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Coping with a child with anxiety

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#1 amdirel

Posted 19 January 2020 - 12:44 PM

I'm not sure exactly what I want with this post. Maybe it's just a whinge...

I have 2 kids with anxiety. One was bad, then we (we = me and a psych) got her under control. Then the other one was diagnosed, which was a year or more ago and we're still working on him. Then a couple of days ago, DD had a big meltdown; her anxiety is back with a vengeance.

So the reason for my post, is not how to help my kids- I know what to do there. But it's just that I find parenting kids with anxiety SO HARD and it effects MY mental health as well. Any time I see a situation coming that I know will trigger DD's anxiety, I get really really anxious and often teary because I know what's coming. I have to break some news soon to DD that I just don't know how she'll cope with, and I'm a mess thinking about it! This is a major trigger for her, but this happens with other smaller triggers as well. And to make it worse her psych moved away and we haven't had any luck finding a replacement, though I know I'll need to ASAP.

Does anyone get where I'm coming from? Is there anything you find that helps you to cope better? Or am I perhaps being affected by this more than what's normal?
I've thought about maybe I need to see a psych myself, because as well as this I have other huge stressors in my life, but I simply can't afford it.


#2 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 19 January 2020 - 12:50 PM


It’s a ****ing tough gig parenting kids with special needs especially when you have your mental health stuff.

#3 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 19 January 2020 - 12:58 PM

My kid is autistic. Do you know what I hardest to deal with? The anxiety. The seemingly constant anxiety that we feel like we get under control only for something else to trigger it. Everything else associated with him being autistic is easy enough to deal with. His anxiety has caused me to become more anxious and prone to catastrophising situations that I know/think will trigger it. As for psychs. 7 in 5 years here. Because they keep leaving. We even followed one so sessions were done via Skype for 9 months because we didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of transitioning to a new one. Then she got pregnant and left anyway :( (which is totally her right but yes there was upset).

#4 lizzzard

Posted 19 January 2020 - 01:22 PM

I totally understand what youre talking about OP :(

In general my DH has a harder time with DS' anxiety (it triggers his anxiety)...although I also struggle. I have been perpetually on the verge of tears for the past week thinking about a something I know is going to be a big issue for DS to deal with in about a 10 days. I feel like I'm failing in my maternal duty to protect my child from pain...even though I know rationally its not realistic or even desirable to try and prevent all suffering. - but his mental suffering is so awful to see....

I'm afraid I don't have much advice because I'm sort of in the same boat....

#5 ytt

Posted 19 January 2020 - 01:40 PM

My 17 year old DD has 4 anxiety based diagnosis as well as bipolar. She says the anxiety is the worst.

My number 1 tip is validation, validate their worries but don't feed into it.

#6 MeThree

Posted 19 January 2020 - 04:59 PM

I have a 19 year old DS with autism and major social anxiety.

17yo DD has anxiety, depression and has had a huge struggle with self harm in the past.

I have struggled with anxiety for as many of my 40 years as I can remember. I think that is the thing that has helped me help them the most. Other than that, it's a fly by the seat of our pants life. Both my diagnosed kids (I have a 13yo DS also) are very different in what they need to help them through. DS made great gains last year, DD was one forward 2 back.

I have no words of wisdom, but another that hears you! You are not alone xo

#7 Freddie'sMum

Posted 19 January 2020 - 05:08 PM

Both our kids have anxiety OP.  I am really, really struggling with it and my own mental health is suffering because of it.

I am sorry I haven't got any words of wisdom for you.  I saw my GP last week and asked for a referral to a counselor - just for me.  Can you go and talk to someone by yourself?

Take care.

#8 SummerStar

Posted 19 January 2020 - 05:14 PM

It is so hard....and I have no idea how to make it easier.

I have 4 with different levels of anxiety, the youngest being the worst and the absolute most challenging child we have. She sees a psych for it but it's one struggle after another.

I have no answers sorry only that I am in the same boat as far as how draining it is.

#9 SM3s Fight Song

Posted 19 January 2020 - 06:14 PM


DD7 has anxiety.  So do I.  I honestly don't know if it's harder having anxiety or dealing with your kid having it. I'm DDs only safe person currently, she won't speak to anyone else, begs me not to tell her dad what she's upset about.  Aaves her worst behavior for me. I've spent way too many mornings were I was completely rung out by the end of the school run.  Once at school she internalises it all.  As well as the generalised anxiety she has separation anxiety from me specifically.  It's ****ing hard.  I've had social anxiety and GAD for a long time, but dealing with it as a parent is so different I'm pretty much starting from scratch. I wish I had something more than commiserations. But between DS1 needs, DDs anxiety and a 3 year old terror I feel I'm floundering in the dark.  I think if you can afford it and fit it in counselling is worth a shot.  Otherwise I expect theres a support group for parents of kids with anxiety on fb.  Again I've found FB groups hit and miss, but if you use FB it might be worth a try.

