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Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Topic: Feel hopeless

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. MooBear mum
    MooBear mum avatar
    3 posts
    31 May 2019

    Hi All

    First of all, I am using this forum to seek help to assist my daughter aged 12, who is suffering extreme anxiety and depression. Her anxieties have caused significant weight loss and she is reaching the point of anorexia. She says she feels nauseous threw anxiety and cannot eat. In addition, she says her legs hurt constantly.

    She has historically had times of being overwhelmed and felt anxiety when not fully supported in class, but now, Grade 7, new school etc, her anxiety has gone into overdrive and she eats hardly anything. Her school attendance has dropped below 50% and whilst the Welfare person there is working with us, as is her Year 7 co-ordinator we cannot seem to identify what triggers the anxiety.

    Through frustration today, when she claimed to be too weak to get out of bed and I was running late for work, I yelled my frustrations at her, asking when will it end? Not my best parental moment. We are waiting for Headspace to make contact with us, which seems to be taking forever but I want to know what can we do for her, how can we help reduce the anxiety and depression that seems to be related to school but there must be more to it? She is an over-thinker, she thinks out scenarios etc. Fear stops her from participating, it paralyses her.

    My heart is breaking for not being able to help her overcome this debilitating "illness" not sure illness is right word but at a loss as to what to really call it.

    So here I am reaching out on her behalf to ask who we can approach, what can we do, how can we be supportive without fully understanding why anxiety has taken over our beautiful free spirited soul? I just want to be able to hug her tightly and tell her we can beat this, but I really don't know if we can.

    Thanks for listening.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. bluehorseshoes
    bluehorseshoes avatar
    79 posts
    31 May 2019 in reply to MooBear mum

    Hello MooBear mum,

    There will be more experienced forum people here who will reach out I'm sure but I was so moved by your post. You said "She says she feels nauseous threw anxiety and cannot eat."

    I can connect with your daughter here. Anxiety does strange things to our digestive system. When at my most anxious I lost my appetite completely and could hardly bear to eat. Perhaps there is one or two things that your daughter may still have a taste for? The only things I didn’t mind eating at that time were fruit (usually only had 1piece a day), so at least could get strength by eating more of that.

    “Her school attendance has dropped below 50% and whilst the Welfare person there is working with us, as is her Year 7 co-ordinator we cannot seem to identify what triggers the anxiety.”

    With the difficulty in finding triggers at the moment, maybe the welfare/coordinator can focus on coping strategies for now.

    “Through frustration today, when she claimed to be too weak to get out of bed and I was running late for work, I yelled my frustrations at her, asking when will it end? Not my best parental moment.”

    It sounds to me like you are a very compassionate, empathetic person and a caring mother. Just because this condition is effecting your daughter and you are frustrated doesn’t degrade your love for her. I would not underestimate the power of simply saying sorry to her for yelling and offering a hug. This is something I wish my mum would do when she snaps at me but she doesn’t because she’s proud and I don’t hold it against her but it would mean feeling closer to her.

    “I just want to hug her tightly and tell her we can beat this, but I really don’t know if we can”

    Please do tell her that you can beat this, even though you’re unsure. Having someone say this to you in the midst of the fear is so helpful. Even though I didn’t believe, and I know they might not believe it, I still needed to hear those words. And you will beat it.

    You’re probably already onto it but your GP would be able to offer advice and referrals, and I highly recommend the Beyond Blue hotline 1300 22 4636 – you can email them too. I have called them before and they can help to organise your plan of action and are great to vent to when you feel like a yell – and who doesn’t?

    I’m not sure what else to say except that this is a supportive place and we care about what is happening to you and hope that life will get better soon - Bluey


  3. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1559 posts
    31 May 2019 in reply to MooBear mum

    Hi MooBear

    I believe that with the right help you can beat this.

    I was in your exact shoes when my 13 year old daughter started year 8. Overwhelming anxiety and OCD crashed unexpectedly into her life and almost destroyed her. Almost destroyed me. Almost destroyed our family. Almost.

    She could not attend school. She lost her friends, sporting activities, etc. There were periods of time she could not leave the house. Today my girl is healthy. She graduated high school in the top 25 per cent of the state, is studying architecture at uni and has a strong friendship group. There is hope.

    How did this happen? Firstly, you need a lot of love and patience and you never give up. You've got that.

    Secondly, you need the right psychological help for your daughter and the right support for you (I engaged a mental health nurse to help me help my daughter in real time based on real events happening at home). You will get that.

    Thirdly, you need a strong and positive relationship with school. You've got that and you can develop it further.

    It's hard. I know you're worried about her future. I know you're frustrated and overwhelmed. I know it isn't fair.

    But you can do this. I will help you in any way I can and I am happy to answer any question that you want to ask.

    Kind thoughts to you and your daughter

    1 person found this helpful
  4. MooBear mum
    MooBear mum avatar
    3 posts
    1 June 2019

    Thank you Bluey for giving me some insights and for telling me I can promise I can help her beat it. It does feel like that is a lie when desperation sets in and as a parent all you want are the tools to heal and set your child free from pain, yet you have little idea of how to do that.

