing me because she just didnt want to go to bed.
I think denial and lack of sleep affected my whole view on the matter. I didn't want to believe that there was something more underlying and was hoping that she was just being naughty but seeing her the way I did the last few nights broke my heart and I could just see she had no control over what was going through her mind. No matter what anyone said or done she just didn't 'care' and was hysterical.
Hallie has suffered with 3 panic attacks at bedtime in the last 4 days alone and has gotten more and more 'abusive'. I have been to the doctors and they have said they will refer her to CAMHS but I know this has a big waiting list. I am due to take her to meet the doctor on Monday morning as they'd like to see her in person but it's still going on now and I don't know what I can do as a mother and Hallie needs help now. How sudden and the severity of something that has gotten out of control so quickly to the point of completely changing my 7 year old is something that needs to be taken seriously; not to mention the lack of sleep and the starting of the new school term time in a couple of weeks.
I really don't know what to do. Has anyone got any advice or any experiences of the same thing? I tried to narrow the story down and it's still quite long so I apologise so if anyone has any questions then please ask.
Thank you for reading.
It all sounds awful, for both of you. I'm not sure what advice to give really. A few questions though -How long do bedtimes normally take? How well does your daughter know your partner? Any issues between the both of them? Are you on speaking terms with her dad? How are bedtimes there?
Also you might want to report your post and get the powers that be to remove your daughters names. Folk usually just say DD1 (meaning dear 1st daughter) to protect anonymity.
while you waiting for advice.
Could you remove the pressure of sleeping. Tell her she can lie on her bed, or a comfy beanbag with her pj's on and listen to some stories! I highly recommend this cd - very soothing and sleep inducing
relax kids cd
It sounds awful for you both
It sounds really extreme and I don't think it is her just taking the mick. I remember being like that with my mother when I was about eight and to be honest I was a troubled little girl. Somthing is going on.
It sounds like your going down the right path in regards to getting her help but tbh I'd just let her share my bed till you see CAMHS. Getting in that state every night is not good for anyone's MH. Hope you get her sorted
I know this an old post but I'm just wondering how you and your daughter are getting on?
I am going through a very similar experience with my dd 8yrs old.
It's soul destroying
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