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13 year olds


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#1 orangepeanut

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:34 PM

Hey
Im hoping some of you will be able to advise me on how to handle this.
My DD 13 has suffered from mild anxiety for approx 2 years. She is not on any meds and takes rescue remedy as required. We have been to GP and he diagnosed mild anxiety.

The past week she has been increasingly anxious and agitated. She hasn't really had an appetite and is not sleeping the best. She told me her anxiety is playing up and she is rating it as a 9 out of 10 (we use a scale of 1-10 so I can get an idea of how she is going without her having to delve too deep).

I have asked her if there is anything wrong and she says no and she says she doesn't know why she feels the way she does.

She is supposed to be going to a fundraising event tomorrow to help raise money for her youth group, something she DOES get excited about, and she doesn't want to go. She is thinking of cancelling a sleep over with her best friend as well. Saying she wants to be alone and just stay home.

What should I do, I want to help her but I cant if she wont tell me whats going on. I don't want to push her into something but I don't want her to bury her head in the sand?
I really am at a loss as to how to handle this. and it upsets me so much that she is low and I cant help her.
Does anyone have any tips or can they shed some light on what she may be going through? I am trying to understand her anxiety but I am afraid I will say the wrong thing.

Edited by orangepeanut, 06 March 2013 - 11:28 AM.


#2 Missy Shelby

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

Sorry OP I don't have any teenage kids but I could not respond.

It must be heart breaking to see you DD this way sad.gif

I am sure that there are alot of members on EB that will give you some great advice.

Good luck and I hope that she feels better really soon xo

#3 shelly1

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:43 PM

Has she had some counseling?  See your GP and get a mental health plan and she can have subsidised visits to a pyshcologist.

I find often with my DD she can't put her finger on what is making her anxious but she has been learning techniques to help her manage and cope when she recognised her symptoms

#4 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

She sounds like she might be developing some depressiom?  I think it's time to get a psychologist involved.   You can get a mental health care plan from the GP which makes it cheaper.   At 13 your DD might have stuff she isn't ready to tell you.  In any case they have the strategies which will help her now and as she becomes an adult.

#5 mumofsky

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

that does sound scary OP, her losing interest in her events. Im not an expert but if it were me I think I'd suss out whether she seriously wanted to cancel - if she did i might try to instead organise an impromptu relaxation weekend for just the two of you. drive somewhere scenic, do low key things in the fresh air, dont try to make her talk but give her space to, and just be there and be chilled with her. take away anything anxiety related for the weekend -eg electronic things.

#6 Shellby

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

Try and get her to see a psychologist - one who deals mainly with youth if you can. My son was getting worse so I knew we had to do something now before he had hormones hit and add to it and she has been a life saver - the change in my son is amazing and she also changed how we parented him as well as he had learnt behaviour which fed his anxiety.

She does children up to 12 and said the best time to deal with it is when they are younger as it will only get worse the older they get if they are not taught the tools on how to handle and deal with it - which sounds like your daughter, started off mild and now getting worse as new stresses appear in her life. I would see a GP now and get a referral for her to have someone to talk to and help her teach her how to deal with her 'worries' basically.




#7 Mumsyto2

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:48 PM

Take her to see a psychologist who specialises in kids issues. They will on-refer if necessary. It's obviously at the stage where professional assistance is required which you are unable to offer. Similarly the GP does not have this expertise however they can do your DD a mental health plan so that you can claim back a portion of the psychologist visit on Medicare for a certain number of visits.

#8 noi'mnot

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:48 PM

First of all, is she having regular counselling? I really think that this is quite essential, to give her tools that she can use to manage her anxiety.

I'm sure that you're doing the right thing so far. Listening to what she has to say, validating her feelings and letting her know that you're available are all going to be very valuable in this situation. Is there anybody else whom she feels comfortable talking to? I know it must be hard, but sometimes adolescents just can't talk to their parents. At least you could offer her the ear of somebody else (whom you trust to deal appropriately with this situation), that might help.

I'd be taking her back to the GP, though, and getting a mental health care plan and a referral to an appropriate professional. You could even call your local headspace for some support, some of them have GPs on staff that can do the care plan for you. If she's a 9/10 at the moment and not able to pinpoint exactly what's going on, it's not going to get better by itself. Call in the professionals.

Good luck!

Edited by noi'mnot, 22 February 2013 - 07:49 PM.


#9 Therese

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:48 PM

I also think it's time to get your GP to refer her to a psychologist. It can be a tricky age for girls as their hormones really start to impact things (or continue to impact them) and so add anxiety into that and things can get difficult.

