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Do children with serious general anxiety, ever grow up into adults without anxiety issues?

(11 Posts)
iwasyoungonce Tue 08-Dec-15 22:06:39

Just that really.

My DD (9) suffers with quite severe anxiety. She has had counselling/ therapy for almost a year, and although some aspects have improved, others have worsened. Overall, she's not at all better.

Is there any chance at all that she'll 'grow out' of this? Or is she destined to suffer with anxiety her whole life?

I feel so helpless. I mean, unable to help her.

Usedtobeanxious Wed 09-Dec-15 13:43:55

I have name changed to reply to this.
Yes, I was a severely anxious child. Didn't like going outside as a toddler to to fear of flies & the sun! Had anorexia at age 9 due to crushing fears, I didn't want to lose weight just couldn't eat due to constant panic attacks. I was a school refuser at primary school - my parents wouldn't engage in therapy for me.
I had a tough mid-adolescence and a period of agrophobia for two years, but I have been well for 20 years.
I have a difficult job - the kind of job where people say "I don't know how you do it, I couldn't"
I am routinely in court giving evidence as an expert witness.
I am about to start my masters degree with a view to completing my PhD.
None of this is said as a brag; it just shocks me sometimes how big the difference is between me now and as a child/adolescent.

Your little girl will get better with help, support & love. Don't let her retreat though. Anxiety will keep taking until it has robbed her of everything. In my experience, counselling helped to work things through, it took a long time - mainly due to a difficult childhood. Also the support to push against the anxiety. It's a mountain to climb and the steps are tiny to begin with but it's totally possible to beat it.
I still have a predisposition to become anxious but it is 99% under control.

Have you considered meditation/yoga/mindfulness for your daughter? It's important to find a peaceful place internally to get through the chaos in your head. PM me if you would like, but meanwhile stick with the therapy xx

iwasyoungonce Wed 09-Dec-15 19:53:11

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to reply to me. thanks

You are so kind.

At her counselling (which is with CAMHS) she has done mindfulness, breathing exercises, and a bit of CBT. But I just don't think she's old enough yet to properly grasp it.

When she's in an anxious state, I'll say, "why do't we practice your breathing?" and she'll just refuse and get more upset. At night I'll suggest she does some mindfulness, but she's not interested. She says "it only helps for about 5 minutes then I'm back to feeling anxious again".

It's so difficult. there doesn't appear to be anything that has triggered this in her. No deaths in the family, no abuse etc. - she just has always been anxious, even as a toddler. My DH has a tendency for anxiety too. In fact he's been on medication for a long time - only recently decided to come off it. So I think this is just who she is. And she needs to learn coping mechanisms.

I'm so heartened by you saying that it can be beaten. Thank you so much.

If there is anything else you think I could be doing, please do tell me. I just can't bear to see the suffering she is going through - and it seems to needless and pointless. x x x

Usedtobeanxious Thu 10-Dec-15 12:26:33

Your poor little girl. It is soooooo hard for her.
Anxiety is utterly exhausting and she is right that when you are in an anxious state, the breathing exercises only help so much.

Its like a rollercoaster and in my experience, I can't talk for anyone else, the biggest battle is not 'fearing the fear'. In my experience, you are so used to anxiety that when you start to feel calm, you are frightened the fear is coming back. You almost trigger the anxiety yourself and the anxious state starts to feel more normal, although still horrific and exhausting.

I used to honestly feel I was going completely mad; the cruelest part of it is that the thing to help you feel better is the thing that is a bit broken, i.e. your mind!

Anxiety is a bit like dealing with a bully; you must stand up to it, but she is still so young to understand that. I will PM you x

berylbainbridge Thu 10-Dec-15 12:43:08

I am reading this thread with great interest as I have a 10 yo dd with very similar issues and I worry about her future too. In my case I think the anxiety is my 'fault' as I was an anxious and depressed teenager. I completely identify with iwasyoungonce's description of her dd saying 'it only helps for 5 mins'. I've also tried to introduce mindfulness and elements of CBT to dd with varying success. She starts secondary next year and is already in a state about it. She has no resilience or tools to help herself yet basically. She has also started to eat less in situations where she's anxious so her packed lunch is half eaten and she hardly eats when we are at my mums.

iwasyoungonce Thu 10-Dec-15 16:51:55

Thanks usedtobe I have replied to your PM. thanks

beryl - I know it's easy to say, but you must try not to blame yourself. Even if it is related to your own anxiety - this isn't your fault, is it?

My DD also eats less when she is stressed. Some mornings she refuses breakfast, because it makes her feel sick.

It is so hard to deal with. I find myself getting so frustrated and unhappy - and then I struggle to hide that from DD. I know that if I get upset, this will only make her worse. I'm her rock, and I have to stay as calm as possible. It's just so difficult sometimes, when her behaviour/ worries are so irrational.

berylbainbridge Thu 10-Dec-15 17:11:13

Wow, I think you are me! I struggle to hide it from my dd too and beat myself up if I'm impatient with her. It's so hard flowers

RapidlyOscillating Thu 10-Dec-15 20:27:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Titsywoo Thu 10-Dec-15 21:21:08

I have anxiety and sadly so does DD (11). I do wonder whether a lot of it is hormonal as well. But I do think there is a hereditary factor. There is a great book called "What to do when you worry too much" which is for kids and has exercises and things to fill in. DD also does yoga which helps a fair bit.

iwasyoungonce Fri 11-Dec-15 18:10:05

It really is beryl.

Not in the North West, Rapidly, but thanks for that suggestion. I've never considered hypontherapy. How old was your DD when she had this?

Titsywoo - I agree there is a hereditary factor. DH is anxious, and so is his mother. We've read that book, and did find it quite good. Perhaps we'll revisit it.

Thanks to everyone for replying. It's good in one sense to know we're not alone... but all these anxious children! Makes me sad.

RapidlyOscillating Sat 12-Dec-15 16:48:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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