Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    After reading several threads here, I'm thinking that anxiety is one of my son's issues. Not only does he not transition well, but he gets upset about things that we adults are supposed to be in charge of. He follows me around and questions me relentlessly.
    I usually just answer his questions, but on occasion, they're so far from what he should be concerned about at that age that I tell him "That's what moms and dads are for. Let us worry about it. If you ask me one more time you will lose your computer privileges." (Hey, I know what works! ;))
    It's usually someplace where we've never been or something we've never done. It's common when he gets invited to birthday parties and he isn't familiar with-the location. He will immediately insist he hates it and doesn't want to go. It's pretty amusing that he can hate something when he doesn't even know what it is!
    Then we'll get there and he'll LOVE it.

    When we took him to the B&B b4 camp last mo., he was okay with-it when I explained he'd slept at one b4, it's a house that's been split into separate rooms and baths, and that we ea got our own TVs. I told him we eat with-strangers in the a.m. and that the food is homemade and there were be fewer than 15 people.
    He was fine with-it.
    He was very anxious about camp but I can understand that. Still, he ruined it for himself by refusing to acknowledge that he was even going, so I had to pick out an air mattress, tshirts, and a headlamp with-o him, which I know he would have enjoyed. He loves to shop and buy things.

    He's sometimes what I would consider a "worry-wort" and it didn't occur to me until just recently that it could be bona fide anxiety, which could be part of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or mild autism. I know, I know, I've been looking at Asperger's for a cpl yrs now and that one neuropsychologist dr said no, but I'm thinking this is too much of a coincidence.

    How do you draw the line between a worry-wort and true anxiety? Can you give me some examples?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't know myself- I brought up things that I thought were anxiety, and the school thought were signs of anxiety, to two psychiatrists. Both said it was not anxiety, but stress related. I tend to think, after hearing that, that maybe my layman's definition of anxiety is different than a psychiatrist's diagnosis criteria. When they said "stress-related" it let me know that they acknowledged he was showing signs of something- I just thought all of it was categorized as anxiety.

    Have you read/tried The Explosive Child?
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I was a worry wort growing up - never worried about myself, always about my sisters. My worrying was also short term to one situation. Will R get home safe from her newspaper route? Usually always about my sister's safety which was totally ridiculous because we lived in a very safe place. It was my imagination running away with me. Could be because it was very difficult to reach our parents during the day and being the oldest, I probably just took on that mother hen duty.

    Anxiety I view as deeper more personal. More on a "How will I survive this?" which I believe is different than, "What will happen?" My difficult child is the same age as yours. Last Summer when things got rolling down hill, he admitted to feeling afraid of how he was going to pass college classes and get a job when he was older; that he needed to have a job to support a family. I told him that it would be years down the line and before he needed that job, he would have learned what he needed to learn to take on that responsibility. He was really afraid he would not be able to SURVIVE.

    My difficult child's anxiety's usually rears its head around health. He gets an injury and really believes he is going to die. "difficult child, when you get cut, you bleed. Happens to lots of people. Just stop the bleeding and you will be just fine."

    Worry leads to the unknown but not necessarily the inability to face it. I am afraid my sisters will get hurt but if they do, I know they will get the help they need and all will be fine - I just don't want them hurt.

    Anxiety is about survival - how can I survive this? I just know I will die in a car crash in a storm. I just know I will die when I get sick. I can not handle this.

    I would ask you difficult child's doctor to evaluation him for anxiety if something sounds like it would fit.

    I do think that when you do not trust the person in authority to keep you safe, there may be some anxiety. "difficult child, let me worry about driving in a storm - that is my job and I will keep us safe. You need to trust that I am in control."

    Hope this helped? It is hard to distinguish.
  4. Calgon_Take_Me_Away

    Calgon_Take_Me_Away New Member

    I'm a worrier as well ~ never about me, but my big interest is my grandparents. If they told me they were going someplace but not home by the time they said, I called around looking for them. One time I did find them at the hospital. If one of them had to stay in the hospital, I worried about the other one being alone that night to the extent that I cried over the lonliness (like when gdma had diversticulitis sp? or gdpa with heat stroke). I had horrible nightmares about them all the time ~ so real like that I would call in the middle of the night to make sure it wasn't real and it was generally gdpa that died in the nightmares (but gdpa was my father figure so it made sense that the man I held so much respect for would be my fall).

    difficult child has a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) diagnosis which came after nail biting for 9 months regardless of anxiety medications, screaming with the wind blowing to the extent he didn't want to leave the house and would grab onto the nearest person for dear life. Life or death situation for him.

