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Anyone else got a teenager with social anxiety?

(26 Posts)
delmartric8 Sat 27-Apr-19 18:42:13

Mine is 15 and is on the verge of dropping out of school because of it. It's so sad as she really is the loveliest person, used to be so bright and happy, but something has gone wrong and school is turning her into a nervous wreck.

Thinking about private CBT which is really expensive.

It's making me miserable too as I feel so helpless.

Any advice from anyone?

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Punxsutawney Sat 27-Apr-19 19:02:11

My 14 year old ds has huge issues with communication and social interaction. He is currently being assessed for ASD though as he is also very rigid in his behaviour and has lots of sensory issues.

Do you think it may be anxiety causing her issues or is there another underlying problem? Ds hates school but he is still attending. His school are not particularly supportive so I'm hoping a diagnosis might help get him some extra help.

Are the school being supportive? I don't know much about cbt and if it would help. I talked to our autism support worker a couple of weeks ago as ds's mental health is suffering as he waits for assessment and she said that he will only benefit from something like counselling if he is willing to engage with it.

Ds is year 10 so we have a year to gcses but I can understand how helpless you feel. It's awful when your teenager is so unhappy.

Chrysanthemum5 Sat 27-Apr-19 19:52:09

My DD is younger but has social anxiety so we were seeing a psychologist for CBT. It was going ok but her panic levels meant that often she couldn't calm down enough to remember the CBT. then in January she developed a fear of vomiting in public and started to refuse to go to school, restrictions on her eating etc. We swapped to a psychologist who offered eye movement desensitisation and reprogramming (EMDR) and in just a few sessions her vomiting fear has gone and she's eating normally again.

I'm not saying it would be right for your child - just that it's good to think about different options to get the one that will work in your specific situation

Hugs as it is so hard

Blessthekids Sun 28-Apr-19 00:01:16

My eldest dd suffered from social anxiety but not severely. Counselling helped her to cope but she thinks that she will always find social interaction awkward and hard work but she perseveres, god bless her!
Things are much better but it has not been an easy road and there were many a sleepless night when I was constantly wondering how I could make things better.

Right now do some research. Get a book on CBT that maybe you can initially work through together with your DD. Speak to your GP, is there any chance at all you can get a few CBT sessions on the NHS. Would leaving school improve her mental health? If the answer is yes then let her leave. Perhaps look into home schooling for a few GCSEs. Build up her confidence by encouraging activities and interests she enjoys or is good at, get family or friends (she knows and is comfortable with) to spend time with her which will help her associate positive feelings with social interaction and also try not to let this dominate your interactions with her.

I don't know if any of this advice is helpful but just wanted you to know
you are not alone.

delmartric8 Sun 28-Apr-19 08:43:46

Thanks for the replies. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I'm currently in tears mourning the loss of my happy little girl.

There's no underlying problem as far as I'm aware, other than being a people pleaser by nature and a couple of life changes seem to have given her a confidence a huge knock.

I read about EMDR so will look at that thanks. There seems to be a nothing much available on the nhs for cbt so it has to be paid for privately round here. I can't believe how expensive it is!

I really don't want to take her out of school Blessthekids although I would if I had to, iykwim. She doesn't want to either but she is missing quite a lot. I'm going to speak to them tomorrow about flex-schooling.

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delmartric8 Sun 28-Apr-19 08:45:16

Any recommendations for a CBT book?

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IWillWearTheGreenWillow Sun 28-Apr-19 08:55:12

I can't recommend a CBT book I'm afraid (but I do know several good private counsellors for that and EMDR, as 3 of my DC have been down this route to varying extents).

DD14 has been the most recent; 2 years ago she just stopped going to school because it was making her so very ill we feared a nervous breakdown. After 2 years of various counsellings, meds, assessments, a change of form at school and endless meetings with teachers who insisted there wasn't a problem she just needed to develop "resilience" (if I hear that word again I will scream), things are better and she is back in school full time with occasional wobbles.

The important point for us, though, is that what was "just" social anxiety has turned out to be Asperger's syndrome, hypersensitivity / sensory processing disorders, separation anxiety, ghastly endemic bullying at school and PTSD around the school's response to it all. DD thought that was just how life was, and we were too close to her to stand back and see it all. We are all still learning, but we are on a much better path now.

