drastic change in personality and lots of anxiety

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by MichelleL, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    Hey ladies, I'm popping over from the younger side for a minute. :D

    I'm hoping you might have some words of wisdom or some been there done that advice for me. My girls have completely flip-flopped personalities. The super outgoing, do anything, try anything child has turned into this can't be away from mommy, super anxiety ridden kid. :( It frustrates me to no end (I know that's so wrong of me :blush: ) and breaks my heart! She is suddenly afraid to try ANYTHING new, afraid to be away from me, afraid to do just about anything if she hasn't done it in a while. And I'm not talking crazy stuff here. Playgroups, parties, hairdresser, things that we have done many MANY times.

    I would say it has come on in the past couple of months, so I would say probably around the time school started, or maybe just before (this is their first year). Sigh. An example...we went to get their hair trimmed today. Even before we left, I got the puppy dog eyes and sad face and could see she was ready to burst into tears. She said she doesn't want to get her haircut but when I ask why, I get the "I don't know" response. When she gets like this, I can usually ask questions to figure out what's going on. Most often, she's afraid (of what, not sure) or doesn't want to go do something unless I'm there. So we go to the hairdressers (somewhere she has been at least a dozen times...for me or for them...so she knows the place well and has NEVER had a problem there) and she starts crying, sobbing uncontrollably, once it's her turn. Even after she saw her sister get her hair trimmed and it wasn't a big deal. UGH!!!!!! When she gets too out of control, I get right in her face, have her focus on me and take deep breaths. That calms her down quickly. But as soon as we turn to continue (today, it was the haircut) she starts freaking out again. I offer to hold her hand, hold her in my lap, tell her she doesn't have a choice, this has to be done, it won't hurt, blah blah blah, ANYTHING, but nothing worked.

    Playgroups/parties, etc. are the same way. Crying before we leave. Crying on the way there. Crying and clutching me when we get there and asking dozens of times if I'm going to stay while she plays. It's gotten to the point that I have to repeatedly assure her that I'm not going to leave playgroup while we're there, and we've been doing playgroups the same way since they were 10 weeks old!!

    I know this is a jumbled mess but I'm at the point where it's getting the best of me too and really upsetting me. :( BTW...when she does this, her sister is either right there trying to console her also and trying to get her to do whatever it is we're trying to do, or she is hiding her face because she doesn't like to see her sister upset.

    Any advice? Anything? Books to read? Articles to read? ANYTHING? :help:
     
  2. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    I have no idea Michelle - usually Ian will start with the "I'm scared of" when he doesn't want to eat something (one day he was scared of chicken!) but usually it only lasts long enough for me to give him the choice of eating or not eating and going to bed hungry...

    Abby was getting like that for a while and when it finally came out she didn't want me to go back to work...maybe a call to the pedi? *hugs* I know its not easy when they can't quite communicate whats wrong...

    do you think something is happening in school (teasing, exclusion by the other kids)? Might be worth asking the pre-school teacher about...also ask if she's that way once she's in school and fine...
     
  3. shoudeshell

    shoudeshell Well-Known Member

    No advice here except keep reassuring her that you're there. Rachel does that a lot to me, too, and I think it's just an attachment to me. I honestly think it's a phase, and she'll adjust. Maybe it's all the new challenges of school? :unknw: Just keep trucking along, and keep hugging on her and loving on her, and I think she'll be okay. :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: Where's that manual?????????? :search:
     
  4. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Michelle,

    You know my Lennon story. I have an extremely anxious kid - it peaked this summer with the choking incident, but he has always been anxious. We are reading a really good book that was recommended by his occupational therapist. Amazon sells it. "What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A kid's guide to overcoming anxiety." Here's a link:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-Worry-Much/dp/1591473144


    I know it has really helped me with how I respond to his worries, fears, and anxieties. I've noticed a drastic decrease in his anxiety once we have made progress with the choking fear. Both his OT and Play Therapist have said that if there is one specific incident fueling the anxiety (for Lennon, the choking) - then anxiety is increased throughout all aspects of the kid's life. So, maybe there is something specific going on causing her stress and the anxiety is leaking out across the board?

    :hug: It is SO hard. :hug:
     
  5. tinalb

    tinalb Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Chelley, several of my kids have gone through similar stages & it has gotten better. I honestly think they just start to realize that there is a great big world out there & it is sometimes super scary. They are maturing & no longer believe that everything will always be okay. If there hasn't been any one big event that has triggered it (like Lennon's choking incident) then I think I would give it some time & continue with what you are doing. If it doesn't start to improve you can talk to your doctor, he/she might have some suggestions. :hug: I know it is hard & can be really frustrating.
     