    Some of this may be on me ~ I overanalyze way too much. It's not enough to just read a question and answer it ~ it's a what if this happened or was a result of. I had a hard time with- criminology tests (one of my majors of my BA) because there are certain answers based on the facts surrounding it.
  5. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member has a long page on anxiety as the word is used in psychoanalysis, the medical dictionary and as it relates to the body. You may find it interesting.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    This is great! Thank you all so much!
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Terry, did your son have good pre-natal care? I see you adopted him. Are you sure the birthmother did not drink or use drugs? Kids exposed to bad prenatal care are far more likely to be on the autism spectrum, and his behavior sounds sooooooooo autistic. Minus the closet and the panties, he could be my son--Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are VERY high anxiety. It is NOT the same as anxiety disorder, like I have. It's part of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in which every little transition cause a great deal of angst.
    Did your son have any speech delays or delays of ANY kind? My son did, but he's caught up--he was diagnosed as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified because of his speech delay, but, to be honest, I think a lot of diagnosticians would give him Aspergers now. Either way, interventions are sooooooooooo helpful.

    You're being a really good mom by looking at all the options. Certainly nobody here can diagnose your son. But I think another neuropsychologist evaluation. would be great for your son. Take care :)
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you.
    I met the bmom when she was in labor. We had a mtng arranged by the adoption svc. She was in labor and ate a bunch of pasta. Teenagers! LOL!
    I cannot guarantee she didn't use drugs, although I highly doubt it, but she did not use alcohol and still does not. I know they had a regular prenatal checkup schedule. And I have the delivery dr and regular dr on the birth certif.
    The bio dad did use pot and still does. I don't know what else ... we haven't heard from him in yrs. But every psychiatric I've talked to told me that is not significant. They all want to know about the bmom.

    My son's delays were not terribly obvious. The one that stands out in my mind is that he didn't learn to tie his shoes until his was 7. I remember how many screaming meltdowns he had when I tried to teach him.
    He was also delayed in music. Weird. His kindergarten teacher asked me if I'd ever noticed that he doesn't sing or dance like the other kids; he just sits there.
    He loved it when I danced with-him as a baby. He would stay awake for hrs until I was exhausted and ran out of lullabyes, and ended up not dancing any more, but just swaying with-him and singing bawdy beer drinking songs, LOL.
    He had moments when he wouldn't talk at all, but it wasn't like a mo or yr; it seemed like it was arbitrary. He screamed and pointed at things instead of using words; I tried to withhold things until he'd say the word propoerly but unlike my easy child, instead of trying, he would scream more loudly.
    Everyone told me that was typical for a boy.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think the difference between the two (anxiety and worry) is just a matter of degrees.

    My oldest and youngest share your difficult child's habit of digging in and not wanting to do something or go somewhere that's unfamiliar. That fear of the unknown, I guess. And yes, they usually have a great time once they try it.

    When that fear gets in the way of daily functioning, that you can't talk them through, then it needs to be addressed in my opinion.

    Also, when you have this chronic low level of fear that's not pinned on anything specific, I think over time it can leave you more vulnerable to stress. husband was very much like this pre-medications. It would get expressed through irritability and explosive anger especially when he had a lot of stress in his life. It also fed his compulsive behavior which became an outlet for dealing with these unspoken feelings.

    Perhaps this merits a conversation with the psychiatrist?
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I've got a boatload of things to talk to him about.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I was thinking about the anxiety question today. My son has meltdowns when he needs to turn a project in at school but he doesn't think it's perfect- even if he's completed it, he will tear it up or refuse to take it. Sometimes, he refuses to complete them. The people on the IEP team first said it sound like he was a perfectionist. Then I said I didn't think so because he doesn't care about things being perfect if it's just the two of us that will see them. Then, we thought anxiety because after we talked more, it was clearer that he really worried about what the teachers and other kids would think, to a point that it interferes with normal functioning. The psychiatrists said they don't think it is anxiety.

    That makes me think maybe we should "peel back" another layer- maybe it does have something to do with his rejection issue from his father not being in his life. His individual counselor last year said that difficult child "suffers from EXTREME self-consciousness".

    I bring this up because you ask for examples and after thinking about it, maybe the psychiatrists were saying that they don't think the underlying problem is anxiety- maybe they understood that he's exhibiting anxious behavior, but that isn't the root of it.

