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What Anxiety Can Do to a Teen - Can You Help?

By February 13, 2009

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One Mom shares her story: "My 15 year old daughter is will not go to school. The problem started last year about 2 months in to the school year. It got so bad in the mornings I would drag her to the washroom to shower and get ready for school. 10 minutes later I would go in and she would be crying on the bathroom floor.

I started taking her to our family doctor who referred us to a psychiatrist. Before we for in to the psychiatrist we went to 4 or 5 sessions with a therapist. The psychiatrist has diagnosed her with anxiety disorder and prescribed Zoloft. She stopped going to school last February and only managed to get 1 credit in Grade 9.

She started attending an "alternative" program in September. The school only has 21 students and 4 teachers. There is very little school structure. The idea is to allow the student to catch up on missed work and prepare for returning to "normal" high school the following year. At first this program seemed to be working but steadily her attendance decline and she has not been back since Christmas vacation. They have now kicked her out of the program and she has been sent back to her "home" school.

The guidance counselor worked out a schedule where she can complete her English and Geography credits that she started at the alternative school, she then has lunch and a free period, final class is math. She went 1 day and this morning said she hated it there and nothing had changed. I've tried to impress upon her that the high scvhool won't change but she has to make changes.

She has no friends and never leaves the house (other than to go to school), she gets no phone calls and does not socialize at all. The only activity she does is use the computer. I threaten to take that away, I've taken it away and gave it back...I just don't know what to do. I think her lack of social skill has led to this. She feels lonely and lost at high school. Can anyone help?"

Denise's thoughts: "That does not sound like a lack of social skills. It sounds like she has an anxiety problem that she isn't able to cope with. Is she continuing to see her doctors? and therapists? She really needs to.

As important as school is, not going isn't the problem. Her health is and not going to school is a symptom. While it seems like the problem was fixed, it isn't if the symptom is still present. Her case needs to be re-evaluated."

Asking our community: What are your thoughts? Have you dealt with this problem? Can you share words of wisdom? If not, how about some support? Let us know in the comments area.

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February 13, 2009 at 8:42 am
(1) esther says:

Anxiety is a self-esteem issue, believing what others have said to you, or how others have acted around you. The self-esteem starts in the home, if there isn’t encouragement and support of who the child is, then they question themselves for who they are. When they have little encouragement and are mocked for who they are, they begin to dis-like themselves and believe that others think the same thing. The more they think others don’t like them, the more they will behave in ways to push others away, and the cycle becomes a vicious one until the thinking and behavior is changed. Never criticize, give encouragement for every little thing, and discipline in positive ways.

February 13, 2009 at 8:48 am
(2) Keshet says:

Reading your story made me remember my own high school ordeal. I had a severe case of panic disorder and depression. I got through 9th grade because I had wonderful teachers who helped me to do alternate assignments to finish 9th grade. My math teacher did tutoring over the summer so I could get the credits. By the middle of 10th grade I was failing. They tried having me sit in the counselor’s office and tried to transition me back to class. I was not sleeping. I had horrible anxiety hypnogogic dreams. Finally we decided that I would finish with home schooling. Luckily I was able to sort of self teach myself. So home schooling might be an option. If you do this option help her to join a club or youth group.

You may want to get her evaluated for special education services because her anxiety is interfering with her ability to learn. You also might want to explore a partial hospitalization program/day program. A good program will do group counseling, monitor her medication and give her time to work on school work.

I don’t know what state you live in but there may be some form of mentoring program that would be helpful for her. You might check out DRADA-Depression and Related Affective Disorders. Depression goes hand in hand with anxiety. They used to have a peer support program where they would match you with someone with a similar problem. You daughter needs to know that she is not alone. I’m very concerned that she has no friends so anything you can encourage her to do socially is very important. Have explore some of her interests.

If the medication is not working, try something else. If she is not comfortable with the therapist, try someone else.

Hope this helps.

September 23, 2010 at 2:49 am
(3) sharon green says:

my daughter is in the same situation she is experiencing high level of aniexty. cant go to school in day treatment center. now on medication. she is in 9th grade. fear of big environment. thinking someone is always against her. ive move her thinking others had the problem but in truth she has the problem dealing with people. she dont care of friends at this point. i need help.

February 13, 2009 at 8:49 am
(4) Mil says:

Wow. Yes, therapy isn’t definitely good. First, know that you are not alone. Second, I personally am hesitant to drug anything that comes a teen’s way. It seems like Dr’s are so quick to prescribe. Whether it’s hormones , been bullied? Any tragedies or complications in her life? or asking am I pushing my child in any aspect to anxiety? I’m not saying it’s our fault, I’m just saying it needs to also be considered… I guess you don’t want questions, but sometimes they help for answers. I am NOT an expert and just giving my humble experience and tip. It’s not simple, because everyone reacts differently, but I’d try to find something your teen enjoys that include people who enjoy it too, espcially something physical. The Internet friendships can be helpful, because they are pretty accepting. I just try to keep my teen in balance..I also –since we do homeschooling give her some videos/audios for a health subject …She liked the stuff from Quality information publishing. Again, this is just from my own experience that seems to have shed some growth in my own.

February 13, 2009 at 9:08 am
(5) Pam says:

My son also went through the same thing at age 14 with extreme school phobia. Making changes at school did not work and he missed over 1/2 of the school year. The anxiety led to depression which led to his desire to want to drop out of school (and this was a kid who was a straight “A” student through most of his school years.) He spent a lot of time on the computer and kept telling me that it was his only form of socializing with others so removing the privilege always led to more anxiety. He had a good therapist who determined that the school environment was the major part of the problem. I was not aware that he was being bullied on a daily basis and could not concentrate on his schoolwork. I removed him from the school and put him in a therapeutic day program where he completed the school year. The following year I enrolled him in a new start-up high school in our same community which has a school population of only 500 versus the 3000 at the regular high school. What is amazing to me is that all the medicine that we tried was not the answer. The answer was to change the environment, which was causing overwhelming stress, and to find a good therapist who could help unearth the underlying causes of the anxiety. My son continues to attend therapy on a weekly basis, loves his new school, is no longer a victim of bullying, is excelling academically, and is becoming a confident young man. My conclusion is that many times anxiety in teens is due to overwhelming (to them) circumstances that they want to handle on their own but are not capable of handling in an adult manner yet. Hope this helps!

February 13, 2009 at 9:10 am
(6) jax says:

Just wondering…we have all been there. Has anyone tried to talk to her? No, really, I mean talk to her. Not a therapist. Maybe go for a walk in the park, take something to drink (no, sodas, duh) get her to relax. Talk to her then. Don’t probe her. Talk. Then maybe just then, you might actually find out what the problem is. My daughter was being teased really really bad. Now, well, believe me, we are talking about everything (some I don’t want to know) and we are able to work most things out. I remember being a kid. It was darn tough. Teachers and kids today, can be mean as ever. They got so much going on with themselves, they don’t have time to “chat” Also, taking your kid to a therapist, sometimes says to the kid that something is really wrong with them. That is not a great way to help them. Please find a way to talk to her. Even if you got to play a video game to get to her level. Good luck.