    Thank you too Summer Rose for telling me I am not alone and that many parents are in similar situations. As a parent who has lived through this, to share with me, that with the right help, we can beat this, gives me so much hope.

    My biggest fear is the not eating, it's having a huge impact on her abilities to interact with friends and family. She gets party invites and if they are sports related or even dance, she declines knowing she doesn't have the energy. One blessing is the number of friends she does have and how supportive they are towards her. Like me they do not grasp the level of anxiety she has and how it cripples her, but they offer words of support and include her in everything, even though they know she will say no.

    I will continue to show her my love and say it verbally every day. We try to pick a mantra for each day, turning the impossible to I'm possible.

    I welcome more insights into how anxiety affects people, the more I learn the better a parent I can become to help my daughter with coping strategies and generally have a better understanding of anxiety. She isn't able to communicate this at present, I think she fears rejection, even though I have explained it may hurt if it is something I have said or done, but the not knowing hurts me far more. I also say that my love and respect for her grows in strength each day, our bond is unbreakable and I'm in it for the long haul etc.

    I repeat most days that it is ok not to be ok, but to ask for help means that you do not face these trials alone. Believe in yourself and love yourself first.

    What else should I do or say?

  5. Summer Rose
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    1559 posts
    1 June 2019 in reply to MooBear mum

    Hi MooBear

    You are right to be concerned about the non-eating. I think it's really important for your daughter to see a professional sooner rather than later and for you to receive a proper diagnosis.

    This may be all anxiety related or there could be something else at play. I am not a doctor so cannot advise, but I think seeing a doctor is key.

    You don't have to wait for headspace. You can book a double appointment (so you have time to talk) with your GP. Your GP will prepare a mental health plan and refer you to an appropiate mental health professional. This may likely be a psychologist or psychiatrist.The plan allows for a government subsidy for 6 to 10 appointments with a psychologist.

    I would also be asking for a referral to a pediatrician. This is because a pediatrician can thoroughly assess if there's a physical issue here, liaise with any mental health practitioners who may become involved in your daughter's care and manage medication, if it's necessary for your daughter.

    I am pressed for time at present but will come back later today with regard to the specific questions that you posed.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1559 posts
    2 June 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi again

    I'm sorry it has taken so long to come back. One of those days.

    From my experience with my daughter, I can tell you that anxiety is cruel. Relentless worries and fears that can snowball and become all consuming plague the mind. It can lead to endless questioning, fear, doubt and second-guessing by the person who is unwell.

    It has a physical component as well. Stomach pain, racing heart, sweating and headaches can occur.

    All of these symptoms can affect a person's ability to function in daily life. Sleeping, eating, exercising and getting enjoyment out of life can become hard.

    You are seeing this now with your daughter. If she could go to the party or school,of course she would. She is unwell.

    My daughter was terrified by what was happening to her. Sadly, she was also ashamed. She thought she was a burden and we would all be better off without her.

    I told her repeatedly that I loved her just the way she is. I reminded her that thoughts are not real and they cannot hurt her. I compared an onset of anxiety to storm clouds rolling in. And I comforted her and worked with her on calming strategies until the storm passed.

    I helped her to set reasonable, achievable goals and we celebrated every win in the battle. Depending on how she was feeling, sometimes getting to school by noon was a win.

    There were a lot of "two steps forward, one step back" experiences and I reminded her that was okay. We were looking for persistence, not speed. And everyone has bad days.

    I just loved her as much as possible and then some.

    Kind thoughts to you

  7. Summer Rose
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    1559 posts
    2 June 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi MooBear

    I did reply again to you late last night. The bb moderators have stopped my response. I have no idea why.

    I am both frustrated and bewildered. Until I can get a satisfactory answer as to why, I have option but to withdraw.

    I wish you and your daughter all the best. Kind thoughts always

    1 person found this helpful
  8. MooBear mum
    MooBear mum avatar
    3 posts
    5 June 2019

    Our Headspace appointment has come through for next week. In the interim my daughter will have blood tests to establish if she is iron deficient or any thing else going on, as her weight is really low, now 4.5kg below the ideal minimum for age and height.

    Doctor wants to find out if the chronic body pain my daughter has, is a cause for concern or just from malnourishment.

    We also have an appointment with her school this week to win over two more teachers who are not fully on board.

    Does anyone else with anxiety suffer from body pains that stop them in their tracks and make them bedridden? I guess I am just clutching at straws to help her.

    Admittedly I also hoped for a greater response to my thread from not only careers but those who are going through this themself. I don't want to hijack someone else's thread to get answers.

    I ask anyone who feels they can help me understand anxiety more to post and any other careers out there who have or who are going through this with their child to post too.

    Thank you.

  9. Summer Rose
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    1559 posts
    5 June 2019 in reply to MooBear mum

    Hi MooBear

    Glad you got your appointment with headspace and that you are pursuing the medical tests.

    Unfortunately I don't have any answers about chronic body pain.

    Reading other threads may help and you can join in any of them, as the culture here is very welcoming.

    Good luck with the school. The more support the better.

    Thinking of you

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