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New fatigue problem: child with anxiety/ocd

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    New fatigue problem: child with anxiety/ocd's another "glitch" to dealing with my M.S. sx in the past few years; my dd was dx'ed with anxiety disorder/ocd/underlying adhd two summers ago. Hmmm...just when you think you have enough medical problems in the family, along comes something that turns your world upside down (and I already thought it WAS ). Do you know how exhausting (both physcially and mentally/emotionally) it can be to have to go upstairs (yes, foolish enough to be in a split level home) each time she gets scared?

    No, my dd is not on any meds, although my dh is finally to the point where he is willing to look into meds for adhd. Helps that HE has had to try and work with her on homework (at night or early a.m.) AFTER I've tried to help her in the afternoon. Worst part is that her fears increase whenever I'm stressed or am having a flare; have had 3 flares since last September.

    Now, not even sure that living on one level would be helpful (in dealing with her; it WOULD BE GREAT for me not having to deal with stairs). The other day, she said we were 'on different floors' so I she needed me to be with her; I was 'on the kitchen floor' and she was 'on the dining room floor' - next to each other. I can be across the room from her (in the kitchen, in her bedroom, just outside the bathroom door, etc.) but it isn't enough anymore. That's the problem with ocd; what "seems to help" at some point, will no longer ease the anxiety after awhile.

    Praying both for a new home where I can be on one level; and also for tx that works well for her. Doesn't have to be meds if behavioral therapy will work, but SOMETHING has to work...soon. I feel so badly for her, but she's 10 years old and is afraid to go to the bathroom by herself or even take a shower by herself. Only times she's ok being by herself is when she has her nose stuck in a book (takes after mommy and granny ) or her eyes glued to the tv (that's from mommy and daddy; mostly mommy).

    Prayers are most welcome as we work with her psychologist, a play therapist, her teachers (now in 5th grade and on a '504' accommodations plan), and her pediatrician. Prayers also welcome for myself and my dh as we not only seek guidance for how best to help her, but also on selling our home and buying a different home.

    All best for therapy success!

    I wasn't going to write anything tonight, but I read your post and really wanted to wish your family all the best with the behavioral therapy. I underwent cognitive-behavioral therapy after a very serious accident that caused post-traumatic stress symptoms - not full-blown PTSD, but reactions that really impacted my daily life.

    Anyway, it really helped me a lot, and the skills I learned also really transferred to other anxiety-inducing situations - when I was being diagnosed with M.S., when I've had unpleasant meetings with employers (now former employers), when I've been worried about money problems .... Oddly, I found myself talking through a situation with a very anxious friend recently, and realized I was asking her the questions I learned to ask myself to reduce anxiety!

    I'd compare this kind of therapy to a systematic dose of positive thinking, but with a strategy. Nobody asked me about overbearing mothers or absent fathers, or any of that stereotypical (and old-fashioned) stuff we think therapy might be. It was all about the moment - what was troubling me? Was the worst-case scenario that frightened me a likely outcome? What was most likely the worst thing that could happen - realistically? And if that happened, what might I do? In some ways, having thought out solutions made the problem seem not as bad - and usually, even the "realistic worst thing" doesn't happen, so everything's fine. Having a plan, and then realizing that the worst won't usually happen both reduce the anxiety. And learning to interrupt the extreme thoughts and take control also reduces the anxiety - and you learn to step in before the thoughts get out of control.

    I wonder if the whole family might consider participate in the therapy somehow? At the very least, be able to remind your DD about the techniques the therapist uses with her in the session when she's having anxiety issues at home? And if you and your husband are having anxiety about the whole M.S. thing (which I think everybody does!), it could be helpful for you, too. I'm a really big fan, as you can tell.

    Just wanted to give you a little hope, and let you know we're pulling for you!


      I want to thank you for the encouragement on a night when you "weren't going to post" but changed your mind. It was really kind and very open and honest of you to share your experiences. I have spent a lot of time learning about behavioral therapy and am still waiting for some "real therapy" of sorts to begin.

      Lily (my dd) can be bubbly, loving/clingy, stubborn, easily "wounded" (at that current stage where friendships are dear, and other girls can be hurtful), witty, day-dreamy, and so much more. I would consider family therapy, but when we had our first meeting with her psychologist, she didn't want to open up until we all left the room! Surprisingly, she COMPLETELY opened up with all of us out of the room. I guess she felt a little intimidated by the whole family being present.

      The psychologist was pretty amazed after talking with her. He commented that, usually, the first big step was to get a child her age to "open up." He said, "Well, we're already past that!" After setting her up for "play therapy" sessions with the social worker under his supervision, the psychologist waited for awhile before meeting with either her or me (us) again. Both of them agree that she's an intelligent young lady with some big fears and ocd issues. Both seem impressed with her, yet we've not been able to progress very much. Yes, I'm the impatient sort.

      Two really good things have surfaced so far since we began. They each have to do with the faith that our family shares. Here they are:
      (1) The play therapist told me that she thought one of Lily's biggest strengths was her faith in God. This was all just from observations and informal discussions. I was proud of my little girl, and embarrassed to admit that we didn't have a regularly scheduled family time of prayer.