February 13, 2009 at 9:12 am
(7) Kim says:

I have dealt with this same situtaion, but from a different perspective. I provided homebound instruction for students suffering from anxiety associated with school. My services consisted of working closely with the school’s administration and teachers, the student and their parents and therapist. It enabled the student to receive credit for their core classes. It did not help with the social aspect of their high school career, but it did help them from being unable to obatin a high school education. It is important that child/student continue receiving help with the social issues and be introduced back to their home school on a gradual basis.

February 13, 2009 at 9:15 am
(8) Another Mom says:

My daughter, in 11th grade, has the same issue. She would get bad stomach aches every morning and say she was too sick to go to school. After her Dr. couldn’t find anything physically wrong, I took her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed social anxiety disorder.

My daughter’s very quiet and intelligent and finds it difficult to talk to people. She had “home-based” schooling from the county while she stayed home, went to therapy and started taking various medications. Most of the med’s made her sick, but now she’s taking Zoloft which she can manage. The home-based schooling wasn’t very good – they only supplied 2 teachers for English, History and Math while all her other courses went by the wayside.

We just enrolled her in a private, top-ranked school with only 4-10 kids per class where the kids are on a first-named basis with the teachers. They also each have their own advisor who they meet with daily. She LOVES this school and is thriving in it. I wish we put her in it right away….because she missed so much she went back to 10th grade and is finishing out the year that way. This gives her more time to get used to the school too.

This school is run like a small, private liberal arts college and costs that much too(!!) but it’s worth it to see my daughter happy. Too bad the public highschools have so many students and can’t really effectively deal with this issue.

February 13, 2009 at 9:23 am
(9) Gretchen says:

my daughter also suffers from anxiety/panic disorder in school. It doesn’t stop her from going though. I think it runs in the family. My mom had it and I did also. My moms on medication for the rest of her life, ativan. I chose to do something different. When I was home as a young adult, just out of high school, I was 18 and had agoraphobia, I couldnt walk to the mail box without feeling like I was going to pass out or fall over. Late one night a saw a show on tv about anixiety and depression. I bought the tapes and rest rest is history. I followed the program, week by week, tape by tape and slowly became me again. I went from not being able to walk to my own mailbox to driving to another state to see my new boyfriend. If anyone is interest in the tapes , they are from the midwest center for stress and anxiety. Lucinda Bassett is the founder. The website is http://www.midwestcenter.com . It comes with a work book. I still have these tapes to this day 20 years later. I still use the relaxation tape if i cant sleep. I tried to get my daughter to listen to them, but shes stubborn, she says they are vodo taoes. I try to explain to her that they just show you how you are the one that creates your anxiety, by what you are telling yourself. You are making yourself nervous.
I hope this can maybe help some people out there or their children with anxiety/panic disorder or even depression.
No I dont work for them, I just know from personal experience how good this program works. Im sure its been upgraded since I bought it 20 years ago and even better! I have the cassettes, Im sure they have CD now.
Best wishes

February 13, 2009 at 9:29 am
(10) Gretchen says:

I had anxiety when I was a teen. My thing was though, I would have constant headaches and not want to go anywhere.

I got these tapes from http://www.stresscenter.com attacking anxiety and depression. It come with tape/cds and a work book. You listen to one tape a week and work in the work book.

It really works! better than any medication. It teaches you that you and you alone are the one making you sick/anxious. Hard to believe, but you can make your self sick, by your negative scary thoughts, even subconciously!

I know the program was expensive when I was a teen. But I believe you can get a used program. I think you can even ask them to buy one tape a week. You would have to call.

It will be worth it.

I went from having agoraphobia, not being able to walk to my mailbox, to having a boyfriend in another state and driving there by myself. I had more self esteem, people really notice the difference in my confidence. I had always been really shy in school.
I hope this can help some people, as it helped me many years ago.

February 13, 2009 at 10:29 am
(11) Anna says:

It sounds to me as if this is a clinical disorder beyond the scope of counseling. If your health insurance covers it, inpatient treatment for several weeks may be called for. When my daughter went through this, only a long-term psychiatric intervention was useful. Anything less and there was no progress.

February 13, 2009 at 11:33 am
(12) Another Mom says:

On Gretchen’s comment about the self-help CDs: I emailed my daughter’s psychiatrist to see if she knew anything about them and could recommend them. I note that you can try them out for 30 days for free – sounds worthwhile.

February 13, 2009 at 11:57 am
(13) Joan says:

When a teen isn’t functioning in most areas of their life – anxiety and depression are merely symptoms of a greater underlying issue that prescription drugs, outpatient therapy and the best intentions of loving parents can’t remedy alone:

Recommend this book that looks at the problem from another perspective : http://www.amazon.com/Unchanged-Mind-Problem-Immaturity-Adolescence/dp/1590561244

The author begins with a clinical riddle: Why are American teenagers failing to develop normally through adolescence? We are presented with case studies from a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teenagers: All new students had been deemed treatment “failures” after conventional psychiatric care. All were bright teenagers, full of promise, not obviously “ill.” Yet they found themselves unprepared for the challenges of modern adolescence and inevitably failed–at school, at home, and among their peers socially.

An Unchanged Mind is the discovery of the essence of this problem–disrupted maturation and resulting immaturity. The book explains the problem carefully, with a brief review of normal development and an examination of the delays today’s teenagers are suffering: the causes of those delays and how they produce a flawed approach to living. There is a solution. With a sustained push to help troubled kids catch up, symptoms abate, academic and interpersonal functioning improve, and parents pronounce their teens miraculously recovered. This remedy is not a matter of pharmacology–and the cure is not in pills. The remedy is, instead, to grow up.

About the Author
John A. McKinnon, M.D., was educated at Harvard, Cambridge University, Case Western Reserve University, Yale, and Norwich University. He taught at the University of California, San Francisco, and directed psychiatry hospital programs in Texas and Montana. Disgusted with the mediocrity of “managed” care, he left traditional medical centers to found Montana Academy, a therapeutic school for troubled teenagers on a remote ranch near Glacier Park. His co-founder and wife, Rosemary, is also a therapist, and they have three daughters.

February 13, 2009 at 12:08 pm
(14) Sympathetic Mom says:

My daughter has had similar issues with school and emotional lows. I don’t have a solution for you, but I think I understand your heartache. What I have longed for is for her to find something that she loves to do, and that makes her recognize her own worth. We can tell them, but that’s not the same. Keep loving her, supporting her, and providing opportunities for her (for counseling, medical help, school, and satisfying activities). We can’t know what choices they will make, and we can’t control their choices either. But I DO know that if I do not provide these things for her, or at least offer these things (which are often rejected), that I will not be able to live with myself later. BTW, my daughter seems to be on the upswing now–it’s been a long time, and sometimes it makes me feel like a dishrag, but keep steady. She needs your love even though she seems to be pushing it away!

February 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm
(15) chandni srinivasan says:

Iam from india and i had a similar problem with my daughter in high school.she refused to go to school and would throw tantrums and was rude to the teachers.here in india going to a psychiatrist or therapist is not really accpeted.

