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Starting to become concerned about DD's anxiety- how to handle it?

(5 Posts)
craptastic Tue 07-Mar-17 11:32:48

DD is 9, has always been a bit of a worrier and over thinks things. Always had a bit of separation anxiety and tends to struggle to get to sleep- I think due to worrying/over thinking about school.

This got worse last year due to an ongoing bullying issue and just generally disliking school. I moved her to another school and she handled it brilliantly. She struggles academically but has plenty of support in place, her teachers are pleased with her progress and let her know this by way of rewards/certificates. She has some great friends and socially no issues.

But we seem to be back to square one. She's not sleeping well, her moods are terrible on school mornings, she cries as soon as we get to the school door and refuses to go in. The teachers are great with her. We try to get her to open up about what's wrong but she comes up with what I think are quite random excuses to explain her behaviour, and they are always different reasons. Or she will say she doesn't feel well. After this mornings episode, I generally think she just didn't want to be there but couldn't explain why.

Homework causes her to breakdown every weekend. I have spoken to school several times and will be going in again this week.

This is not just at school. She gets like this before swimming lessons most weeks- which she loves and has been doing for years. She gets herself so worked up that sometimes we have just had to come home, though she refuses to quit her lessons.

She is at her happiest in her room playing or pottering at home with me. She doesn't seem to want to do anything or see anyone unless she has to.

Is this more than the beginning of hormones/just the way she is or perhaps something I need to do something about? I don't know how to handle it either. Obviously I cant let her have time off school every time she's anxious about it, but I feel like the worst mother in the world leaving her at school crying and begging to come home with me.

Reow Tue 07-Mar-17 11:39:33

This was me. Find her a good therapist. Not NHS (I have huge respect for the NHS, but they do not have the capacity for MH. I spent years under NHS MH care and only got better when I went private).

Do a google search for local private therapists, and email a few asking their costs for at least 1hr a week.

Would she consider joining a local yoga class at least once a week? Maybe you could go with her? This helped me so much with breathing, quieting my mind, and self worth.

I suffered until the age of 24, not wanting to leave the house, massive social anxiety, panic attacks. Gestalt therapy and yoga really helped me. CBT and NHS counselling just made me feel like a burden on a conveyor belt. I'm now in my thirties and I socialize, travel and am mostly happy.

PM me if you'd like any book recommendations :-)

craptastic Tue 07-Mar-17 11:51:27

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, I'm not in the position to afford private therapy. I had wondered about taking her to the doctors, but was not sure what they could offer for her? If anything, some remedies to help her sleep would be good, as she's quite often still wide awake when I go to bed. The exercise is a good idea.

I agree that it needs tackling now. Some book recommendations would be great.

Reow Tue 07-Mar-17 13:32:59

I think an important thing is to help her feel supported and taken seriously. I felt for years that everyone thought I was being a drama queen, or they just wanted me to get over it and act like a normal person.

I agree private counselling is expensive. You could try NHS and say that you are conscious of their constraints but don't believe 30 mins CBT once a fortnight (what I was offered) was sufficient and see what they can offer you.

Perhaps she would benefit from a vv low dose of something like venlafaxine or sertraline (SSRIs that target anxiety) to help her get to a certain point. I also didn't sleep and it just exacerbates the anxiety massively. But she might be too young to start on something like an SSRI without looking at other things first.

Have you tried a pillow spray or something to help her sleep? Badger balm do a great lavender sleep balm that I rub on my head. I know people mock things like this, but it does help. Herbal tea at night also. A diffuser in her room with an calming essential oil like clary sage or lavender in it. Would something like a lumie bodyclock lamp help her?

(I know "hippie" remedies get mocked quite a bit, but there is a lot to be said for some of it)

I would hugely recommend yoga. In the beginning it terrified me, but it was so worthwhile. There is so much more to the teaching than being flexi and fit, a lot about breathing and focusing, and listening to your body.

I would recommend these books: (Maybe a bit old for her, but you could read it and filter down to her)

CatsBatsEars Tue 07-Mar-17 13:37:32

My dds both like this and have high functioning autism, have you looked into that? Very much transition and anxiety driven.

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