Hoping you can help your wonderful girl.

BurnedToast Sun 28-Apr-19 09:10:35

I have found my people.

DD aged 13 is currently under CAMHS. She hasn't specifically been told its social anxiety but I think that fits. She really struggles with friends, says she finds groups extremely difficult, rarely goes out, has attached herself to a troubled child. She finds schools overwhelming and often says she feels worn down. We got help when she started to self harm. It's early days for us and we have only had one CAMHS appointment so far. They were very good and want to screen dd for autism to decide if further testing is needed. She has loads of sensory issues , very intolerant of noise, doesn't like being touched or wearing socks unless the seam is straight across her toes. confusedI haven't found the school very helpful, but I think I might try and speak to them a out flexi schooling.

I have to be honest I find it very difficult to understand and swing between being patient and just wanting to tell her to get a grip. It's very helpful to know I'm not alone.

delmartric8 Sun 28-Apr-19 09:12:14

Thanks IWillWearTheGreenWillow and sorry to hear of your troubles too but glad it is improving. Are you able to share details of the counsellors, depending on your location of course? How did you get your diagnosis eventually? I can't think of anything that DD might have but I don't want to rule it out either.

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delmartric8 Sun 28-Apr-19 09:17:40

BurnedToast, my DH is from the school of "get a grip" and I'm overly sympathetic (according to him) although sometimes I do just want to shout "what is so wrong with your life!" which I don't of course. I understand completely how you feel. It is hard.

Sometimes I think DD's biggest problem is that she is too normal! She's so bloody nice and straightforward (never tries to be cool or play mind games etc) that she doesn't seem to fit into the realms of teenagedom. I've often said she'll be a great adult.

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BurnedToast Sun 28-Apr-19 09:22:03

The comment about being a great adult rings true for dd. She sort of hangs out with a group of girls at school, one of whom goes through phases of freezing DD out for periods of time. During the last such phase, the other girls in her group actually went up to dd and said to her face they no longer wanted to hang out with her as the other girl had said they needed to choose. Dd just could not understand why anyone would do such a thing. She just doesn't understand the social rules some of the girls follow that mean they behave like pack animals. I've been thinking it's a sign of possible autism, but really it's her that's normal.

delmartric8 Sun 28-Apr-19 09:31:47

That is how I think. My DD is too grown up I think. She also absolutely hates all the pack mentality and "banter". She is a great fan of 1:1 long chats. She's been frozen out of so many groups now for the reasons you state. She just table hops at lunch and says she has nothing to say anymore/clams up for fear of criticism. It's a self-perpetuating cycle.

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MsAwesomeDragon Sun 28-Apr-19 09:32:17

My DD has/had social anxiety. She's 19 now. Hers was never bad enough to miss school and she hid a lot of it from me so I didn't realise how bad she was feeling.

I wish I'd done more to help when she was younger, because she's now had/having a huge episode where she has had to take a leave of absence from uni (basically drop out of first year to try again next year). She's on anti depressants, and is on the waiting list for CBT on the nhs as there aren't any private counsellors around here who do CBT. The waiting list would apparently have been shorter if she'd been seen under cahms (but the one time we did ask for help when she was younger they sent us to self refer to the wrong service and then DD felt it was "too hard" to go back, I should have pushed then but I thought she was coping)

I might look into the EMDR though and see if we can find anyone who does that privately near us.

Blessthekids Sun 28-Apr-19 14:53:50

My dd1 did have sensory issues over clothing, she refused to wear so much as she hated how they felt. I also relate to the not being able to behave like a pack animal. She has often walked to her own drum beat and doesn't have a mean bone in her body despite some of the behaviour she has endured. I've never really considered autism, I assumed she was just an introvert in an extrovert school system. Food for thought for me.

@delmartric8 - I really hope your school allows her to do flex-schooling. I think it would be incredibly helpful and allow her some breathing space.

Blessthekids Sun 28-Apr-19 15:02:58

All this talk of the importance of mental health by politicians and yet its so hard to access help on the NHS.