The best i would do was not force her at all.sometimes the expectations are there in each child and when they are not met they feel cheated.some one may be giving her a tough time in school or she feels uncomfortable about a teacher she cannot express.never forcefully do anything,they tend to rebel more.

i think teenage depression is quite common as they are going through many changes .the best is to go along with them.as they go they do see other kids and realize.

Now my daughter is in med school something i never dreamt,so dont worry its a passing phase.go easy on your child.

all the best

February 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm
(16) jo ann says:

Hi from Chicago. I agree with the panic disorder observation. If that is true in her case, the overwhelming sensation of panic is enough to make her want to stay in her comfort zone..which is home. The progression as I see it, is undiagnosed depression, feelings of anxiety, panic attacks then lastly phobic. Once a panic attack happens, its hard to trust yourself enough be able to handle another one. They can be devasting. If she can find a support group, other teens who have similar symptoms, she will feel less isolated. She needs to know, she is not alone. As for the panic feelings, they will always end, you can liken then to hysteria. Hysteria won’t make you crazy or have you commited. Good luck..my heart goes out to you both.

February 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm
(17) Laurie says:

This family should find out if their school has an online component or if there is an online high school their daughter could attend from home until they work through her other issues.

February 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm
(18) Another caring voice says:

I feel the pain, frustration, and fear that you and your daughter must both be going through during this time. I’m around teens a lot and yours is an experience that I hear many parents come up against. I, myself, have a teen boy who struggles with balance – socially and academically and much of what the others have already said rings true for us as well. My son also spends a great deal of time online. I support (and monitor) his activity as much as possible. I encourage him to keep a private blog into which he pours his thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. I know the internet can be scary for those of us who didn’t grow up with it and sometimes it seems as if it’s anti-social but I think it’s important to keep in mind that teens today have a very different relationship with the internet than we do and for them it truly represents a form of community. An accepting community. There is also a teen website called teenink.com. This is a site run by teens that incorporates teen writing: poetry, stories, diaries. Some of it is so raw it’s difficult to read. But it’s real. And it let’s these kids know they’re not alone. That what they’re experiencing is being experienced by others. The tapes recommended above are an excellent suggestion and, perhaps, a good alternative to pharmacology but, of course, it’s always going to be a very individual experience. What does your daughter think about taking the medication? How does she feel about it? Does she think it’s meant to “fix her”? Does she feel “less-than” because she needs to be “fixed”? There is neuroscientific evidence that clearly indicates teens function primarily from the amygdala part of their brain during the ages of about 13 to 17. The amygdala is that part of the brain that governs our feelings of “status” – the part that makes us feel like we are as good as everyone else and as worthy as everyone else. When functioning primarily from this part of our brain, it’s very easy to feel “less than”. It’s very easy to feel challenged by the outside world and the opinion others have of us. We feel slighted by the simplest things. That’s why teens so often seem “ready for a fight”. They are constantly feeling challenged to prove their worth. They are functioning from this place because their prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that governs wisdom, empathy, and our ability to make good choices is on hiatus. The development of the prefrontal cortex slows markedly during the teen years as all body energy is re-focused on growing the other parts of their body. The prefrontal cortex begins developing again around the age of 17 or so. So what are we supposed to do about this? Just recognize it. Try to be understanding and supportive of how vulnerable, overwhelmed, and less-than they often feel. Sometimes they have no more idea why they say or do things than we do. In particularly difficult moments, I will sometimes pretend my son belongs to someone else. What I mean by that is I imagine what advice I would give another parent who came to me with an issue similar to the one my son might be going through. What wisdom would I share? And then, I step back into my own life and apply that same wisdom to my own child. Often times that’s enough to pull me out of my own head, my own fears, my own stuff enough to handle it. You sound like you have so much love for your daughter and want so badly to support her. And she sounds like she wants to be supported…in whatever way that looks like for her. I am so touched by the parents who responded here and I applaud the courage of every parent who tries. There are no answers…only questions. I wish for you and your family peace.

February 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm
(19) Liz says:

Don’t give up! Perhaps you could home school her for a time while she works out her health problems with doctors, psychitrists,etc.

February 13, 2009 at 2:23 pm
(20) Sue says:

I see you have alot of responses that are good.
I would just like to add something about the depression medicine Zoloft. I was prescribed Zoloft and took the medicine for 8 months. I do not know what happen. My husband found me one day as a zombie sitting in the living room. He rushed me to the emergency room where they told my husband that Zoloft has this affect on some patients. I stayed in the hospital for a week. I was treated with Wellbutin XL. I did very well on that medicine.
I hope your daughter gets well soon.
Gods Blessings to you and your family.

February 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm
(21) Luna says:

My name is Luna and Im 18 years old unfortunatly i don`t have any expirience in this to help but i just want to say that sometimes we as teen feel like our parents are asking for more than what we can do plus sometimes they say “look at that person da da da da”

In my unprofesional opinion try to change her enviroment how well maybe the school or even the suermarket if you go with her try to spend sometime with her and well this is my
e-mail tarde-amanecer@hotmail.com if she wana talk to someone

February 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm
(22) R.P. says:

Although the mother did not say anything about excessive sleeping, so I doubt this is her daughters problem, I’m throwing it out there anyway because for ONE YEAR we had doctors telling us that our 13/14 yr old was 1) school phobic 2) depressed 3) possibly on drugs.
Well, guess what, he’s narcoleptic.(only 4% of kids under 15 are diagnosed….and that means not that they don’t get it, it means they are not getting diagnosed properly.)Keep pushing, and I mean PUSHING for a correct diagnosis (whatever the problem might be, not just narcolepsy)When it comes to teens, they are WAY too quick to blame it on mental heath disorders. Again, not sayng school pohbia isn’t real, just saying there are other disorders aout there and a lot of kids are falling thru the cracks. Guess what it did to my sons self esteem to not be BELIEVED (except by me)……..so now we get to work on that. You know your own kid, so don’t ever stop being your child’s advocate.
Good luck.
By the way, hypnagogic dreams mentioned by someone earlier….part of narcloepsy too, for some.
EDS (exessive daytime sleepiness is usually the first symptom) and doctors always discout it as being a “teen” or being “depressed.

February 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(23) Arlenna says:

I was like your daughter when I was in High School. I kept to myself and I wanted so badly to quit, but thank goodness my parents sent me right back much to my dismay. They said too bad, get your butt back to school and there was no option. I hated them. It was the right answer though. I was a wallflower and I was alone but I didn’t die. Five years later I called my parents and thanked them. I had to learn to deal with adversity and learn responsibility. We have to be able to learn from our mistakes. Parents can not always be the good guys or friends. They must make the right decision even when it’s unpopular. They are molding the child for the way he or she will behave as an adult. Now, you go Mama, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your daughter. I know you can do it! She will grow up and be able to take care of herself and even find happiness from her accomplishments.