  6. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU ladies!! :bow2: :cry: I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to help me. :friends:


    About the going back to work thing...good point. I started working more hours when they started school and she does NOT like me to be gone. :(
    Good idea about talking to the teachers!!!
     
  7. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering if that's a part of it too. Even though I'm only working 8 more hours (and an additional day), couple that with them going to school and I feel like I have less time with them than I used to. Maybe that's contributing.
     
  8. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    It is hard, and it's tearing me up inside. I've tried not to get emotional about it because I want to try and help her and not be a basketcase myself, but it's really coming to a head now. :cry: THANK YOU for that link. I'm going to definitely see if I can get it.
     
  9. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    That makes a lot of sense too. She is a smart cookie, wise beyond her years, and figuring things out much quicker than I would expect.
    Like I said above, it seems to be right around the time of starting school and me working more. I'm going to focus hard on spending more quality time with them and also contact the school.
    Thank you for sharing!! :friends:
     
  10. moski

    moski Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I sometimes get reactions like that from Meghan with new situations. Last year, it was dance. She would throw a major fit every week before dance. Once she got there, she would cling to me and not want me to leave the room. She would eventually dance and have fun, but it took some serious bribery. She is already anxious about a birthday party this Saturday. I don't know why, but she is asking if I will stay there. It's for Nolie's bf Matthew and she has actually gone places and done playdates with him and his mom, so I don't know why she's scared. I was so worried about her this year at school, but according to the teacher "everyone wants to be Meghan's friend and she's always smiling". So, I guess it's an act for me. :shrug:

    Just keep reassuring her. I know when Meghan's friend Katherine was having a tough time at preschool her first year, her mother would send her in with a picture of the two of them together, which seemed to help.
     
  11. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing! :hug: I do reassure her over and over and over. It doesn't help. She has to be there and in the situation to see that it's okay and then she relaxes. Fortunately, we don't have any issues with preschool (other than the first day). She goes in there like she owns the place. :laughing: Every now and then she will show slight hesitation and I notice it but don't acknowledge it. I give her an extra squeeze tell her I can't wait to pick her up and hear about her day and then I leave and she's totally fine.


    I'm going to talk to the teachers this morning to double check that my perception is on target with how she is at preschool. :good: I'm also going to call the pedi to see if he has any recommendations. And I'm heading to the book store to see if I can find the book Jori recommended. If not, I'll order it online. :good:

    I :wub: you ladies for trying to help!!!! :bow2:
     
  12. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    :hug: Michelle, I'm sorry you are going through this. It is so hard to know what is causing the anxiety and I know we have talked about this and you know my story with Caroline. I do really think it's a good idea to mention it to the ped now and keep an eye on it from here on out. You are such a good Mom to be proactive. I wish I had "noticed" it more with Caroline when she was younger, but some of the signs of anxiety are so hard to realize they actually are anxiety. You know we are now dealing with it at age 10 and it is starting to impact how is does in school and is in school. :( So, I think it's wonderful that you are becoming aware of it now. And I think a great start is to talk to her preschool teachers they may have some insight, but also just to let them know what you are seeing as well. :good: Good luck!!



    Jori, thank you so much for recommending that book. I am dealing with anxiety with my 10 year old now and am definitely going to check out that book. :good:
     
  13. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    We have this worry book too and it has really helped a whole lot. Both the twins have gone through phases of anxiety. Brooke's peaked in K-1st grade and then by 2nd, dropped off. Morgans peaked this year (beginning of 4th grade) and has gotten better. The books gives tip and ideas on how to get the worry bug to go away. It also lets them know they are not the only ones who feel like that and that sometimes it makes other things hurt too (like stomach......).

    I hope it is just a phase and she quickly passes through it. I am a worrier by nature, and never wanted to pass this along to my kids. I try ad hide my worrying from them, but I think some people are just genetically predisposed to it.

    Good luck!
     
