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Advice please- 6 year old DS with awful anxiety/OCD type symptoms(30 Posts)
I'm really worried about my DS and wondered if anyone had been through anything similar. He has always been very sensitive, thinks a lot about things, does well at school, is v articulate etc...and has always been a bit of a 'worrier' with the odd period where he has felt the need to repeat little routines to reassure himself - (sequence of movements, checking hands are clean etc...)
However it's recently started to get worse (his grandad died a few months ago and we were living away from home while our extension was being built - so a lot to deal with) and the last few days have been awful. It's got to the point where he is now having intrusive thoughts pretty much every couple of minutes - he worries that someone has got into the house, that someone might kill me or his dad while he is out of the room, that a soft toy might turn into a man with a gun, that we might not be safe in the car, in the house etc...etc.... He keeps asking me for reassurance which of course I give. It doesn't help though and knowing a bit about OCD personally (I struggle with it sometimes but manage it well), I completely understand! He is fed up of worrying and is very upset.
So, our GP is referring us to CAMHS in Hampshire (for CBT) and has said there is probably a two month wait. I honestly don't feel we can afford to wait that long...we are exhausted with worry for him
Does anyone live near the Berkshire/Hampshire border and can recommend anyone private that my son could see? We are in between Reading and Farnham/Guildford.
Also, if anyone has any tips on how to support a child with these issues then it be would reassuring to hear from you. We've tried lots of things like a worry box etc... but it's almost got too bad for that now.
Thanks in advance
Thank you, OCD Action looks really helpful
Devon, I have just done a quick search online on OCD CBT exercises and a few interesting links come up.
This one might be useful.
It is probably worth your arming yourself with information, especially if there is any delay before your son sees somebody.
I suffered from OCD in my teenage years but it was not as extreme as what your son seems to be experiencing. It was also not a recognised condition at the time. I was 'forced' to overcome it because my parents stamped on my compulsions and repeatedly told me to stop undertaking my rituals. That worked for me then.
I still suffer from intrusive thoughts and compulsions, but I find them easier to ignore these days.
I think early intervention is key though before the compulsions get 'normalised' and entrenched.
Thanks Rattitude, appreciate your info. I've had a look at the link you suggested and it's really useful
You're welcome, Devon I hope you manage to get the appropriate treatment for your son quickly.
Have a look at these two videos about children who were helped with similar emotional issues using the Three Principles:
This would be such a helpful thing for your son to learn about.
I'm off to bed now but if you have any questions then I'll be back on tomorrow.
From the POV of having OCD since I was three and noticing my two DDs doing things that are OCDish, without long term intervention nothing can take away the anxiety when it's coming on strong (and has a biological/genetic cause?).
But your mum being there to reassure you can give a measure of security that can stay with you as something to fall back on long into adulthood.
It might not feel like you're doing anything when you reassure him because you can't see any immediate solution to the problem he's having, but him having a safe place knowing you're there for him however he is is something you just can't prescribe. You should't underestimate what you're doing (aside from finding professional support)
You just want to take the anxiety away so you can deal with it for them. I found with DD1 who's 13 now that there are coping techniques that helped her get things into perspective and deal with intrusive thoughts at around the same age as your DS, but what she was doing wasn't as intrusive as what you describe with your DS.
Oh, and I tried to play it down as well, as my parents did with me, the more I felt I was 'different' the more anxious I became.
Although I'm sure you're already doing that anyway
Thank you SeasonofTheWitch! I've watched both those videos and love the way the kids spoke...how articulate! I thought some of the analogies that they used were really helpful and think I will use some with my DS. He's now at the point where he recognises when he's having a 'what if?' thought and can giggle about it...definitely progress! Thank you again
I had the same problem with my DS which started at about the same age. The best thing for him was the "10 minute wait" - if he needed reassurance about something he could tell me he was anxious, and then after a 10 minute wait we would discuss it. 9 times out of 10 but the time 10 mins had passed he had realised it wasn't worth discussing and dismissed it himself.
Good luck with CAMHS.
Your post made me feel a lot better AgentZigzag...sometimes it doesn't feel as if I am actually 'doing' anything but you're right, just being there and reassuring him is the main thing. My DS is beginning to recognise when his thoughts aren't 'helpful' ones for him but it's going to be a slow process I think. Did you do any relaxation exercise type things with your DD1? I've bought a Relax Kids CD but my DS thinks it's too 'babyish'! Might try music instead next!
Thanks SinkOrGin, good advice...will try that. How is your DS now? Did he see CAMHS?
I tried to help her more with a way of dealing with the intrusive thoughts then/there than relaxation techniques, which are good, but it's having something you can call on instantly rather than a way of gradually winding down.
The classic one of getting them to pick a nice scene/scenario, either that they've had or one they make up, to focus on. They make that bigger/brighter and the intrusive thought fainter/drained of colour.
Another one I used was to get her to make what was worrying her (like a lad at school who was shitty to her) really small with a ridiculous squeaky voice and
give him a boot up his arse flick him away
I also tried not to separate out the thoughts from 'them', because the thoughts are them, and I wanted her to know that every thought she has is totally fine and not her fault, nothing she's doing has caused them, but they're a problem if they're causing her anxiety.