February 13, 2009 at 6:50 pm
(24) gina says:

You are a good parent looking everywhere for help.
Poor thing.
Here are my suggestions:
A) Get her moving her body…ie walking, hiking, swimming, dancing with her Ipod.
2) Give her crayons and large pieces of paper and tell her to scribble her aniety into/onto the paper. The idea is not to evaluate it just transfer the anxiety/misery out of her body. She’s allowed to go wild scribbling with no connotation to it.
3) Go with her and do charity work it will allow her to feel valuable.
4) Take her to a Transendental Meditation Center, get her a mantra and get her meditating. It will not interfere with her religion and it’s prooven to reduce stress.
5) Get her a dog.
Good Luck,
51 year old mom

February 13, 2009 at 8:52 pm
(25) Kelly says:

This is something that your daughter can breakthrough with, she doesn’t have to have this the rest of her life. If it’s related to self-esteem, then it would be good for her to be involved in things that will give her opportunity to accomplish things, that is where a person gets esteem from. Hiding from the problem is not the best. I am a therapist and when I have a person who has anxiety, I ask them what they feel they can control, how they see their life and what would they like to do with their life. She may need another outlet, besides her computer. If it needs to be taken away so she socializes more, than do so, or set up parameters to where she will be on the computer but not so much, and if she’s not going to school, then she doesn’t get the computer. Anxiety or not, there are still things she must do. She could be manipulating the situation. I am saying she may still be anxious about something, but if she is not going to school and the opportunities have been given, then you are still the parent to make her go.

If there are no changes with the medication, then stop it with the psychiatrist. Counseling is still good to go to, but maybe she needs another counselor to help her.

You will get through this, she needs to learn how to continue to do her part with or without anxiety, and to face her fears, whatever they are. When she does, she will be more in control.

February 13, 2009 at 11:56 pm
(26) Gina says:

My 14 year old daughter has been going through the same thing this year. She has always been outgoing, a dancer who can perform in front of everyone, very self-confident. This year she started feeling nauseous every morning, escalating until she was so “afraid” of vomiting that she couldn’t even attend school. Eventually she couldn’t even dance, which is what she loves most to do. We have been seeing a therapist and a Psychiatrist, who has her on Paxil. She is not responding to it very well, so we are trying some other things. Sometimes it is a matter of getting the right medication for your child, a good therapist, keeping the communication doors open and trying to remain calm and non-judgemental. We are lucky in that our school district has a program called “hospital homebound”, where if your child cannot attend school physically, they can call into their core courses and there is a teacher who teaches the lesson. She has started dancing again, so I see that as a positive sign, but this is not necessarily a fast process. I too have panic attacks, successfully treated with medication for the last 16 years. I know how difficult it can be, and how terrible it feels. Try to let your daughter know that you are there for her, and that you believe her when she tells you how she is feeling. I wish you all the best in getting her back on her feet so that she can be happy and comfortable in her own shoes. Don’t give up on her.

February 14, 2009 at 12:35 am
(27) another caring Mom says:

You don’t say how your daughter was as a preschooler, or through the elementary and middle school years. Is this something new for her in high school? If it is, I would guess that she is feeling rejected or harrassed by the kids in that particular school/neighborhood. Or, it could be the age (hormones) that she might be having an extreme reaction to. It could be major loneliness, especially if she doesn’t have siblings. It could be a sensitivity to certain foods or additives. Try eliminating all caffeine, sugar and chocolate for a time. There is an organization called Feingold that lists foods that affect mood and behavior. I found out that eggs, and anything with eggs in it, would cause whatever I was feeling to be magnified 100x. I would be withdrawn, I would cry, I couldn’t handle stress. When I eliminated eggs from my diet, I felt like a relatively normal person. What I also found helpful as a teen was going to an all girls private school and getting first a babysitting job right next door, and later getting a job as a busgirl in a restaurant. The private school was much less stressful, I just focused on the day to day school work and achieving. Attaining small goals, like making the honor roll motivated me. At home, I read books, did chores, watched tv and dreamed of my future. I did well with the babysitting when it was just the children and me, and I was in charge; however, when the parents came back all I wanted to do was run home. I had to force myself to stay long enough to get paid and then I could make my escape. What I liked the least actually helped me the most, a job as a busgirl in the restaurant where my mother worked. She was a teacher, but when she found herself having to support 6 children, she went to work as a waitress. If she hadn’t been there everyday with me, I don’t think I could have done it. I set and cleared tables and kept the supplies stocked, and I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I forced myself to face it everyday and just focused on doing the job. Getting paid at the end of each night helped to motivate me to do it again the next night. It was difficult for me to be around people, but it was just what I needed. After 2 1/2 years, I began to feel a more relaxed and self-confident. Then I graduated to waitressing (somewhere else) while I continued to go to school. Transitioning back to public school for college was difficult. Again, I put my focus on what was being taught and achieving my goal rather than the people. It was hard, but I persevered. Coping was still difficult, so I consulted a doctor several times but he was not helpful. It was only after someone close to me died and I became very depressed, that I saw a different doctor who prescribed Elavil, which turned out to be a tremendous help to me (I was 24 at the time). I think that homeschooling is also a viable option for your daughter, if only to keep her up with her studies. I have several friends who homeschool, and there are different homeschooling groups that meet two days/week for classes and the children work at home the other 2-3 days. Some homeschooling curriculums, like Abeka or Bob Jones, offer DVD’s that teach the course. There are many other homeschooling curriculae to choose from. I have also found homeschooling children to be kinder and more accepting. I love the idea of getting a dog, if that’s a possibility for your family. A puppy to love and who loves you back can bring comfort, healing and joy into your daughter’s days, and you have a multi “therapeutic” benefit of her having to walk the dog. It gets her outside with people without any interaction being required of her, and it provides her the venue for getting exercise and sunlight (which is extremely important for people who have these conditions). Joining a health club would have benefits also, if she can focus on the workout routine and block out the people. Outdoor sports would be something to consider, dance classes, ice skating lessons, piano or some type of musical lesson, drama club if she’s good at memorizing lines, and/or sewing classes at the local fabric store, journaling… all are enjoyable activities and all have “therapeutic” benefits. So, it can be a combination of 1. the elimination of a certain food 2. the right medication 3. a less stressful school environment 4. a pet to love 5. exercise and sunlight 6. an opportunity to earn money that puts you with the public, but demands minimal interaction 7. reading
And, last but not least, prayer…. and developing a relationship with a God Who loves her. I hope that this information is a blessing to you and your daughter.

February 14, 2009 at 1:28 am
(28) Monica says:

There have been lots of great comments and I would say the same. Have her keep up with seeing a doctor. This is regarding her attending school in the meantime which is VERY important – Not sure if this will help but my daughter attends our local http://www.k12.com school. Every state/area is different but I really like how it works. It’s an online public charter school that requires her to visit a learning center once a week. My daughter is 14 and has alopecia (sever hairloss). Her self esteem is very high but some kids can be really cruel and I don’t want to subject her to that, even though she knows how to handle it. I feel that being a teen itself is hard enough. Anyway, this school gives her the space she needs but requires her to be social at least once a week, which is way better than homeschooling or private online school. Also, our program (and I believe most) are funded by our local public school and is free of charge. They send you a laptop, provide textbooks and materials and pay for your internet. My daughter and I are very happy with the school. Hope it can help you or possibly someone else who may have a sensitive teen as well. :)

February 14, 2009 at 1:36 am
(29) Monica says:

Sorry, I also wanted to add that there is school staff and the students actually have a teacher/teachers that they can communicate with in person, by phone or by email. Hopefully theres a school in your area. Take care!

