Looking for advice from other parents. - Anxiety and Depre...

Anxiety and Depression Support

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Looking for advice from other parents.

denver76 profile image

My 10 year old has had panic attacks almost daily for the last 3 weeks. We're going to a psychologist this week. Quick background, my mother in law lived with us for 5 years. She had a heart attack on Thanksgiving 2014. She stayed in the hospital for a few weeks and was then able to come home. She passed away suddenly in April of 2015 in our home. She hadn't been feeling well the week before and my daughter, then 8, told me she thought it was the end of Grandma. I tried reassuring her everything was going to be okay because we had been to the Dr. 3 times, they said she just had a bug. We were going to go to her cardiologist on Monday. I found her passed when I went to check on her Saturday morning.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. We had family come to stay with us for a few days. They brought their elderly mother whom is not in great health. My daughter really liked her, within days of them leaving she started saying she thought her own heart was going to stop. Has since turned into full blown panic attacks. I've taken her to urgent care and the fire department, both of which told her what was happening. My question is how do I help her? It is becoming debilitating to the entire family. She has a huge support group at home as all 5 of her siblings and both her Dad and I try to take turns getting her through these attacks. But it is becoming exhausting for us all, especially her 7 year old sister. As I said before we do have am appointment with a therapist, but what do I do to help her until then?

Thank you for any input

15 Replies

While I am not a parent of a child suffering from this, I was that child. I'm 44 now and have lived with this all my life. When I was a child it wasn't a disorder that people watched for and aggressively fought off like we do now. I remember each and every panic attack I had as a child. The worse part was feeling alone, or even 'in trouble' for being disruptive. You are in a unique position to help her and make this more bearable. The best thing you can do is comfort her, tell her its gonna pass, and let her know its ok. To her, its the worst possible feeling in the world. Its your worst fears amplified by ten or a hundred. All because the mind is so brutal during one of these attacks. Just stay with her and do everything you possibly can to get her the help she needs. Never give up on her. Trust the doctors and dont refuse the medicines. I know you're probably exhausted by all this, but stay strong, she needs you.

denver76 profile image
denver76 in reply to Mike7340

Thank you so much. We are fortunate that she has all of her siblings near by and they all rally behind her when this happens. We have an appointment this week. I try to do breathing exercises and yoga with her when I can tell she's headed that way. Sometimes it works. But you are right it's exhausting. I also am trying to help her younger sister because they are very close and I can tell it's taking it's toll on her as well. We have 6 children ranging in age from 23-7, (4 still at home now) I also take care of my 6month old grandson when his mother works. I may need to find a therapist myself lol not really laughing but if you don't laugh you cry. Breaks your heart as a mother to not be able to just kiss it and make it go away. Thank you again so much for responding. One thing I have tried to remind her is that she is not alone and she is not the only one whom has to fight this. And she is not doing it alone.

Dealdeb profile image
Dealdeb in reply to denver76

Awwww my hearts breaks for your daughter... I have dealt with anxiety for 20 yrs.. they say we are special ppl lol.. it doesn't feel special... I wouldn't wish anxiety on my worst enemy.. just imagine how exhausted you are- your daughter feels it much worse... we get beyond exahausted... I find a lil power nap helps after a bout of panic attack... it's really hard to get your mind off anxiety especially when your trying so hard... I wish your daughter well .. hang in there.. I believe diet has something to do with anxiety... sugars. Caffeine. We constantly worry when the next attack will happen...

denver76 profile image
denver76 in reply to Dealdeb

Thank you, I know she is trying so hard. I've been trying to keep a food diary to see if maybe an allergy of some kind is a possible trigger.

Anxiety is fear based... I'm sure your daughter is tramatized by grandparent passing... death does crazy things to ppl.. it terrifies me the thought of my mom leaving me... and I'm in my 40's..

Hello. I have severe anxiety and so does my children. We have been working on grounding techniques and i think for myself and for my children. I hyperventilated as a child as well. For the grounding techniques it is important you work on them when she is not having an attack. You talk about a place that she feels safe. She needs to picture it and describe it to you in detail. For example, colors, feels, smells, etc... then you come up with a key word that refers to that place like bench. Then she can practice going to that safe place. When she is having an attack you can bring up the key word. Hopefully she will imagine all the details and start to feel safe and calm down. Eventually she will be able to feel that anxiety building and calm herself. A side note, when my children are having attacks they like to be in a calm quiet room without a lot of people around. They feel embarrassed of what is happening to them (even though they should not) Maybe ask your daughter what she would like? Just some suggestions from what we are doing here in my household! I really do feel for you and it is super exhausting. Having the support and the kindness of your family is awesome! Keep up the good work! Another side note that the therapist will probably talk to you all about is that it is important that your daughter and the therapist connect. If your daughter doesn't connect with the therapist then it might not work. Just keep your chin up! The first therapist could be then one or maybe not! It took my daughter quite a few but once we found one she did so well!

denver76 profile image
denver76 in reply to Rachaelv25

Thank you, those are awesome ideas! I try to do some relaxation exercises with her, but I didn't think about doing them when she was calm. She did ask today if she had to be alone with the therapist. I told her only if she wanted to. She said no, I told her "then, you know your Mom, let them try to make me leave"

Rachaelv25 profile image
Rachaelv25 in reply to denver76

Keep doing what your doing!

No advice but some serious kudos to you as a parent! As a teen I began locking myself away in my room all day to avoid my family who mocked me about my problems. They never helped me and I resent them for it. Your child is extremely lucky and I thank you for helping them. Just wanted you to know how amazing you are!

Thank you, every time I see her go through these episodes I feel like a failure..so that means more than you know.

Rachaelv25 profile image
Rachaelv25 in reply to denver76

You are not a failure. You are amazing!

Hi. I'm 15 and I'm not a parent, but I live with chronic panic attacks and anxiety. Be patient with her. We know that it's a lot and it's really scary, but we don't want to feel like a burden. Listen to her. Give her privacy. A lot of us have problems with family being too overbearing which makes it hard for us to share. Consider medication. Medication has pretty much changed who I am. It's a tough battle to figure out the right cocktail of pills, burn in the end it may be worth it. Make sure she feels safe and above all DONT GUILT HER ABOUT HER ANXIETY. I'm sure you don't do that, but my parents do and it's really hard. Anxiety and panic attacks aren't a choice. We can't help but have our brain malfunction. Be soft with her and be kind. If she ever needs anyone to talk to I'm usually on here. Sending love and prayers from TX.

denver76 profile image
denver76 in reply to Fiphie

I am so sorry, I know this is hard. It breaks my heart as a parent to not be able to fix it. She had an okay day today until bed time. She told me she thought she was going crazy. I told her that I know that feeling because I had post pardum depression after 3 of my 5 babies, but I worked through it and was okay. I didn't die. I promised her tonight that I will always find a way to make sure she is okay. There is no guilt, I know it's not intentional. I hope you know that too. Thank you for offering to be there. Please know I'm here too.

Fiphie profile image
Fiphie in reply to denver76

Thank you!!! You have my prayers! 💖💕

I wish I had a wonderful answer. What I would do is talk to her when she's not having a panic attack. Ask her how it feels, ask her if she is worried about something. Eventually ask if her if she thinks it has something to do with losing her Grandma. She may figure it out herself without you asking. When I was 7 my grandmother passed away 3 months before my sister was born. When my Mom was in the hospital having her I was scared. My Mom had to get special permission to have me visit. Things were different then. I was younger than your daughter but the point to my story is I never made the connection between the two events until my mother talked to me. I wish you and your family all the best and hope your daughter's therapist helps her. HUGS!!!

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