#10 Julie3Girls

Posted 19 January 2020 - 07:41 PM

It’s awful.

As a parent, you feel so helpless to help them.
I’ve got anxiety as well, and my daughter and I trigger each other.
DD1 is very in tune with me, tends to pick up on my anxieties. And has done from a very young age (now 18).
We’ve had a couple of really rough years through high school and both of us ended up on meds. Which helped in a big way.  I was in a much better place to support her, and she wasn’t picking up on so many vibes from me.

Anxiety is always going to be an issue in her life, but she has learned a lot of coping skills.  And I have stopped trying to hide my anxieties from her as much - obviously don’t tell her all my worries, but she knows that I can get the same sorts of feelings, and it helps. We now joke about it, and she is more willing to talk to me, knowing that I understand what she is going through.

But it’s still hard, and exhausting, and frustrating.
And it scares me out of my mind when my youngest shows signs of having the same issues ... the thought of having to do it again ...

#11 limakilo

Posted 19 January 2020 - 07:58 PM

Can you access your employer's EAP or similar?
Are the kids getting any help with medication or regular strategising on how to deal with it?
Anxiety is so cruel, I do feel for you all.
I used to take anti depressants to help with it.

#12 Expelliarmus

Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:03 PM

Just adding to the you're not alone chorus.

It's not like I have any tips/answers ...

#13 Jersey Caramel

Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:17 PM

One of my best friends was diagnosed with situational depression, caused entirely by dealing with her child with anxiety.  So yeah,  it is really, really tough and you are not alone.

#14 *Spikey*

Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:18 PM

Please take care of yourself! You need to be in good mental shape, to model effective coping tools. If you need to talk to a psych, then do that. You would see a doctor if you had a suspected broken bone, and a physio, if it turned out to just be a very bad sprain. Your brain deserves the same level of care, especially when it's going to get a workout.

#15 .Jerry.

Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:23 PM

DD's anxiety (GAD diagnosis) drives me mad.  But maybe a bit differently to some.  When she is anxious about something she doesn't shut up about it.  Yaps constantly.  Drives me crazy.  Psychiatrist gave us tips for how to manage this, but still hard to deal with.
DD has medication and we use facts to deal with her constant questions and reassurance seeking.

Whilst I don't have an anxiety diagnosis, I am generally a very anxious person, so not a good match for DD. lol

#16 Jingleflea

Posted 19 January 2020 - 09:34 PM

DD gets anxious and hers manifests in needing to talk constantly about the thing.
I get anxious but I prefer NOT to talk about it so we are a terrible combination when we're anxious about the same thing! She feeds my anxiety by talking about it, I feed hers by not wanting to.

I have to make an effort to listen to her now I realise how we both try to cope with it.

#17 CallMeFeral

Posted 19 January 2020 - 10:08 PM

That would be so hard OP. And anxiety tends to feed anxiety, so it's completely normal that their anxiety is escalating yours and that in some ways they will then sense your raised anxiety and it will feed theirs further. It's a horrible cycle.

It's important to remember the airline principle - look after your oxygen mask, because you need to be ok in order to look after your dependents. It may seem like a lower priority, but it's actually a necessity as your mental health impacts them too, you may manage to protect them from a lot of it but keeping up a facade will just escalate you even more.

I know you've said you can't afford it, but are you able to call around and find out if any psychs are able to offer bulk bill rates to those in need? It's usually not advertised (or they'd be flooded) but many do offer it if it is specifically requested. Are there any uni psych clinics? They often offer discount sessions. Failing that, talk to your GP about antidepressants (these are usually anti anxiolytics too) - they work differently for different people, but when I was struggling they just reduced overwhelm. All the same stuff that stressed me out was going on, but instead of feeling overwhelmed by it I was able to sift through what needed to be dealt with and what could be ignored, and put together a plan to deal with it. It really helped with a period when my kids and relationship were super demanding and anxiety inducing. I know many people don't like the idea of them, but they can help you get through a rough patch, and maybe break the cycle of anxiety feeding anxiety that is happening in your house. In my case the insight gained while I was on them allowed me to cope better once I was off them as well.

Please look after yourself OP.

#18 IShallWearTinsel

Posted 19 January 2020 - 10:19 PM

I know that my anxiety triggers my child, so I'm an over planner to try and avoid situations

#19 Puppy Love

Posted 19 January 2020 - 11:12 PM

You are normal, your kids are normal. You just need to perfect your coping mechanisms.
I thought I was resilient until I had to deal with a child with anxiety....
hugs & strength Xx

#20 amdirel

Posted 20 January 2020 - 11:11 AM

Thank you so much for the replies. I'm sorry to hear that so many others find it so stressful too, but at least I know I'm not alone. It really is so hard, it's the hardest thing I've had to deal with parenting wise.