February 14, 2009 at 5:46 am
(30) nana says:

I can perfectly understand what your child is going through, but I’m totally against relying on a drug to solve the problem. My 13 year old has always been a shy child, but the situation is worsening as he has entered his teenage years. i’m not sure if it is something relating to the physical and psychological changes occuring at this stage, but he surely needs help! He is always self-conscuis in public, and his performance is greatly affected by that. He is an excellent Tennis player, but always loses matches against weeker opponents when the match is being viewed by others. He is being bullied around in school and can go to the extreme of not willing to eat, constantly thinking about the boys that might bully him!He is extremely aggressive with us at home. At the other end, he is very soft and expresses a lot of guilt when we remind him all the things that his dad and I go through to ensure that he gets the best life ever! Whenever he is outside the house, in the mall, in the restaurant, and maybe at school around teachers, and tough boys, anxiety shows up! i have tried to speak to him, remind him of all his good qualities, and that everyone is different, but it doesn’t seem to work!I have no idea what to do!

February 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm
(31) beth says:

Nana, you need to be very supportive of him. He needs an hobby that he can feel good about that doesn’t require people to watch him like playing an instrament or art. Have you talked to the school counselors. They were very helpful to my daughter when this was happening to her. We ended up with a private therapist because she didn’t want to be seen going into the school counselors office. The first didn’t work out but the second has been great. She gives her little tasks to do that slowly pushed her out of her very limited comfort zone. Ignore some of the negative behavior and praise, praise, praise anything he does that is positive. We did this with our daughter and it made a huge difference. Encourage new friendships. Make sure he knows you support him and not just financially but emotionally. Don’t make him feel guilty for what your are providing him with. I am sure you are not doing that intentionally but these kids automatically think negative. It may put more pressure on him. We are starting to see the light now and she is becoming happy and has new friends.

February 14, 2009 at 11:27 pm
(32) KellyJ says:

I know how you feel. I know about your lost sleep and your own anxiety about yoru daughter’s future. My daughter, now 14 was diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) which showed up in the form of panic attacks in the second grade. Terror and physical illness before school. Since then she has been on medication – some homeopathic, some ssii – A good therapist (and this is key) who specializes in adolescent anxiety would be great for you.
About medication – yes, we hear a lot about how are kids are overmedicated… it makes us all wary about putting our kids on meds, which is good. But, you give your kids medicine when they are sick. If you give them medicine for anxiety (often caused by an imbalance of seretonin in the brain) you are not doing a bad thing. Your daughter is in pain. Discuss any concerns about meds with the Dr., monitor it, start slow, make sure your daughter is involved in the monitoring of the meds. Encourage her to be aware of how they make her feel.
Bless you both. She has a good mom. That is a great start

Much Love to you both

February 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm
(33) Carol says:

wow, when I first read this story I couldn’t believe how similar it was to mine. Having lost family members from cancer & heart disease I couldn’t imagine anything could be harder. Having a daughter suffer from anxiety & depression and trying to get her back on track is a long battle. Good luck to all. It was helpful hearing everyone’s stories, we’re not alone.

February 15, 2009 at 6:20 am
(34) Mehjabin says:

Actually, one of my friends was also suffering from the same problem. She didn’t attend the school for months. Her attendance is below 60% and this year she is appearing for the public exam. The reason for this, in my view, is her mother’s interference in her activities. In teenage, everyone like privacy. At that time, they assume that they had grown to their parents. Let them do whatever they want. It’s just a matter of time. Don’t be too anxious about them. This will do the reverse. Just observe them that they are not crossing the limits. Talk with them. Believe them and make them to believe that they can share their feelings with you. In teenage, they need a friend more than a father, mother or a guardian. Loving is not enough. Express your love towards them. Be a good friend. Try to know their likes and dislikes.

February 15, 2009 at 10:12 am
(35) corina says:

School cane be a very cruel pass to be for mostteenagers. Teenagers at t his time of their life are very insecure a bout everything. In addition, the are going through alot of cchanges in their bodies and they the school progrmas are preparing them for their futures. Becasue of the no chold left behind law, school districts are steping up thier progrmas to make every one fit into the same program. Every one must past t he same tests with very little exceptions. Its the worst thing to put on some of these kids becuase they cannot suceed in this manner. There are other ways students learn but this law does not allow them to prove their talents in any othermanner except thruogh these stingent testing models. Therefore, this contributes to their low self esteem and desire to succeed through t heir own unique talents and abilities. It is like trying to fit a square block in a round hole. It just does NOT fit. In addition, the no bullying rule seems to aire its ugly head though worse then ever. Teenagers can find you and harass in through the computer on the computer as well as when you are at home. So its not even that you are able to get away from the bullying when you leave the school.
Many parents are not even aware of all the stress their teens are under until its too late. Drug use is up as well as teenager drop out rate has increased, not to mention, more teenagers becoming pregnant, sinxce thisno child left behind act has be developed. Ifv a child leaves the school because of prenancy or drug abuse they can become home schoole and work at a rate that is more condusive to their needs and abilities. So in essence the no child left behind act has only contributed to many problems and forced taxes to rise becuase we have to pay for these kids to get private tutors from the teens home school. Only the teenagers and their families suffer as aresult of this act.

February 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm
(36) continued thoughts from #26 Another Caring Mom says:

A sense of belonging is paramount at this age. A youth group can make all the difference in the world if you find one that is the right fit for her needs at this time. There is one that is all girls called “Challenge”. I have found the girls there to be kind. They have wonderful leaders and they focus on doing service projects. They also sponsor a very elegant modest-dress fashion show/luncheon once/year at the Hyatt Regency for the daughters and their mothers. As the girls get older, they can apply to be one of the models. They also sponsor Mother/daughter teas and retreats, and in the summer they have a one week camp with great activities and team building. There are things that you could think of to do with your daughter which will strengthen the bond between you, have fun and make memories at the same time, and gives her something enjoyable to look forward to. The biggest one is a Mother/Daughter cruise that is offered once/year, usually in Feb, by Focus on the Family (a non-profit that works to help parents with whatever needs they have in order to make strong, healthy families) *focusonthefamily.com .
You can teach her how to decorate cakes and give them to friends and families, or sign-up to take a cake-decorating class together. You could take her shopping and out to lunch, or go out to dinner or to a movie, go for a walk or canoing/kayaking. You could get involved in training seeing-eye dogs for the disabled. The focus is outside of “being accepted or rejected”. It would give her a purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and the satisfaction of knowing that she has helped/blessed someone else. You could help her to sponsor an impoverished/orphaned child overseas with whom she can correspond which we give her the same sense of purpose, accomplishment and satisfaction of helping someone else. She could be a volunteer…. I would have loved to have had a teen come to my house if only for 1 hour/week to be a “mother’s helper” helping with just picking up, doing dishes, reading to a child or taking him out on the swing; or, if she can find someone who would pay her to do the same thing it would be an opportunity to earn some money to buy that one thing she wants to have. The key is to get her involved in doing things, where her focus is on doing…. the friends will come, the acceptance and sense of belonging that she is craving will come. Talk to her about the virtues of patience and perseverance that will strengthen her character while she’s busy being involved in doing things. Steer her away from things that could adversely affect her self-image, and, in addition to you being her primary role model, point out other women with admirable qualities as role models. Get a book about one of them and let her read it. My favorite is Mother Teresa, a woman who radiates beauty from within.

