My 10 year old daughter has been suffering from what I think is anxiety.
2 days before Christmas she caught a stomach bug and got sick at school. She came home and threw up all day. Then we had the holiday break. Ever since she returned to school she has had issues. She started waking up in the middle of the night saying she felt yucky. Her throat feels yucky as if it's pushing up, tight and like there is a lump there. She breaths heavy and gets shakey and after I lie in bed with her she will fall back asleep. Then, this happens at school. Then it will happen right before dancing school. It now happens every day. She doesn't want to go to school for fear the yucky feeling will happen. She has come home from school a couple times because of this and has missed dancing school a few times. Every day it gets worse. She says she feels homesick at school and just wants to come home.
I've asked her if anything different is happening at school, new friends, loss of a friend, etc. She assures me she loves all of her friends and nobody is being mean to her. Nothing has changed at home either. I've talked to her teacher who tells me there has been no change on her end and we can't figure this out. Every day at school she has to leave the class room and visit the counselor because she feels yucky. The teacher suggested she make a box filled with things that make her happy and look at it at school to make her feel better. She is constantly telling the teacher she is homesick and wants to go home.
This is so frustrating. I have a dr. appt this week to discuss this with her pediatrician finally. But it's very hard to remain understanding all the time. I know it's wrong to get frustrated. But I've told her over and over, to try and relax. Nothing will come of this feeling, she won't get sick. She is worrying about something that won't happen. But she says she cannot help the feeling, it just comes on... and she gets herself worked up, nervous, the throat feels yucky and she can't do anything but want to come home and be with me. This happens almost every night before school too. She can't get back to sleep unless I lay with her.
All I want to know is how to fix this????? What exactly would behavioral therapy do to help her? What steps. Because we've tried coping skills, talking through it, reassuring she'll be fine and it doesn't help.
Last edited by sarasota2004; 02-14-2011 at 06:12 AM.
If it is anxiety, then more than likely it is not the yucky feeling that is the problem, but the embarassment of being sick during class. At that age, kids can be merciless.
I would definitely see the doctor and have he/she confirm it is not anything viral or allergic (confirms it is just in her head). If this is confirmed, I would speak to her teacher and explain the situation. Then the teacher might be able to react to her intitial symptoms and prevent her getting too anxious.
Unfortunately, it is time consuming. Her body needs to stop associating school with sickness. The only way to do so is to face it. It will take time, but kids learn quickly!!
I would also check to see if it is a GI problem. Being so young she might not realize what is wrong and that is making her fretful. I had some of the same symptoms and it was a GI problem very easily fixed.
I believe your daughter IS suffering from anxiety. It can and does affect children this young; my own daughter was 11 when she was diagnosed. It's very difficult for kids to understand and find the words to express what they are feeling, and more difficult to get to the root of what is bothering them. As you say, it is also VERY difficult as the parent to keep from becoming frustrated - you can reassure a child only so many times, and it wears you down. Try not to berate yourself - it is obvious that you are a caring and loving parent!
The incident at school seems to have triggered some deep embarrassment and fear within her - it's possible she now may be associating ALL her fears with that incident, and the problem becomes compounded. I know this is out of left field, but perhaps she is afraid that something may happen to YOU and she feels the need to be with you all the time so she can "make sure" that nothing happens. I'm curious as to whether you suffer from some anxiety yourself?
I think it's great that you and your daughter's teacher are working together to find ways to help. (I love the idea of the "feel better" box.) You are definitely taking the right step in talking to her pediatrician. Don't be alarmed if the pediatrician recommends a child therapist - they are expertly trained to deal with children's anxiety and fears. It's possible your daughter may even need a short run of medication to get her past the acute phase.
In the meantime, it is important that you continue to try to get her to attend school and dance class, as the anxiety will likely become more deeply entrenched the more often she avoids her regular activities.
I really hope things work out, as you both need some relief from the stress. Best wishes, and good luck.
Last edited by 2beagles; 02-19-2011 at 07:05 PM.
Reason: had more to add :)
sarasota2004 - My daughter has an anxiety disorder and it started after she threw up at school when she was 6. She is now 12. She has struggled with this for half her life and it is very difficult to deal with. She is in counseling. My suggestion is to get your daughter started with counseling now. Children can learn ways to deal with their fears. My daughter is now mature enough to help herself through a lot of her fears but there are times where it becomes too much for her she will have a bad week or so.
It is not easy to deal with as a parent. Sometimes you want to say "just get over it" but it is just not that easy for them. I have anxiety as well, so I understand exactly how my daugther feels but it is still frustrating when she is missing school and then the school is on me because she is missing too many days. Best of luck with everything!
Thanks for all of the encouraging words. My husband and I are going to meet with a therapist, then the therapist will meet with our daughter. I am sad that they can't meet until March but it's the best we can do. Some places didn't have openings until April! What also is challenging is I don't know how to pick a therapist. The insurance just spits out 35+ names around your area and you have no information on them and whether they are a good fit. We shall see. She keeps skipping dance and the nurse at school keeps calling. Now we are on school vacation and I am noticing the anxiety has tapered down dramatically... hmmmm.
The following user gives a hug of support to sarasota2004: 2beagles (03-06-2011)
Hi, there! I wanted to share my story with you! My son has had anxiety since 2nd grade because he had a terrible stomach bug & was so sick. He would avoid going out onto the playground with the other kids because he thought he was going to catch it again. I found a good counselor he could talk with (someone who specializes in O.C.D. & children) and he did very well with that therapy for a few years. Then this past summer, he got sick again from a stomach bug. He got through it well (or so I thought!) and started 5th grade. I went through my own anxiety around the same time & had to go back on meds. & then he started to have his own anxiety attacks at school. He couldn't eat for fear of throwing up & refused to go onto the school bus. I had to drive him to school & then after I was done at work (I work part time at a middle school) I would get my lunch & have to eat with him to be sure he would eat his lunch. It was awful! I felt so bad for him! He is now on Zoloft 25mg. once a day & doing great! At first I wasn't thrilled about him going on meds. but he was in such a bad place & couldn't even function or enjoy his life as a kid! Please hang in there & once your daughter gets the help she needs, I'm sure you'll be pleased to get your happy kid back again! Any questions about my experience, please feel free to ask! Kym
How to cope with anxiety in a child? What do I do???????
My 10 year old daughter is suffering anxiety. Every day the school calls and she is at the nurse's office. She won't eat her lunch, she begs to come home as her throat is tight, stomach hurts. I am firm and say no. But she won't leave the nurse's station! they call every hour. And now I feel they wont' keep her there anymore...
It's the same thing day in and day out. She feels nervous of getting sick. She won't go anywhere anymore. She is like a hermit. She dances 3 times a week and has skipped too many... I don't know if I should pull her out? When I threaten that she is literally in tears, telling me she loves dance and hates this... she wants to go so bad. But she feels yucky and can't do it. She is devastated at the inconvenience she causes us. But I just can't understand what the problem is???? She is not sick!!!!!!!!!!
What can I do????? What is the right thing? She has to go to school!??? It's not a negotiable option??? Yet, she goes right to the nurse! Our appt. for a behavioral therapist unfortunately is in 2 weeks! I've called all options around me and that is the earliest.
This is killing me... How do I get her to stop feeling this way... how can I calm her fears down... nothing seems to work as she just keeps saying it's beyond her control.