  14. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    Amy, we still deal with it a bit at 10 also. Although Morgan is much better now than when school started, she still sometimes makes herself nervous, which turns into vomitting. That's how Morgan dealt with the anxiety. She would get sick to her stomach, and since she is very easy to throw up, she did. Every morning. She'd constantly go to the nurse. Then she suddenly stopped after about a month of this. She also lost about 4+- pounds, and has since gained most of it back. BUT, just yesterday, I got a call from the nurse that her stomach hurt. Of course, mean mom made her go back to class because I knew she wasn't sick. She started complaining again this morning. I hope she's not slipping back into that phase. I think it might be time to pull the book back out again.
     
  15. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Oh Heather, I am sorry Morgan is dealing with this right now. :hug: And I'm sorry to hear it's actually making her sick. :hug: Caroline has not had any physical symptoms of it, but she is worrying so much in class about what everyone is thinking about her, afraid to make a mistake or giving the wrong answer, it is affecting her concentration and focus. She is so easily embarrassed and it scares me that she is so worried of what her classmates think of her at 10. :( We actually just went to the ped this week and he wants to have her see and talk to a counselor about it. I feel good knowing we have a plan to hopefully help her overcome this. I worry if she does not it will only get worse as she gets older. It is just so sad to hear that so many young kids are suffering from anxiety.

    And you are not a mean Mom, it is so hard to know what the right thing to do is. :hug: I hope things get better for her soon.
     
  16. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    Small update: I talked to the teachers yesterday. I totally forgot that one of their teachers witnessed the behavior in church a couple of weeks ago so she knew exactly the behavior I was talking about when I went in to ask. :good: They all agreed that they see NO anxiety from her at all at school. :good:
     
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  17. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    One step forward...two steps back. :faint:

    Yesterday I took them ice skating at a friend's house for the 1st time. As we're getting ready, the waterworks start. So I told her to stop. I said "you have never been ice skating so you have no idea whether or not you will like it. How about you stop crying, get ready, and we go over there and you watch. If you like it, you can do it." She LOVED that idea, and her mood changed instantly. :blink: I was shocked, it worked!!

    But then...the night before she was up several times because she was afraid of the spiders in her room, a new fear. My girls are amazing sleepers so I know when they are up at night, something is really wrong. Awesome, so now what? :faint: I reassured her that there are no spiders in her room (because there are no spiders in winter, right? ;) ) and said she can come and get me if she needs me (they never leave their room). But then - zing! - I had an idea. I told her she can pick one of my shirts to sleep with. So I took the shirt and tied it around one of her babies and she loved that idea! :wub: I told her that way I'm super close to her all night.

    Sigh...this parenting this is not fun sometimes. :laughing:
     
  18. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    Oh my gosh, I totally missed some of these!! :blush: :sorry:


    To be honest, your story is one big reason I decided to come here and ask for advice. :hug: I figure I want to act on it and stay on top of it. So thank you!


    I am a huge worrier too and also try to hide it, but she picks up on more than I ever think she does. :( Thanks for sharing your story. :hug:


    Oh no! :hug: I'm happy to hear the book does help. We're definitely going to get it.


    You definitely have a good plan set it place. I hope it works for her. :hug:
     
  19. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I think we all can relate to that.

    I think you handled the ice skating perfectly, sounds like it really worked for her too, great decision. :good:
    And the shirt idea for sleeping was a good one too. I think at this stage (and especially with her being so young) the main thing you can do is reassure her and let her know everything is alright and listen to her "fears" and acknowledge them and try and help her realize that things are okay.
    I know it's tough. :hug:
     
  20. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    Thanks Amy, good advice! We did have a talk after ice skating and this morning when she woke. :good:
     
  21. angelsmom2001

    angelsmom2001 Well-Known Member

    One other thing that might help with the spider issue, we used it for a couple of fears and still have a bottle of 'repellant' around somewhere, is to stop in at the dollar store and get them each a spray bottle, fill it with water (some have said add a drop of fragrance or food coloring, but plain water works fine). If she sees a spider she can spray it.

    Like I said, we have used it for several fears, including monsters, ghosts and cows. YES cows--long story. But it does work, because it gives them control of their fear.
     
  22. MichelleL

    MichelleL Well-Known Member

    I've heard about doing that Molly and did consider it. :good: Thanks for the reminder!! :hug:
     
  23. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    Amy, so glad you have a plan in place for her to talk to a counselor. That was my next step if she didn't stop. Thank goodness her stomach is fine now (hopefully, some fleeting belly ache) and all is back to 'normal'. It's so much easier in the morning when someone isn't crying and carrying on.....
     
  24. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Thanks Heather. So glad that Morgan's stomach has been feeling fine recently, good news!!
     
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