Thank you About.com:teens for your website, it’s a blessing. To read that other teens are experiencing similar struggles, to find that we are not alone, and to have a place where we can express our fears/worries/concerns and find support.

February 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm
(37) Pam MacKay says:

I agree with the person who commented on taking Zoloft as a viable course of treatment. If your daughter had diabetes, you wouldn’t hesitate to give her insulin if that’s what was prescribed.

Another thing to consider is to look back at how she was as a toddler and in her earlier school years. If she had poor social skills…seemed to not quite get what the appropriate social behavior was in certain situations, etc. Then perhaps she has Aspergers Syndrome. This is something that the psychologists and psychiatrists have probably already ruled out, but it’s worth making sure they have checked into it.

Often girls are not diagnosed until later because their symptoms aren’t as apparent as boys. If your daughter does have Aspergers, it will affect how she is helped and how to deal with the schools, etc.

Don’t be afraid of a diagnosis of any ‘syndrome’ or ‘disorder’ They can be helpful in getting the proper help your daughter may need. I’m just thinking that since everything that has been done to try and help her so far hasn’t brought the results you were hoping for, there may be more to it than just an anxiety disorder. And sometimes anxiety is a result of having an underlying condition such as Aspergers or OCD, etc.

I hope this helps.

Good Luck and trust your own instincts. You’ll know what’s best for her.

February 15, 2009 at 8:45 pm
(38) susan Miller says:

My daughter had a similar experience.
She found that DPT Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy was vital for her recovery. It teaches coping skills and how to deal with and manage the feelings of anxiety. I strongly urge that you research this for your daughter.

February 15, 2009 at 11:01 pm
(39) Ryan says:

Wow, I am so sorry that you are going through this. It sucks. I feel your pain. I have a daughter that hates school and has very poor self esteem, depression and going to get a psychologist option this week. She may have a learning disability and/or ADD. Anyway, there are places that you can ask for help and sometimes this is completely covered by your insurance. This school listed below is one in Broomfield Colorado that I have been looking into for my child. I think your case is worse than mine. But you might look into it. It is treatment physicality.
ADOLESCENT & FAMILY INSTITUTE OF CO, 10001 W 32ND AVE WHEAT RIDGE, CO 80033, http://www.aficonline.com

Lots of Love,

February 16, 2009 at 7:05 am
(40) manuel says:

I don`t have much information as to make my mind. for instance, girls mother, is she divorced or not, is the girl having a normal family (or anormal these days in the sense that she´s got a father and a mother and maybe brothers and sisters, or maybe she lives with her mother and her mothers partner…), what type of house, environment…

many times these type of problems only have to do with a despair inner shout of a human being which requires to be recognized, that mother realized her existence, but we need more information on this one.

February 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm
(41) sarah says:

HI, i am only 15 myself, but i personally have struggled with what ur daughter is going through, it was really hard, i just started going back to school this year after being ‘home’ schooled for 2 years. Aneixity is very hard on the people around the person with it but to that person you dont really notice it. She locks her mind away, herself, its like a self destruct button she turns herself off to protect, Not to harm. If u could remeber so be there for your daughter but dont pry it will make her go deeper into herself. she is searching for something to cling to. Family outings even though at first will seem pointless have a very big effect. My family helped me the most. The problem is still there in the back of my mind, but i dont think i will ever be able to feel as bad as i did. Give her a rock to cling to and she will soon become comfortable.. i promise

February 22, 2009 at 8:40 am
(42) ESL says:

Hi. It is a difficult situation for you and your teen. A good heart-to-heart talk should be a great help in finding the reason behind the anxiety. It is most important to find out the root cause of the problem. When parents find time to talk with their children, the children feel care and love and that solves half of the problem. What to do next will be lighter to figure out.

February 23, 2009 at 7:09 am
(43) Jane says:

Hi,this is as much to the teens here as it is to the parents. I’m a single mum of an 15yr old son who has struggled with anxiety and low self esteem since he was 7yrs old. His anxiety led to numerous other health complications over the years from enuresis to irritable bowel and chronic nausea. He has been in and out of school over the years. On the one hand, he wanted to go and be normal like everyone else but after a couple of months the anxiety would get unbearable and we would go back to homeschooling. At 15 he was accepted into a small adult-learning centre (it was the only place that would accept a teen that hadn’t attended school.we are in a small town with few facilities), and for a term he seemed to do well, but now the anxiety is back again and he is getting really stressed about “always dropping out of stuff”. It seems this time he is just as stressed about the idea of leaving as he is about going. His nausea is back, as is his insomnia, he gets regular headaches, and he is happiest when on his computer in a fantasy game. I have been told that I am too easy on him and that I should just force him to go to school and get over himself. I am at a loss as to what to do. I haven’t met anyone whose child has had these problems, and until finding this site (at 1am in another desperate night trying to find answers), I have never seen a place like this with so many people going through the exact same thing. It is such a relief, and yet so sad at the same time. I feel for all these kids so much, and without knowing how it is to be in their shoes, its so hard to understand. To you young ones, I’m in awe of your courage to just get up and face each day. And to you parents/caregivers I admire the dedication you show to their wellbeing, even if we don’t get it right all the time. Please may I ask any opinions on forcing them to face the anxiety and go to school vs allowing them to study at home and find ways to build them up. And thankyou all so much for sharing your experiences, and for loving your kids so much!

February 25, 2009 at 2:50 pm
(44) janet messer says:

I can not believe that when I was reading this. it sounded just like my 14 yr. old. I was draging her to school. it was her first year in high school and she changed for the worst. She was active in basketball and softball, but she would not join nothing at high school. I finally had to take her out and home school her. It is really hard on me working taking care of my 5yr.old grand son. She has changed so much. I just don’t knkow what I can do. Now that I have her home. She has gotten very quite.

February 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm
(45) ami says:

I home schooled my son for this very reason. There is an excellent book that I recommend entitled ” Social Phobia,” by John Marshall. This book will help you.