Good luck, I really feel for her (and you)

#10 orangepeanut

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:53 PM

Thanks so much for your super fast replies. I needed it tonight. Im close to tears myself!
I have asked her if she wants to talk to someone else, but she doesnt. How can I get her to speak to a counselor/psychiatrist?

Also how do I handle her at the moment? Do I just leave her alone?

I will take her to the GP on Monday and go from there

Edited by orangepeanut, 22 February 2013 - 07:58 PM.


#11 treefalls

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

Hi OP, my kids are much younger but I suffered from anxiety from about the age of your daughter. I think the hormonal changes that happen throughout the teenage years can exacerbate things quite a lot.

FTR, I am not against conventional medicine, but it helps to realise that anxiety is not necessarily bad. Everyone experiences it to some degree because it is natural - it has its roots in our survival. The body produces certain chemicals in response to a stressful or dangerous situation to activate our flight or flight response. Where this would have once served us well, in modern times this chemical reaction tends to do very little except cause problems for us all.

To be perfectly honest, the only thing that really worked for me in managing my anxiety was getting regular exercise. This is not something that was ever recommended to me by any health professional I ever saw. In fact, nobody even asked me what I ate! Now that I am older and wiser, I find all manner of foods (including sugar, caffeine and alcohol) also greatly affect my experience of anxiety but that I can "manage" the unwanted aspects as long as I get my heart rate up a good couple of times a week. I am not talking about taking a gentle stroll - I am talking about strenuous exercise that will really use up that excess energy and release all of those beneficial chemicals that everyone takes pills for these days.

I'm suggesting this because you say your DD doesn't know why she feels that way. I think if she had a lot of things on her mind, then counselling could be very beneficial. I just wanted to add my experience because it is something that won't cost you anything and won't cause your DD any harm to try... it could be a good first step to see if it helps original.gif

Edited by MelbChick, 22 February 2013 - 08:07 PM.


#12 noi'mnot

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:03 PM

I understand that she doesn't want to talk to somebody else, it's pretty normal.

Perhaps you could explain that a counsellor/psych will be able to help her to figure out what's going on and making her feel so bad. Also explain that they're experts in helping people feel better - that they teach people ways of managing life and stress and emotions so that they don't feel so awful any more.

It might also help her to know that one in four people experience mental health issues at some point in life, so it's not uncommon or unusual. Praise her for asking for help from you (even in the littlest ways, if she's doing this) as this shows great maturity and willingness to get better. Explain that she can and will feel better with help.

Sit down with her and have a look at the headspace website. There's stacks of information there, lots written by young people, maybe it will help her to feel a little less alone in her situation, if that's how she's feeling. It also might give you a few more tools and some more understanding of what's going on.

Good luck!

#13 Soontobegran

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

That is awful OP sad.gif
Has your GP done a full range of investigations to check whether there is a physical reason that is causing her feeling this way?
An over active thyroid can sometimes manifest this way. I would start at scratch and try to eliminate all possibilities. Hopefully you have a well trusted GP who will do this for you.
It might be an idea for you to allow her to talk to the GP alone, occasionally teens will feel they can be more open when mum and dad aren't listening.
Hope you get to the bottom of this.

#14 orangepeanut

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:24 PM

STBG Thanks

When I took her to see him originally he did full bloods and checked her for everything.

Whenever we go to the GP I offer to wait outside but she insists I come in with her and she doesnt feel comfortable telling GP whats wrong, even if she has a throat infection I have to do the talking.



#15 RealityBites

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:31 PM

I have severe anxiety and take meds for it. Proper meds. Homeopathy isn't going to do anything .. You need to take her to a GP and get a mental health plan sorted out. Honestly, I would nip this in the bud now as she is so young.

I also second a PP re regular exercise, something strenuous like jogging or cycling.

#16 sedawson

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:31 PM

QUOTE (orangepeanut @ 22/02/2013, 07:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks so much for your super fast replies. I needed it tonight. Im close to tears myself!
I have asked her if she wants to talk to someone else, but she doesnt. How can I get her to speak to a counselor/psychiatrist?

Also how do I handle her at the moment? Do I just leave her alone?

I will take her to the GP on Monday and go from there


At the moment: Be present but not in her face. If you are agitated by her distress, her distress will increase. Keep things very calm and do small familiar activities. I only have sons, but do you do little mum routine girly things like painting toes and stuff? Do that, baby her a bit and make sure she knows you are right there. That's what I'd do, anyway.

