Trying to help my anxious daughter, part 2

Feb 26, 2020

Imagine what it feels like to see your daughter run away from you because the thing she fears is so big she needs to run instead of fight.

That’s what happened a couple of weeks ago. The fear of the fire alarm and walking into school was so great for my daughter that as soon as we stepped outside of the house she ran. I don’t think I’ve run so fast in my life. I was like lightening.

This really scared me.

Luckily, nobody was pulling out of their drives and she stayed on the pavement. Can you imagine what could have happened?

In that moment she just wanted to get away. She wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on around her to what was around her.

That might have been her worse reaction but it was a reaction.

So what else was happening for her?

  • Exhausted

She is currently a very tired girl. There are two reasons for this.

First, school is pretty full on. She may only be in primary school but they are learning so much. And because she enjoys learning, she wants to learn more.

Second, she’s not sleeping well. She’s finding it difficult to go to sleep at bedtime. So I’m having to be in her room until she’s fallen asleep. She’s also having nightmares. Plus because she’s worrying, her mind is not quiet at night so she’s not getting a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is not just about restoring energy but it is needed for physical and mental health as well as immunisation and brain growth (link). It’s during sleep that your brain starts to put things in order. But as she’s not getting this opportunity rather than her worries being eased and her fears being rationalised, things are becoming exaggerated. Making things worse for her. 

  • Thinking

She tends to think about things, a lot. 

When the fire alarm was triggered a few weeks ago she as fine whilst she thought it was just the fire alarm going off. Then she found out it was done on purpose by a pupil. So, she started thinking about it. Her mind was on overdrive.

All these questions. All these thoughts. All these worries. Internalising everything and keeping it in.

  • Lack of appetite

My daughter loves breakfast, especially cereal. So when I noticed she was only having one bowl instead of 3, I knew something was up.

A loss of appetite is a physical symptom of her fears and worries.

  • Toddler tantrums

She’s also having tantrums, much like a toddler. Not all the time. Just at that point where she is being separated from me. Shouting. Clinging. Even lashing out. It’s been her way of telling me she’s not happy.

  • Unable to vocalise her concerns

There is so much going on in her head, I’m not sure she knows how to tell me everything. I still think she’s trying to figure it out herself. You see. She’s her usual self all the other times. It’s just those specific moments where the fear show’s itself.

The fire alarm may have been the trigger for her anxiety but I don’t think it’s just that. I think this was the trigger for unleashing some of her other concerns. Separation Anxiety. Young sibling envy. Fear something might happen to me. It’s just a case of putting in place actions to help her deal with her concerns and obviously lots of love and cuddles.

That’s ‘Trying to help my anxious daughter, part 3’ according to Mummy on a Break. To be continued………….

What would you do?

You might also like to read ‘Part 1‘and ‘Part 3

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