March 28, 2009 at 5:47 am
(46) marisol says:

i have been diagnosed with anxiety and agoraphobia .at the age of 34 needless to say thats how bad i had it i couldnt ever leave my home because i felt weird going out to public and no one in my family ever knew what i was going through i found a great therapist and ways to cope with it by also educating myself on this disorder..through countless websites on anxiety.. and i know it is also a learned behavior ..but u can help your daughter ..also..you tube is great with videos from actual people who have anxiety and panic disorder.i also have a17 year old who has anxiety and is going through high school and im trying my best to help her through this..public schools should have some program for each child to be evaluated proffesionally at the beginning of the school year

November 20, 2009 at 1:06 am
(47) sarah forster says:

i have read your story for about two years now i have had the exact same problem as your daughter i hardly ever go to school because of my anxiety and panick attacks every morning nearly my mum finds me tat way too it is so releaving to hear that im not the only teenager who has this problem and believe me she probonly just wants to be able to go to school like others and learn and be able to get over her problems but nobody really understands it is very hard i wish i could find help too im sure she and you wil overcome this goodluck!!.

January 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm
(48) Laura Lynch says:

Your daughter really needs a friend who will go to school with her for 6 weeks,be there for her and eat lunch with her, study with her. Your daughter needs a life coach for this 6 weeks and longer if necessary. I really believe that if she could get through this most difficult time she could make it and get on with her education and her life

January 20, 2010 at 9:15 pm
(49) kiesha says:

my 13 year old daughter has not been in school since mid October. Never had any problems with her -responsible,soccer, decent grades,loves to be social. Then after being home with swine flu,she got the anxiety and panic attacks about being in the school – classrooms. She started meds a week ago and I’m not sure what they’re doing for her. I am hoping to try her in school 1/2 days tomorrow & Friday. She is so unsure of herself and turns into Linda Blair when she refuses to get out of the car. Oh well, I’ll see how it works tomorrow. I know it sucks for the person but they just have to be guided (with a little push) out of thier comfort zone and placed with kind people that will help them feel they’ll be ok. I’d like to find a mentoring support person or program for her,too Thx!

March 4, 2010 at 5:07 pm
(50) MommaBear says:

My 15yr old son has been diagnosed with social and anxiety disorder that is now being treated witrh Prozac and Clonopin. He has missed so much school. Luckily our area has a program which allows him to be put on a “plan” to keep him from failing out of school. This is a plan that makes all his teachers aware of his situation.

Unfortunately, he seems to have gotten into another “rut” that he seems overwhelmed with. His way of dealing with the stresses of missing assignments, kids making fun of him, the pressure he puts on himself, his low self-esteem…is to stay in bed with the blankets over his head saying that he’s sick and “I can’t do it”.

We’ve tried so much, anger, guilt, reasoning, punishmant, etc, to get him to go to school. He keeps saying “I don’t know how to get through it!”. I’ve tried relaxation cd’s, which he hated. It just seems to be one excuse after another in the morning of why he can’t go to school. I’ve spoken to the school about the kids that were making fun of him and they are dealing with that situation. I know it isn’t the only reason because this has been going on before he started at the high school.

I’m at a loss and starting to get depressed myself over this situation. I know I have to stay strong (and firm) for my son, but I can feel myself getting completely beaten down day after day. He doesn’t just lay in bed quietly, it’s lash-out-at-mom-fest. I was reading all these comments and sadly found comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone! Thanks for letting me vent!

September 5, 2010 at 5:10 am
(51) Gina says:

My son who is 15 is going through this. He attributed it to smoking pot one time with a friend. He told me he had derealization something I had never heard about. I don’t totally trust counselors, and psychiatrists because like another commenter said, they want to prescribe mind altering drugs to young people so quickly. Besides I don’t think I could get him to take pills since he blames a drug for this happening to him. I had no idea what to say to him one day when he came to me crying, so out of the blue I told him to pray about it. He now has me praying too, 2 to 3 times a day and for the first time in my life I’m going to church every Sunday with him. He’s a lot like your daughter in not socializing much. He does have a Christian friend that the hangs out with sometimes. I worry about him a little because he’s a different person than he was a couple of years ago, but I think he’s a beautiful person inside and out. Then or now. I had a very difficult adolescence and my ultimate plan is to keep supporting him in his spiritual journey. Take a day at a time. I thank God he’s not like I was at that age, on a self destructive quest in taking drugs, drinking and eating disorders. Lets face it I don’t care who you are, 15 is a tough age for everyone, some just don’t show it as much.

Good luck with your daughter, and we’ll pray for her. Please pray for my son and all kids that are growing up in this confusing world we live in today.

March 1, 2011 at 1:59 am
(52) Bobbie says:

Im a single mother with a child that is 15. My son was just diagnosed with anxiety & depression. He also was diagnosed with add three years ago. Great loving kid but worries constantly about everything. It as well has affected his attendance in school. He had an iep in 07, then the school took it away and said he didnt qualify anymore. Since then he has struggled . I put him in a private turtoring classes one year to help & so he would pass into the 8th grade. I asked the school at that time if they would re-test him. NO they said doesnt qualify. Well this year he is in 9th grade failing and I have two doctors slips that says he would be best homebound with his conditions. The school refuses to pay for homebound, He goes a half day everyday then I teach him four of his classes without any instructions from the teachers. I ask for a homebound teacher to come into my home to teach him what Im trying to do. The principal stated that our Pres passed the law that homebound teachers no longer get paid to come into the home. What do I do in this situ?

April 25, 2012 at 6:33 am
(53) Lee-Anne says:

My daughter is 14 and has had chronic pain constipation based irritable bowel for some time now. She has not really attended much school for nearly 2 years. She is now in Year 9. She has become very depressed and we are now trying medication Endep and Nexium for the stomach. She is socially withdrawn except for the computer and virtually will not leave the house.

We will now try many sessions of counselling because I believe she has inherited an anxiety disorder from her grandmother who in her latter years became socially isolated and was so horrible to her family that they withdrew from her, which didn’t help her at all.

When I look back I can see the pattern. when she was born she never slept more than 2 hours at a time until she was over 3 years I had to give up my job and stay at home as I couldn’t function on no sleep. We could never go on holidays as she couldn’t sleep in a strange place and would keep us up all night. when she was 8 things improved. When she turned 12 things started going backwards again.

Commencing highschool really tripped her backwards badly. She did not cope with the huge social / culture shock as had attended a small primary school that was very family/community focused. We tried home schooling. The school is not the problem but her anxiety is driving the IBS so we are going to trying and get her help dealing with this.

I don’t want her to end up like her grandmother did – unable to cope. As we all know life doesn’t get any easier as we grow older it only gets harder!

I find it so hard as I am strong, focused, goal orientated, loving and mentoring towards my daughter and she enjoys my company. It has taught me that we are all different and you can’t just snap out of it – it is an emmotional condition that takes a lot of working on and support.

My niece suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and got over that and is now at University – so I focus on her achievements and feel confident we will get there. My daughter will be well prepared for life and have strategies to help her cope!