      (2) Our local library has a section of children's/tweens books by Christian authors. I try to get my kids to try some of the series books, and some they've enjoyed immensely. Lily has also enjoyed reading the American Girl books. The latest series of books, however, that she has totally immersed herself in are about a girl just a bit older than her.

      What's great about this girl is that, although she's in middle school, she's caught up in her own imagination so much so that she has to see a therapist. Lily has so enjoyed this character and how each book shows her overcoming situations, that I had to read a few for myself. Interestingly enough, the therapist is a Christian psychologist who later (when she no longer needs therapy) leads a Bible study with her and her friends.

      In each book, "Dr. Peter" tells her that her imagination is a wonderful thing, but that she needs to find the right ways to use it (they come up with the idea of turning her daydreams into plays/video films). He tells her to "imagine Jesus" and talk to Him when she faces a problem; but not to imagine Him talking back (basically, a way for her to combine her creative imagination with prayer).

      I'm still trying to find a way for Lily to turn her own anxious moments into prayer (picturing Jesus, just as "Sophie" does). She's still a bit at that age where she feels the need for something "tangible" even though she has such an incredible imagination. Perhaps, as she grows this year, she will move away from the more tangible and be able to use her amazing imagination to her benefit, instead of allowing it to "imprison" her so often.

      I know I shared waaaayyy more than you probably wanted to read, but I so appreciated your comments. I just wanted to say thank you and to give a tiny update.


        Bless her heart, and yours as well Sherry for being such a loving mom to your little girl. It sounds like you have an amazing team of experts that you trust, and so does your dd. It must hurt you immensely to see her so helpless but you are doing everything you can, you should be so proud of this, especially with your MS not being nice to you right now.

        You've probably thought of this already but how about giving her a baby monitor so she can hear you from another floor. Not sure if this would 'undo' any progress made in therapy.

        Try to figure this out, it may make things easier... the separation anxiety can be either due to your dd not wanting to be apart from you because she needs you to protect her, or because she feels like she needs to protect you.

        I will say a prayer for your family. Pls keep us up to date, hang in there!
        RRMS 2005, Copaxone since 2007
        "I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am."


          Cat Mom,
          First of all, just curious to know why you have a cute dog as your avatar. Just kidding!

          Thanks for your comments. We did give her a set of "walkie talkies" once (Christmas??), so that she could not only hear me, but also answer me. Should have considered attaching them to velcro and sticking them on a door post or something; they quickly "disappeared" as some of her toys often do. She doesn't do it on purpose; just leaves things places and then can't find them. This is where I SHOULD say, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

          Just keep us in your prayers. This morning, I found myself falling into a "too often" ugly habit; becoming overly critical and irritated in trying to get her moving along (VERY easily distracted). By the time I realize I'm "picking" at every little thing (you know; those things that kids do to postpone doing the simplest of tasks), it's already "out there" and I can't take it back.

          I'm sick (caught something from her; she's still on antibiotics), and I get tired much more quickly; meaning I have MUCH less patience. She wants me with her while she gets dresssed and goes to the bathroom, but she dawdles, gets distracted, and takes FOREVER when I do go upstairs to stay with her. I just don't know what to do about it, and ended up crying and falling back asleep (after I dropped her off at school...LATE...this morning).

          Thanks for your concern and your encouraging comments. I hope I didn't 'rant' too much about today.


            I have found that medication, even just temporarily, to relieve some of the ruminations/fears can be very helpful along with therapy. Research shows that for many conditions ADHD included the combination is what works the best in most cases.

            Hopefully the therapists are also working with you to assist in things that you can do to help her and also things that you might be doing to enable her fears.

            She sounds delightful, best of luck with this journey.
            He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.


              I have OCD. It first surfaced when I was a child.
              I was feeling severe stress.
              I first survived a childhood abduction at the age of 8.
              Then I had to survive a childhood of my parent's alcoholism.

              This caused my OCD to intensify and surface.

              Eventually, as I moved out, I was able to control it more.

              I never had to use medication. I only went to a psychologist once, for about 6 months.

              I think that if I had a child that was paranoid, I would have her go to a specialist that is interested in OCD and paranoid behavior.

              I would talk to the specialist and ask if there is anything that I could do to assuage her fears. I would speak to her in soothing tones, and encourage her to test her limits by being more and more independent each day.
              I would praise her heavily and give her prizes or incentives if she could do this or that.

              Possibly her fear fuels her paranoid behavior.
              She may be afraid of losing you if she leaves you.
              She possibly is afraid of something bad happening to you if she is not there to help you.

              Hopefully, you can get her some professional help to allow her to become more independent. Her life will be better if she begins now. She may need to experience others, and a life that allows her to grow up independently, like so many other children.

              Good for you that you have sought some help, before it becomes too much of her daily norm.


                I just prayed for you both

                I can understand just what you mean. I have 4 daughters and each have their own issues, two have anxiety issues and I believe one also has OCD. I am a single Mom and I have a difficult time when my fatigue is wearing me down with my patience. I think that one thing we tend to forget as parents is to also find time to take care of ourselves. I tend to pray a lot, take time out for deep breathing and have been using the magic 1-2-3 to help with some of the behavioral issues.
                I have been trying to get my girls to meditate and wish there was more time in the day so that we could also do yoga.

                Best of luck - and remember to take care of yourself