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Please help...(24 Posts)
I'm not sure if this belongs in MH but am feeling at my wits' end and could use some advice from anyone who has been through similar or just thinks they can help. I am single mum to my DS (10) - his DF lives locally and sees him regularly and is also usually helpful. For several years, DS has had phases with ailments appearing at bedtime. Over the summer we have moved home (to the town where his DF lives so somewhere he knows well, for context) and he has changed school for Y6 as well as having to be thrown in to the stress of an 11+ test. So it has admittedly been a stressful time for him and he is quite sensitive as it is. Anyway, these ailments he has have REALLY reared their head of late. Daily complaints of pains in his knees, elbows, neck, under finger and toe nails (posted about this recently) which seem to flare up at bedtime (though he does complain during day too). He has also had intermittent low abdominal pain which seems to cause him agonising pain - to be fair this can happen during the day as well as at night. He has had an ultrasound and there doesn't appear to be anything untoward. This week we have had further episodes of abdominal pain. The GP has seen him.and doesn't believe there is anything physically wrong. His teacher also believes he is physically fine but that he may be anxious about the pace of work at his new school which is much faster than at his previous primary. She says he is doing really well but that she has picked up on some anxiety from him.
I'm obviously concerned about him but there doesn't appear to be anything medically wrong. The bedtime issues are really driving me to distraction. He stays awake for ages so looks awful and exhausted during the day and he will come to my bedroom after bedtime to complain that something - usually his stomach or knees - is "really hurting." I'm finding this really stressful and difficult because I can never switch off. I've talked to him about his feelings and tried to help him develop strategies for dealing with situations that cause him anxiety but the bedtime issue persists. Every noise from his room causes me to jerk awake and my stomach to drop because I am just so desperate for him to sleep and to be able to relax and switch off myself. I love my son so much and want him to be happy and don't know how to help him. I enjoy spending time with him very much but come bedtime, find myself wishing it was a night he was with his dad so that I can just switch off and relax and fall asleep without being on anxious high alert.
Does anyone have any advice? How can I help my son be happier and healthier and how can I manage these bedtime problems? I keep telling myself that it can't go on ad infinitum but right now, I'm really finding it tough. Thanks for reading all of this...
Can you have elbow, knee or toe pain due to anxiety? I think it's more headaches or abdominal problems. I'd try a different GP - whilst there might be some anxiety there's probably also a physical health problem.
Thanks for the reply... to be fair with regards to the body pain (as opposed to the abdominal pain) the GP could not find anything wrong but did consult with a senior GP who wanted us to monitor for a cpl of months and would then look at a referral if it didn't settle. So they haven't ruled out a physical problem but seem to believe the abdominal pain is not anything medical. Sorry to drip feed but he does also complain of headaches. I just want to know how to manage the bedtime issues as it is ramping up my own stress levels which isn't any good for trying to decrease his.
Have a look at abdominal migraines - a friend in work's son suffers from them although I had never heard of them.
Is the night time problem just started or has he always had problems sleeping? (I am typing this whilst laying in my daughter's bed willing her to go to sleep).
I would give him some paracetamol before bed - tell him it will rid him of his pains.
If he complains still then you will know he is faking it
Otherwise he could be a hypochondriac
For a number of years, there have been intermittent issues with complainijg about ailments at bedtime but it's really over the last 6 mths to a year that he has started going to sleep far later than he ought (despite an earlier bedtime now) and ramping up the complaints about the ailments at bedtime. Hope that your daughter drops off soon for you... how old is she?
@QuiteLikely5 I have tried giving paracetamol and it doesn't seem to have any impact.
I can still hear that he is awake now... I can't go to sleep or relax until he has fallen asleep... I just feel so stressed with it.
I don't think it's hypochondria as he doesn't get worried about germs or catching someone else's illness...
Growing pains are a real thing! His body will be changed going daily, I can remember agonising pains in my legs as a young child. It may well be just that, add in anxiety and it would be enough.