    My son also has trouble talking to adults in public. For instance, if we're running a little late to an appointment and I pull up in front of the door and ask him to go in while I park the car, he cannot bring himself to do it. Late or not, he has to wait for me to come with him. This doesn't happen at school, but happens at ANY kind of office. And, I've asked him a couple of times to run in a store and buy a pack of salad or something (an item that he could easily find) while I wait out front in the car. He freezes and cannot do it- he begs me not to have to do it. He can go through the cashier line fine if I'm in front or behind him- he has no problem with getting an item, paying, or checking change. If I'm there near him.

    Then, there is the issue about his law-breaking- when he set the brush fire, a few kids that he had just met a couple of days before were with him a little earlier. They had just told him that they wanted him to go on his way, they had something else to do. My difficult child started this fire by dropping matches around his own feet about 15-20 mins later.

    Depression and anxiety issues run throughout my family, so I battle what to think about it with difficult child. I definitely think he has rejection issues. But, the point I wanted to make is that I have to remind myself that when I discuss things with tdocs and psychiatrists, I need to say specifically what difficult child has done and not that "I think it is anxiety" or whatever. Maybe they really are trying to peel back the layers....
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow. Every one of those issues except the fire sound exactly like my son.

    But come to think of it, the day he lit the matches, he was angry with-me, and agitated all day long, and maybe it was stimulation or soothing or whatever.

    They sound very similar. The going-up-to-the-door thing, tearing up homework ... wow.

    This is so hard to figure out.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It is complicated- it took me 2 years to get the school to acknowledge that it wasn't just a defiance/discipline problem. I'm going to talk to the "new" intern psychiatrist about this stuff, too.

    But, it gives me something to think about- I noticed your son is adopted and someone mentioned the possibility of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). My son isn't adopted and he's had a pretty secure life with me, albeit he had to go to day care since being a couple of mos old. But, the issue of his father never being in his life- moreso that difficult child knows now that his father CHOSE to never be in his life- really changed him. That was the BIG trigger. I'm not sure how much is chemical-related (as in - they need the medications to keep chemicals balanced in the brain) and how much is psychological, that cognitive therapy can help. In my son's case, he didn't exhibit erratic behavior until he learned these things but he was also at the age of puberty onset. (That isn't to imply that he was a saint before that- he just wasn't erratic).

    It seems to me that the biggest part of this battle is peeling back those layers and finding out the real problem(s). I'm not so sure that the solution (or treatment) is that difficult, if we're sure we found the correct "issue" to treat.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It seems to me that the biggest part of this battle is peeling back those layers and finding out the real problem(s). I'm not so sure that the solution (or treatment) is that difficult, if we're sure we found the correct "issue" to treat.

    I agree. That's the exact same conversation and vocab my husband and I used today!
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I should clarify- I wasn't suggesting that I think your son doesn't or hasn't had a secure life, but I do wonder how much a kid might be bothered by feeling like any bio parent chose not to be around. There is only so much those of us that are around can do about that, it seems.

    Also- when my son set the brush fire, he had just been "rejected" from school 3 days earlier- but he had also just had a low dose of prozac doubled, which can cause mania. That all just added to the question of whether or not it is chemical or psychological. It very well could be both in my son's case.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if you can have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) if you were placed at 2 days old. Maybe depression or anxiety about it, but not full-blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I'll ask the psychiatrist, who will probably go by the textbook defin.
  17. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Anxiety is a huge factor in our difficult child 1! Everything is fueled by it. Almost ALL of his meltdowns, confrontations, motivations, etc. are motivated by anxiety and fear. He's very slowly out growing it, but this kid has had 2 anole lizards for almost a year and 3 days ago was willing to open 1 side of the terrarium to spray water on the plant for them to get a drink.

    He was very proud that when one of the lizards turned it's head he didn't "run screaming into the night"!

  18. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm with gcvmom. I'm a worry-wart, too, but it doesn't interfere with daily functioning. Anxiety does. That is how I define the difference.

    For people that are anxious, it does help to know as many details as possible beforehand otherwise the anxiety will become overwhelming and they'll focus on the unknown or what bad things could happen. With my daughter, when we're going somewhere knew I've often made a practice run. For example, when she moved into middle school we visited the school when it was quiet (i.e., not orientation) after we had her schedule so she would know when she gets off the bus this is the path she takes and this is where she'll end up.

    We did the same thing with the new neighborhood. Our street is a big loop. If you stay on the sidewalk, you'll end up back at the house. But, I had to show her that several times.

    Just a couple of examples. My difficult child is also diagnosis'd with panic disorder, but since we've been homeschooling she's only had a couple of very mild panic attacks - as opposed to the daily full-blown panic attacks.
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Terry- I wasn't suggesting Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) for your son- it was just that it made me wonder about some other things (regarding my son). I wouldn't have the first clue about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)!!