You are here

Daughter’s anxiety

Stepmom26745294's picture

First time posting!! Not so much blended related but is to a degree. Been together with SO for over 2 years. Engaged in December and moved into his house in January and just bought a house together last month. Things are going really well. We had a lot of really tough times the last couple of years with his ex and kids but things are much better. 

As far as my end. My ex and SO get along well, we coparent well together and my kids have a wonderful relationship with SO and their step siblings. 

But of course in this blended family craziness, there’s always something! Lol! So here’s our struggle right now. My youngest daughter who is 11 has always had a lot of anxiety. It got worse after my ex and I spilt up. It’s been 3 years and it seems like it’s just got worse. She worries about getting cancer, about SO and I breaking up (she’s scared she will lose another family in her words) she worries about every ache and pain, she worries when her dad travels or she can’t get in touch with him that he was killed in a plane crash, or accident, she thinks if something bad happens it’s because she had a feeling it would happen, she’s scared to go to sleep at night because we could have a fire or someone could break in. I could go on and on but you get the picture. We have done therapy but she doesn’t really talk, she does talk to all of us so that’s good and we try to control with meditation ect and we finally started medication. My ex was worried about her being on something because of her age but he has seen how bad it has gotten so he finally said I was right and agreed. 

this is were it gets so sad, her latest is she’s scared SO isn’t really the nice guy she has grown to love after learning why her best friends dad went to jail (child porn) this was before they were friends but she heard it through the grape vine and I have always taught her that you don’t always know who can be a bad person or not while talking about safety now it’s biting me in the ass. My girls adore him and she said he has never done anything that made her uncomfortable but if nobody knew about her friends dad then how can we be sure SO isn’t “pretending” to be a good guy. (he’s the only other man in her life besides her dad and she even questioned if I felt her dad was a good guy. Yes, yes he is!) Her dad, 14 year old sister and myself have reassured her she has nothing to worry about but once again her anxiety has taken her to a dark place. SO is so hurt but handling it very well. I am just so upset over this! I feel so bad for her AND SO! As I’m typing this she just called me to ask if the dogs were okay because she’s worried they ran into the street and got hit by a car and died. I’m in tears! This is so awful. Does anyone have a kiddo with severe anxiety? I’m at a loss! 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I'm sorry - this must be so hard to deal with. How long has she been on medication? Psych meds can take weeks to start working, and you often have to do a lot of experimenting to get the right drug at the right dose. Is she with a psychiatrist who specializes in children? In our area the local children's hospital has a great psychiatric department where kids can get the specialized care they need. (Not only in-patient, they do regular office visits as well.)

In the mean time it sounds like you and the rest of the family are doing everything right. Offer her reassurance and logic. Maybe try a different therapist to see if another doctor with another approach can get her to open up more?

CompletelyPuzzled's picture

I was diagnosed with panic disorder when I was 18.  Before that, I sound alot like your DD.  Panic disorder is when a person has physical and mental reactions to a perceived threat or irrational fear.  When you have a panic attack, the idea won't budge until you are in full fight or flight mode.  It can even have make you feel like you can't breath or like your heart is racing too fast.  Some people actually mistake the panic attacks as heart attacks.  That is how scary they are.

I used to get these as a kid, but it was not something that my parents even knew existed.  I would worry about an idea until I couldn't  focus on anything else (examples: my parents getting hurt or our house catching on fire). These episodes came and went during my childhood. When I was 18, the panic attacks got so bad  that I couldn't function.  That is when I got help and was diagnosed.  I was on meds for about a year.  Therapy is crucial because you have to learn how to deal with the attacks.  With practice, you can learn when they are coming on and then take measures to stop them.  I have been med free for over 10 years.  Do I still have the attacks?  Yes, but much less frequently. And they are not so debilitating.

I am not sure if your daughter has the same anxiety disorder as me, OP.  However, she obviously has some type of disorder.  It is important that you give her meds a chance to work.  It takes time.  Keep taking her to therapy.  Try to get her a diagnosis so she can learn to deal with her anxiety.  And most of all, keep letting her talk to you without judgement.  So many people with anxiety hide it because they fear other peoples' reactions.  Its great that your DD talks to you, as talking about it often helps the person to work through it.  I know how hard it must be for you to watch your daughter go through this.  But, it sounds line you are trying to do everything you can.  Keep being an advocate for your DD.  I wish I had one at that age.  Once I learned how to deal with this, the anxiety was much less crippling and my life has been so much better.

tog redux's picture

Does she have a therapist? Anxiety is very treatable with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She can learn the skills to change her thoughts and deal with it more effectively.

beebeel's picture

I wouldn't let her get away with "not talking" to a therapist, especially when she doesn't have a problem talking with everyone else about her fears. Medication can be a great part of the treatment, but it won't do anything to get to the root of her issues, which is her disordered thought process. How many different therapists have you tried?

LostinSpaceandTime's picture

I do not sign in to reply often but hearing about your daughter I just wanted to offer support.  Have you tried art therapy or other alternative therapy besides talking to a therapist? I have had anxiety and depression issues my whole life ( 58 now) and at 11 years old there is no way I could have talked to anyone about it. I was very shy and introverted. 

Perhaps a therapy that is combined with an activity like art or equine therapy would help her.  I find that getting immersed in an activity gets my mind off of the thoughts that come with the anxiety.  And expressing my thoughts in a creative way or even journaling gets them out of my head.  

Connecting with nature and being around horses or therapy dogs may also be helpful. Does she have a family pet that she cares for? Is it an option for her to have a dog that can be trained as her emotional support dog? I have two Aussies that are with me every minute...they are my joy and keep me in the moment rather than worrying about the future. I have trained them to do tricks. They have trained me to wait on them hand and foot. Lol. They are very smart. High maintenance for sure. Other breeds more recommended for therapy work.  But they know my every mood for sure. And it is good to be needed by them. 

Taking time to get out into the natural world can be calming. Massage, yoga and accupuncture can help to relieve the body of stress. 

If there is an equine therapy program in your area they are amazing programs. Or even a summer pony day camp can help young girls to build confidence.  

Help her to find a way to deal with her anxiety without it becoming a disability. If she is worried about people having heart attacks for example...enroll her in a cpr course.  If she is worried about a fire in the home while she sleeps...involve her in the Maintenance of the home fire detectors, testing them, changing the batteries, get the new ones that are high tech and alert your phone and such. Practice home fire drills and a place for everyone to meet out of the house. 

Night time is the worst for my anxiety as the thoughts race when trying to go to sleep. Encourage her to read an actual book before bed...a story that takes her mind off things. No screens or tv. Have a soft light that she can turn on if needed. I use a salt rock lamp...just has a night light bulb.  I use an app on my phone called Relax Melodies that I can select sounds to play and combine different ones to save and play. Listening to slow waves and wind in trees with a gentle chime is very calming. It helps regulate breathing as well.  Keep a notebook nearby that she can write down thoughts...that gets them out of the head and our mind does not have to play them over and over to remember them. 

Encourage her to be in control of the things she can and to let go of the others to adults in her life and To leave the rest for God to care for.  No offense intended if this is not your beliefs. 

Wishing a peaceful and healing journey to your family. 

Rags's picture

Time for meds.   If she won't work with the therapist I am not sure there is another choice but to medicate her.  Her irrational anxieties are not only implacting her own life, they are impacting the whole family.

I hope this is something she will grow out of. For her sake and the sake of the rest of the family.