I don't like it when I see info on OCD making out that the OCD is a bully you're trapped inside your head with that you can never escape, that's such a frightening thing to say to a child. They have to believe (not be pushed obviously) that it is possible to take some control over it, and that can be very empowering.
My son has OCD, op, but has been greatly helped by having CBT with ERP (Exposure Response Therapy): this is recommended by the OCD charities mentioned above. And I can recommend this book whilst you are waiting for an appointment at CAMHS.
I'm sorry you're going through this.
I'm so pleased those videos were helpful, OP.
Children are so wise, aren't they? They seem to understand this stuff much quicker than most adults do. Complete tranformations in one session like that aren't unusual.
This page on my own blog provides information about getting more help and knowledge about the Three Principles, you might find it useful: http://threeprinciplesblog.com/how-2/
Oh, I'll update it now with a book for children. It might be a bit old for your ds but you might want to read it yourself to give you the words to explain it better to him, if that makes sense?
Annoyingly, I've just moved this page! It's now here: threeprinciplesblog.com/finding-out-more/
Sorry for all the posts!
Hi OP, sorry you are going through a worrying time. I had an initial consultation with my local camhs recently and they send the same general info to all parents as a first resort. I will copy here for you, some of the general links at the bottom may be useful.
My ds has no problems with his sleep btw, but as it is so important to mh this info is sent to everyone.
I hope this sleep routine will help towards improving your sleep.
In order to get your sleep on track, the following tips should be considered and carried out at the same time each night in order to “re-train” your brain that bed is for sleeping and is a restful place to be. This will probably not happen over night, but will need to be maintained for a while. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work first time!
Bed time should be the same time every night.
Wake up same time every day.
No sleeping during day.
No computer/television for one hour before bedtime as this fools the brain into thinking it is daylight and therefore time to wake up.
A hot bath/shower before bed can relax your body and can aid you falling asleep.
A hot milky drink and snack will release enzymes from the milk and the snack will help you feel a bit more full and content, both aiding in falling asleep.
Some people find gentle relaxing music useful (nothing aggressive or depressing!)
Reading can be a relaxing activity to prepare for bed/sleep.
If in bed for longer than 15-30 mins without falling asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing (no computer or television!) before trying again when ready.
Relaxation techniques can help when laying in bed unable to sleep.
I hope some of this helps. Find what works, and stick to it and build in positive habit patterns. It’s not likely to be solved overnight, it is the combination of techniques and patience that will have the greatest effect.
Useful websites for all challenges:
www.smhp.nhs.uk/youngpeople for Suffolk CAMHS website. There are useful printable info sheets on mental health problems/emotional difficulties in the different areas, both “Professional resources” and “Information for children, young people and families” that may be of use. Have a look around, its YOUR service for your use!
www.youngminds.org.uk for advice and information on all mental health/emotional issues.
www.getselfhelp.co.uk for self help advice on a range of mental health/emotional issues and related issues eg sleep and relaxation and links to other high quality websites eg Royal College of Psychiatrists. The “free CBT tools” and “downloads” are particularly useful, and you may enjoy the “apps” area for those with smartphones!
www.kidshealth.org.uk for advice on all physical and mental health.
National self harm network is www.nshn.co.uk to learn about self harm and what it really means.
Breaking Free from OCD by Jo Derisley – ignore if your child doesn’t have OCD.
www.autism.org.uk, Autism Suffolk and the National Autistic Society may be useful for families with these issues.
Both websites are very good, and I use the www.getselfhelp.co.uk a lot in sessions, explore them both and have a look!
Thank you so much everyone! I'm finding all the advice really helpful and just as importantly reassuring! I've ordered some books and looked at some of the links and SeasonofTheWitch's blog which I will definitely follow.
We've found a clinical child psychologist not far from us who can see my DS in early March. Until then we are trying to help him 'put his thoughts on a train' and watch them go off into the distance. Blowing a raspberry at them as they go past also seems to help! But he is still worrying a lot
Really appreciate you all taking the time to post
I know the headmaster who worked with the children in the videos. He's a wonderful man. I believe he offers private coaching sessions - do let me know if you'd like an introduction!
He came across brilliantly, lightbulb moment! I think we'll try the child psychologist first, but I'll bear the offer of an introduction in mind if we don't see any improvement! Thanks for the post
I can imagine just what you are going through.
My son suffered from similar symptoms a couple of years ago (outgrown now thank goodness)
I was almost at the point of GP contact but tried my placebo effect and it worked !
Basically we got caught in the car in the daylight on the motorway in a thunderstorm. It was very scary even for me and this set DS off with his anxiety. Wouldn't go out in case it rained, struggled going to school because what if it rained and flooded and I couldn't get him ? It was awful. And this lasted months. I had to speak to school and the senco had a meeting with me and everything.
I decided to buy some children's vitamin tablets. They were from a health food shop so different to the halib orange type ones he would have seen on tv or the supermarket. They had a sun on them which i persuaded him was to protect him and to give him sunny thoughts to 'protect' him.
A jar later - success !
Hope you get the support you need and soon, i know its exhausting.
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