Family
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My anxious child

I have taken weeks ‘over thinking’ this post. I suppose I am not massively confident writing about something that I have no professional training in. But something inside me felt compelled to explain and express as an ordinary MUM what it felt like to see my 6 year old daughter go through a really ROUGH patch in her young life. I like to think as any mum that I have brought my children up to be well rounded, good mannered, confident, happy individuals. They have all had their moments not wanting to go to school and resisting a bit, which is relatively normal, but nothing could prepare me for what I had to endure with my daughter April.

It was a typical Friday afternoon when I picked her up from school, both of us relieved that the school week was over and the weekend lay ahead. April lovingly greeted me as usual and  we then collected her brother. On the way home in the car she began to tell me how, earlier in the morning, a little girl sitting close to her was violently sick. April explained in great detail the colour and the smell which I will spare you from. However, as she was talking, she started to breath very rapidly and her eyes welled up with tears. I was quite taken aback with her reaction but just brushed it off as us mums do, muttering something like “ah, the poor little thing, I hope she’s okay, anyway what would you like for dinner tonight?”

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#pinterest

The weekend was taken up with the usual racing to clubs and various other activities, but before we knew it, it was Sunday evening and uniforms were being ironed and shoes polished (am I the only one that polishes shoes on a Sunday?) ready for the new week ahead.

As we sat down to watch a film with our bellies full from our usual over sized roast dinner, I noticed April rapidly breathing again. I was confused whether I should say something as I didn’t want to draw attention to it, even though the over protective mum in me was desperate to make it go away. After a few minutes I addressed the situation.  Immediately, she welled up with tears again and said that she couldn’t breath properly, and that she wouldn’t be able to go to school on Monday.  My husband rolled his eyes as husbands do, probably because I was drawing attention to it and he was thinking here we go again (with the school thing I mean, not the anxiety).  She was sobbing in a way different to how I had ever seen her sob before. My heart literally broke.  My confident, happy-go-lucky little girl was lost in a world of confusion and deep fear, suffering with mild panic attacks. Where had this come from? Was this a genetic predisposition?

I have always suffered with anxiety as child which has unfortunately carried on into my adult life. I have tried very hard to overcome it for years. No, not by doing a bungee jump or anything remotely stupid like that but instead, forcing myself into situations that put me out of my comfort zone. Travelling to Australia alone in 1995 was such an example. But sadly, anxiety never really leaves you. It is always lurking in the background and ready to rear its ugly head. My anxiety peaked after having my first child. I was like a frigging lunatic on speed. It’s only in hindsight that you cringe at the things you did.  But on reflection, I know it was the anxiety monster.

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So, for the next three weeks I tried everything in my power to reassure my little girl that things were going to be okay; but nothing seemed to work. We had endless confidence conversations. I encouraged her with gifts and possibly bribes, but the tears and panic attacks kept coming.  I researched ‘child anxiety’ to death, Googling behaviour methods and strategies, but nothing seemed to work. This monster had a hold of her and wasn’t  letting go. I then decided that we needed professional help. I felt very depressed about it. Had I passed on my anxiety to her? I beat myself up as all mothers do.

Then a remarkable thing happened out of the blue. During our walk to school which would of normally have been very tense, April turned around to me and said very maturely, “Mummy, I have thought about what you said and I think I can control it, I will try my hardest not to cry today”. And just like that, she stopped crying. I can’t honestly say what stopped it, but my heart jumped for joy. My own anxiety started to disappear as my little, confident girl returned.

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My happy-go-lucky little girl.

While I am in no position to give advice, there are a few methods I think you could try if you ever think you may be in this situation:-

  • Try to get to the root of how the anxiety started.
  • NEVER make a child feel bad about it.
  • Talk about it openly.
  • Discuss with them how they think they can help it.
  • Try breathing exercises on the way to school.
  • ALWAYS make sure the child goes to school.
  • Inform the teachers and the welfare department of the school.
  • Keep strong.
  • Try not to get angry and impatient.
  • Have faith that it will get better.

 

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My April

I would love to hear if anyone else has experienced something similar. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Much love

Gemma x

 

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This entry was posted in: Family

2 Comments

  1. Jessica Harrison says

    I have had a very similar experience! My daughter has always been a very outgoing, confident little girl until she started year 2 at school. She seemed to change over night. She became a ghost of her former self. We too have had breathing problems and she works herself up over the smallest things. She seems to be coming out at the other end and I have to say I feel I dealt with it in a similar way in which you described. Looking back for a trigger, all I can think is that she herself was sick in assembly during the last week of school before the summer holidays. I’m wondering now if that was some sort of trigger? Since then it can differ as to what makes her anxious. She has been scared at night of falling asleep in case she doesn’t wake in the morning. At the minute she is petrified of having a toilet accident at school and I’m struggling to get her to wear socks instead of tights at school, as they are her security. We have tears most mornings as she gets anxious over it. She has a routine that she does each morning which does seem make her feel better. I wish so much for her that she didn’t get so anxious over things, I don’t want her to spend her life worrying over something that may never happen! But this is who she is and I’m just helping her along the way, the best I can xx

    Like

    • Hi Jessica
      Thank you for your comment. I was really hoping that someone would let me know of their experience as you can feel very alone dealing with this. My daughter is still not what I would call ‘right’ but I take each day at a time. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Keep in touch, you never know we may be able to help each other.
      Do you have a blog I can follow?
      Best of luck xx

      Like

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