Lizzzard- hmm 10 days, seems we're on a similar time frame. I need to get her to see a psych before 9 days is up, I don't think I can handle this upcoming fallout on my own.

Maya- I've just called the old psych to see if she would do skype, the receptionist was doubtful. Also her fees are astronomical!! She was always the dearest at the practice we saw her at, but now she's on Sydney's north shore she's bumped her prices waaaay up. So looks like I'll be on the hunt for a new one.

Limakilo- we have an EAP hotline apparently. This was after my multiple requests to have an EAP person come in to see the staff, seeing as our workplace was under tremendous stress for the whole of last year and staff were so scared, stressed, crying and some just quit. I was one of them, minus the quitting part! I'm a bit dubious about a hotline though.

Just to be clear, I don't actually have a diagnosis of mental health/anxiety/depression, but honestly, I'm starting to wonder. Well, I'm not *starting* to wonder, that's a lie. I've thinking of it at least for the past year. I should probably go and speak to the GP, although I'm pretty sure she already is concerned after a few comments she's made lately.

I really can't afford a psych for myself though, especially not now that DD will be needing to see one. After I hit the safety net I'll be right though, which is usually around May depending on the kids appointments.
CMF- I could ask if someone would bulk bill though, I remember DS1's psych did that for me years ago.

Ahhh bloody kids. No one ever talks about this side of parenting, which is frustrating, and isolating. No one likes to talk about mental health at the best of times, but even when they do, it's all about the kids anyway. What about the parents?? :(

#21 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 20 January 2020 - 12:22 PM

Amadriel do you mean bulk bill using the mental health care plan? It’s very dependant on area as to if there is a gap payment. If we use it, we are out of pocket $200. Which as my kids NDIS plan for this year has sucked and barely cover his psych visits means I’ll be out $2000 this year. (I live remote and they charge the absolute max NDIS rate which is $328.72/hour)

Definitely chase up the EPA. It might not be an actual hotline, ours you ring and then they assign you local counselling. It’s important to get on top of your mental health too. One of our psychs would also do joint sessions, which meant you could access 20 sessions a year by using both peoples mental health care plan.

Edited by MayaTheGrinch, 20 January 2020 - 12:24 PM.

#22 Kafkaesque

Posted 20 January 2020 - 01:16 PM

Another adding to the I hear you. I don’t actually have the strength to reply with anything more helpful as both my girls have mental health issues and I’m at breaking point myself.

I hope you are ok.

#23 xxyzed

Posted 20 January 2020 - 01:26 PM

Another family here with a child who suffers from anxiety. There are a lot of free services available that can be accessed for both the anxious person and their carers. If you call the parent line in your state they should be able to give you the phone numbers for their services. Call them all and ask them what assistance they can provide. I survive as a single parent by making sure the medication is working effectively and accessing all the support services I can.

#24 CallMeFeral

Posted 20 January 2020 - 01:52 PM

View PostMayaTheGrinch, on 20 January 2020 - 12:22 PM, said:

Amadriel do you mean bulk bill using the mental health care plan? It’s very dependant on area as to if there is a gap payment. If we use it, we are out of pocket $200.

I'm in an area where the gap is about $80 a session. But... many of our psychs have a few sessions in reserve for people in need that they will bulk bill using the mental health care plan. Similarly, if there are new psychs in the area still building clientele, or newly qualified psychs in a practice, they will often be more able to say yes to bulk bill or low gap sessions if you ask (but again, it won't be advertised).

It does still only get you 10 sessions though.

The other option if you have hit your threshhold is, bizarrely enough, to see a psychiatrist. This would be much more expert advice if you are willing to try meds, and some of them may do therapy do. Interestingly they are a much more costly resource but have unlimited sessions, so if you have met threshold could be a better option.

The other thing is local health districts have their own systems (which barely anybody tends to know about as they are area specific). Maybe enquire with your GP what the threshold for this is (ask about ATAPS or something if you're in NSW). Sometimes the local area has designated an age, vulnerable group, or income category that can access these, and it's often more than the 10 sessions.

View Postxxyzed, on 20 January 2020 - 01:26 PM, said:

Another family here with a child who suffers from anxiety. There are a lot of free services available that can be accessed for both the anxious person and their carers. If you call the parent line in your state they should be able to give you the phone numbers for their services. Call them all and ask them what assistance they can provide.
This, and also GP or other mental health resources in the area. Sometimes there are services you can access that are local and you need someone in the know.

#25 bonnybabe

Posted 20 January 2020 - 02:17 PM

medication was a game changer for us.

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