Mental health in adolescents is a critically important issue. Do not delay; take her to a good female psychologist as soon as possible. It's not so much for her to talk to someone, it's for her to learn Cognitive Behavioural techniques so she can manage her own anxiety. I'm afraid I would not give her a choice in this issue. You are the adult and you know what is best for her far better than she knows herself.

You have done the right thing in perceiving this as serious and acting quickly.

#17 RealityBites

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

Short term things I find helpful: hot baths, exercise.

#18 orangepeanut

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:43 PM

I just spoke to her again and she has agreed to speak to our GP, with me present but she has agreed to do all the talking. I explained to her that I cannot tell the GP what she is feeling only she can. We have a great GP.
She was also re-reading through some print outs he gave her last time about anxiety so I guess that's a positive thing?

SEDAWSON- why do you suggest a female psychologist?  Would it make a difference?

#19 sedawson

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:47 PM

Definitely the sex of a psychologist makes a difference, to different people, with different problems, at different ages, with different reasons ... there are so many variables.
They have to develop a 'therapeutic alliance' and sometimes they don't, and if they don't, you just have to find another one. They have to 'click' because therapy is deep work and it's intimate, personal stuff. That's why I suggest a woman. Anyway at her age I doubt your daughter would feel comfortable seeing a male psychologist. I'm so glad she's agreed to communicate with your GP.

#20 orangepeanut

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

thanks again guys, your advice and caring have been priceless.

We have just started to yoga together, more so as a way of finding a common interest and getting some mother daughter time. This has helped her learn breathing and relaxation techniques.

I will keep you all posted,  

SEDAWSON- thanks for that, it is very interesting and makes perfect sense!

#21 Coffeegirl

Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:01 PM

QUOTE (orangepeanut @ 22/02/2013, 09:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
STBG Thanks

When I took her to see him originally he did full bloods and checked her for everything.

Whenever we go to the GP I offer to wait outside but she insists I come in with her and she doesnt feel comfortable telling GP whats wrong, even if she has a throat infection I have to do the talking.


I read this and the first thing I thought was maybe she'd be more comfortable with a female GP?

I remember going through puberty and all the changes and felt like my male GP dismissed the way I felt.  It wasn't until I went to Uni and the Family Planning clinics that had female Drs that I felt comfortable.

#22 Apageintime

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE (Coffeegirl @ 22/02/2013, 10:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I read this and the first thing I thought was maybe she'd be more comfortable with a female GP?

I remember going through puberty and all the changes and felt like my male GP dismissed the way I felt.  It wasn't until I went to Uni and the Family Planning clinics that had female Drs that I felt comfortable.


I second this. I had period issues which a male doctor ignored.  I finally saw a female gp who I clicked with. It made a huge difference for me.

#23 PrincessPeach

Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

QUOTE (orangepeanut @ 22/02/2013, 08:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
thanks again guys, your advice and caring have been priceless.

We have just started to yoga together, more so as a way of finding a common interest and getting some mother daughter time. This has helped her learn breathing and relaxation techniques.

I will keep you all posted,  

SEDAWSON- thanks for that, it is very interesting and makes perfect sense!


There are certain yoga poses which can help with mild depression & anxiety - so this is an excellent start. Although yoga certainly doesn't claim to be a cure for them.

I also second finding a good female GP, there are certain things that even great male GP's really just don't understand - just how crippling bad period pain can be is one of them.

#24 Giota

Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

Some great advice already. Hormones are frustrating things and can really cause havoc on teenage girls.

Don't leave her alone, can you get dressed up and head out for dessert or a game of ten pin bowling. She might not want to do it, but it might just be what she needs. She really needs you just to be there right now.

Try to take extra stresses off her too if you can. It is great that she will talk to the GP. Big hugs to you xx

#25 CountryFeral

Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:48 PM

QUOTE (RealityBites @ 22/02/2013, 09:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have severe anxiety and take meds for it. Proper meds. Homeopathy isn't going to do anything .. You need to take her to a GP and get a mental health plan sorted out. Honestly, I would nip this in the bud now as she is so young.

I also second a PP re regular exercise, something strenuous like jogging or cycling.



I would like to second what RealityBites said.  My father has suffered from crippling anxiety all his life - it was only when he entered aged care that he was placed on proper medication and it has been bitter sweet witnessing the result.

The calm happy man he COULD have been for 80 years emerged, the one we used to only see now and then.

Don't be afraid of medication.  It has it's place.




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