Keep offering your support and love and assistance

August 29, 2012 at 9:15 am
(54) Connie says:

I was glad to see a recent comment to keep this page alive. Our son has had anxiety for as long as I remember when I look back on it. He is now a teenager. We have had him in therapy on and off since the 3rd grade. We started him in private high school last year and he seemed to be thriving. Then this summer he had an incident which triggered a downward spiral. He has only been to school twice in a week and a half. He has a new therapist which he seems to like. Trying to find the right medication is difficult and so far it doesn’t seem we have hit it. I noticed a comment from someone in Chicago but that was in 2009. We live in that area and wondering if anyone knows of any alternative schools which help teens like this. It is not an option for us to home school, and I personally think he needs some of that social interaction to help him eventually get better. We use to think it was getting bullied but that was just an add on to the anxiety and lack of self esteem that he already had. If someone has some advice outside of home schooling, I would love to hear it. We feel so helpless and not sure anymore what the right or wrong things to do.

October 30, 2012 at 1:42 am
(55) brandy says:

It would be too simplistic to say that self-esteem is at the heart of anxiety. My daughter has anxiety yet also has very high self esteem. Anxiety is hetrogenous, meaning different for everyone, it’s genesis and how it plays out. I agree with many of the posts that understanding and really listening to the child are key factors for change.

I also offer that I think in making decisions for our children, we are often affected by how we are afraid that we will be judged or seen as the cause or even model for the behaviour. It is important to hold our children and stay close to them just as we did they first became our own.

January 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm
(56) Anna says:

IMy son will be afresh an next fall at oprfhs. The last two years have been a downward spiral where he has gone from A student to failing some classes, and he has already missed 30 days of school this year. I feel sad this should be an exciting year for him, however it’s been a huge struggle. He was diagnosed with ADD last year, tried Vyvanse, didn’t like how it made him feel so he went off of it. Tomorrow we have an appointment at a psychiatrist to get him medsfor anxiety and depression
We are ambivalent about medsfor but are at tH end of our rope. He can’t focus, barely sees friends, blows off homework, stays up late, sleeps late, always has a stomach ache or headache, says school/teachers stress him out etc. His therapist concurs that he is depressed and has anxiety. Anyone have success ith their child and these med?

January 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm
(57) Beth says:

Give the anti-anxiety and depression meds a try. It takes quite a while to get the right combination of meds sometimes so the sooner you get going with it, the sooner he will feel better. Be prepared – it may take awhile. My daughter has been struggling with depression and anxiety since 8th grade and was out on home tutoring all of 9th grade, went to an alternative school for 10th and just this year is getting back to the high school (she has major medical issues as well, which keeps her out of school too). The past few years have been a struggle for her. The depression would get under control and then the anxiety would get worse and vice versa. Be patient.

January 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm
(58) Molly says:

Help. Many of your comments I can relate to with my daughter who has severe anxiety and depression. However I don’t think it is school or social relates. Although I just worked with school to take half of her classes outside of school. She says being there all day is overwhelming. I feel like the doctors don’t get it. Almost daily she goes into a very depressed state that is so hopeless it is scary. She cries and I rock her. Sometimes it is 45 mins. Others hours. Why does this happen ?

January 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm
(59) Molly says:

Help. Many of your comments I can relate to with my daughter who has severe anxiety and depression. However I don’t think it is school or social relates. Although I just worked with school to take half of her classes outside of school. She says being there all day is overwhelming. I feel like the doctors don’t get it. Almost daily she goes into a very depressed state that is so hopeless it is scary. She cries and I rock her. Sometimes it is 45 mins. Others hours. Why does this happen ?

She is 15 and on lots of meds. I am a single mom and her dad is an alcoholic and verbelly abusive. She won’t see him and that is killing her. He has no idea that her feelings about him are a lot of her problems.

January 30, 2013 at 6:46 am
(60) Beth says:

Hi, Molly. Does she see a therapist and/or take any meds?

January 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm
(61) Molly says:

Yes. She has been in therapy for 3 years. Meds started about 8 months ago. Had to add ablify to Prozac now we are on depokote. So hard to find right combo. She seems worse for depression but hasn’t had a panic attack for 3 days. That is a longtime for us. I just want to know what she has so we can treat it. Has anyone had these intense severe episodes where the child is crying uncontrable without hope? They are different than when she has a panic attack. This has taken over our lives I think I know the causes. But how do I get her back on track ?…

January 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm
(62) Molly says:

Yes. She has been in therapy for 3 years. Meds started about 8 months ago. Had to add ablify to Prozac now we are on depokote. So hard to find right combo. She seems worse for depression but hasn’t had a panic attack for 3 days. That is a longtime for us. I just want to know what she has so we can treat it. Has anyone had these intense severe episodes where the child is crying uncontrable without hope? They are different than when she has a panic attack. This has taken over our lives I think I know the causes. But how do I get her back on track ?…

January 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm
(63) Molly says:

Yes. She has been in therapy for 3 years. Meds started about 8 months ago. Had to add ablify to Prozac now we are on depokote. So hard to find right combo. She seems worse for depression but hasn’t had a panic attack for 3 days. That is a longtime for us. I just want to know what she has so we can treat it. Has anyone had these intense severe episodes where the child is crying uncontrable without hope? They are different than when she has a panic attack. This has taken over our lives I think I know the causes. But how do I get her back on track ?…she used to be in dance. And voice. All a in school. Now she can’t handle a full day at school. I never know what I am going to get with her when she comes home

January 31, 2013 at 10:08 am
(64) Beth says:

How awful. The only thing I can think of is asking the therapist to adjust the depression meds since it is so serious. Or has she ever had any inpatient treatment? Is her therapist easy to work with?

January 31, 2013 at 5:26 pm
(65) Beth says:

Maybe home tutoring can help if school is contributing to her anxiety. The psychologists say that anxious kids shouldn’t go on home tutoring but maybe she needs time to get better and learn how to handle her anxiety and depression before she can deal with school. There definitely is no quick and easy solution. Hang in there.

February 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm
(66) Kelly says:

My son is in high school and going through the same issues with anxiety and depression. We take him to school every day but he won’t go in. I am worried as to what will happen. I can’t seem to find anyone who will listen and get on board to help me get a home tutor. He just started Zoloft and I am hoping this helps him get some courage to get back to school. He has been in counselling for the last several months. What do you do when you have a good kid, who just wont go into school and do the work required or the make up work? What will happen to him? You can’t just let him sit home?

February 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm
(67) Beth says:

Hi, Kelly. I am going through this also with my daughter (again). School makes her physically ill. When my daughter wouldn’t attend school due to her anxiety I talked to the school about getting her in smaller classes (her high school has over 2000 students) but they didn’t have anything. She had psych evaluations done by the school and an outside psychiatrist that said she needed a smaller setting, but the only smaller setting classes were for students with discipline problems. Her primary doctor ended up writing a note saying that she had to be out of school until the school came up with a smaller setting for her – this ended up being the rest of the school year (6 months). The next year she ended up in the discipline class, which at least got her to school, but it was a bad match for her and she refused to go back so now she is trying to go back to the high school, but failing. I wonder about a partial hospital program where intensive therapy takes place? Is there a chance your son was bullied? My daughter was bullied in grade school and she will not ever forget it and still holds a grudge against those students to this day. I really think that played a major part in all this anxiety.

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