Please don't take this wrong but if you're feeling anxious he may be picking up on this and this could be making him worse. Or he could be thriving off the attention.
Try breathing techniques relax and try to sleep as you will feel so much better.
I'd change the doctor and then send him to bed an hour early no devices and give him time to relax use
This time for you to relax also
OP I sympathise hugely, I have a similar situation and I know how exhausting it is and how you desperately want them to go to sleep so you can have a small respite, and yes, you love them to bits.
I would probably want to really rule physical stuff out and so see another gp and maybe push for blood tests esp iron as anaemia can cause pain I think.
As others have said growing pains can really hurt too.
You probably are, but good routine at bedtime... Warm bath, story, lavender oil on a tissue (helps my dd). Sometimes I'll also give ds a headrub. That 10 mins extra to relax them can be worth it.
Oh and physical exercise in the day so he's properly tired can help.
Really hope things improve. Best wishes.
Hi Net I think she finally went to sleep at 11.30ish.
It sounds like there is something going on with your son. Does he have OCD? I think I would go back to the doctor's and see a different GP. He has been through a very stressful time by the sounds of it and I think things will calm down in time but his germ phobia needs looking into.
Going to bed earlier and relaxing doesn't work for my daughter she would just lie there thinking and/or worrying.
I hope he managed to settle.
This sounds very similar to OCD to me. Does he speak about intrusive thoughts? Google should tell you lots about this
My daughter had loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pains for years - she was told by Gps it was due to anxiety, and later, maybe a bit of IBS. (She had mental health problems) An ultrasound (for frequent urination) showed nothing. She was prescribed anti emetics and when they didn't work, was told they would work if there were an organic cause - ie suggesting it was psychosomatic! She was also complaining of severe period pain, which she was told is normal for women!
Last September, a consultant gynaecologist found endometriosis and adhesions on her bowel - he dealt with it all. While the loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting got better, they were still there. Last week, a consultant gastero-enterologist told her, after a test where she swallowed capsules with letters inside to see where they end up; she had the insides of an elderly person - where the colon should be straight, it looked like the corkscrew rollercoaster at Alton Towers! The adhesions have come back, and food cannot pass through her normally, causing the symptoms she has - he advised a low fibre diet and if that does not work, she can discuss more surgery!
GPs cannot do these kind of tests, and after seeing DD suffer for 5 years from all this, which were due to physical problems not anxiety, I would not believe a Gp's assertions that something is not physical, when they have no real evidence to support their belief!
Thanks for the replies. Really helpful. Will definitely see the GP again if no change. He DOESN'T have a germ phobia so don't think there is any OCD issue.
@Checklist your pour daughter..that sounds just horrible for her and for you too. Am so glad she has now had a diagnosis but it must feel so awful to know that her problems could have been mitigated had they been picked up on earlier. I will go back with my boy.
If you can afford it try to get some help from a child mental health nurse - your GP should be able to suggest one. If not ask for a referral to CAMHS. There are strategies he can learn to help with anxiety.
DD suffers from bad anxiety and has done for years before we actually realised it. She has been prone to aches and pains in various parts of her body too. Not just headaches, tummy etc but really painful thighs and arms etc but when she's not anxious she just doesn't get them. Even she now realises that when she's got really achy thighs for example it's because she's worrying about something however minor. Pain is pain though whatever the cause so she still uses pain relief. It there's a definite link to her state of mind.
Have you tried Headspace? The subscription version has a children's meditation section. It's worked brilliantly for my anxious 9 year old.
He also complains of thigh pain... I wonder if it is all anxiety related. Thanks so much for the replies - will definitely take a look at Headspace.
He should definitely have blood tests done to check for deficiencies and also for coeliac disease. Symtoms include aches and pains and anxiety though GPs may not be au fait with this.
This sounds like me as a child. I was dx with hyper mobility syndrome (ehlers danlos syndrome type 3) in my 20s.
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