I wish everyone of our children all the best going forward. And please take care of yourselves too.

delmartric8 Thu 02-May-19 23:32:21

Out of interest, has anyone got any advice: I've contacted DD's HoY at school 2x about flexing schooling/other solutions and have had no reply. What do I do?

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IWillWearTheGreenWillow Fri 03-May-19 06:56:09

del, DD's school were wildly unhelpful and uncommunicative until we were able to present them with a letter from A Real Person that made them snap to it. Even then, there were shades of Real People - letters from the psychologist working weekly with DD achieved nothing but 3 line from the overseeing Consultant Psychiatrist led to a frenzy of activity. Sadly, you need a paper trail a mile wide to get any action, otherwise you're just That Parent. (I should say this isn't all schools: DS1 and 2's school was very helpful, but social anxiety in boys is less often viewed as "teenage hysteria", sadly).

I'm trying to PM you details of who we saw, but I can't work out how to do it on the mobile app. I'll get onto the laptop later and do it that way.

BurnedToast Fri 03-May-19 08:11:15

DD's school have been useless as well. Glad it's not just me. I was thinking of flexi schooling but I have a feeling they won't welcome it.

delmartric8 Fri 03-May-19 08:21:14

Thanks for the advice. I am obviously "that parent" grin. I can't believe how bloody rude and unprofessional it is to ignore TWO emails. That's interesting IWillWearTheGreenWillowabout - DD is seeing a new psychologist next week so maybe they can help with communication.

BurnedToast, I don't think our school will welcome flexi-schooling either although I know it goes on. DD has mentioned plenty of DC who are only there part-time.

DD is off again today and I was inclined to not follow the proper channels of communication just to get a reaction but because I've got 2 other DC there, I don't want to cause problems for us as a family.

Spoke to my friend who lives o/seas at the weekend who homeschools her DC via an online place. Must say I'm feeling tempted ...

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Chrysanthemum5 Fri 03-May-19 08:26:04

We've been fortunate with the school but DD is younger so it's a junior school not senior - I think they are just more used to being flexible.

DS is older and isn't anxious but does have dysgraphia and I've found the senior school much less supportive. I think you just need to be 'that parent' and push for what is best for your DC. So just continue with what you are doing

IWillWearTheGreenWillow Fri 03-May-19 11:14:23

We looked at homeschooling online repeatedly, but DD ultimately decided she'd rather be back in school if she could. However, we are using it to widen her GCSE options to play to her strengths.

delmartric8 Mon 06-May-19 18:48:21

Got a meeting tomorrow am with DD, HoY and Head of Student Services. Dreading it.

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IWillWearTheGreenWillow Mon 06-May-19 20:48:11

Good luck. When we did such things, we made sure we had a clear list of what we wanted to say - both in terms of what they needed to understand and what we wanted them to do - and to remember a) we were all supposed to be working for Dd's good and b) some patting on the head about "very grateful for your understanding", "so pleased we could have this meeting to decide the best way forward" was really effective if we were then going to tell them what they were doing was rubbish. Also I found I felt better if I dressed like a grown up - jacket, perfume etc.

Finally, remember you are the parent and you have ultimate say if she comes home with you after the meeting whatever they think. You are her best advocate and know her best.

Good luck. Will be thinking of you.

delmartric8 Tue 07-May-19 09:07:39

Thanks IWillWearTheGreenWillow. They've told DD she must go to school but she can go to "the zone" if she's having a bad day. I wish they'd told her this before! Flexing schooling is not an option though they seemed to think it was ok for her to miss certain lessons each week if she was in the zone or at appointments hmm She's also going to be made a prefect with specific duties that will keep her busy at a few lunch time and break.

I'm extremely sceptical but forever hopeful!

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Aprilshowers72736 Tue 07-May-19 09:10:54

I dropped out of college due to social anxiety. Something I’ll always regret. I was only a couple of months from finishing my course. At the time, it seemed there was no other option but to drop out, I couldn’t see a way forward. Anything anybody tried to tell me I wouldn’t listen because I thought I was right. I however didn’t get any help. Try and get all the help your DD needs so she can carry on because she will regret dropping out of school one day.

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