Friday, September 9, 2016

I'm Just Scared: Dealing With Generalized Anxiety in Children

     Amani has been suffering from a lot of anxiety lately.  When we first moved into the house it was mostly nightmares and fears about being in a strange place. That has subsided some, but she still tells me she is scared a lot.  I've looked into ways to help her but it's a little tricky. Most books and websites I have looked at are for kids who are very shy, or are overly fearful. Amani is not shy in the least, and she is not really fearful. She is not anxious about anything. We could be driving in the car and she will suddenly say she is scared. She could be sitting on the couch playing pleasantly while I fold laundry, and all of sudden she is saying she's scared.
     Part of it is probably boredome and attention seeking, but I think at least part of it is anxiety. I have had little "anxiety storms" since I was about her age. They would come on the same way that hers seem to- unprompted, especially when I'm sitting quietly- and I said the same thing when I was little; "I'm scared".  Now I call them anxiety storms because they are not anxiety attacks, but I think they are still a manifestation of anxiety.  Anxiety attacks feel like a heart attack and last for around 30 minutes- I guess. I don't think I've ever actually had one. What I call anxiety storms are these little shudders of panic that are very intense for a few seconds, and fade after a minute or so.  I've always had them, but they are way worse now that I am an adult.  I think Amani is getting those, and she will sometimes have them all day, just like I do.
    So I have been looking for ways to help her. Whenever she tells me she is scared, I try to assure her that she is safe and that I sometimes get scared too. Sometimes I suggest taking slow deep breaths, or we turn on some music. At night we play the Indigo Dreams guided meditation from Lori Lite. Personally I like the Indigo Ocean Dreams stories the best, in case you are looking. They have been really helpful, not only to help her get to sleep, but also to have familiar terminology to talk about her feelings: "Remember how the octopus felt when he got mad?": that kind of stuff. 
     Today I saw this list in my Facebook feed. At first, I didn't have much hope for it, because, you know, Facebook forwards are usually pretty obnoxios. I'm glad I looked at this one though. The author suggests a lot of things I am already doing with Amani, but there a few new approaches to try. I think I will ask her to draw what she is upset about (#1). Although I think she just has generalized anxiety, it's possible she is fearful about something and can't explain it.  I also really like the idea of the Widdle Worrier (#35). Amani loves imaginary creatures and I could really see her get into calming a little imaginary creature. Outside of the new techniques, it is nice to see that someone out there can appreciates where I am coming from, and that I am generally on the right track.

1 comment:

  1. Along with seeing your family Mental Health Service doctor for possible drug treatments for depression, research has shown that Counseling Therapy is also recommended for the best treatment of clinical depression. And Online Counseling has shown to be as effective and sometimes even more effective in treatment of both depression and anxiety.