difficult child's symptoms. If it's not anxiety then what is it?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Californiablonde, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    So difficult child 1 is still complaining of stomach aches every time she wakes up in the morning. She has already missed many days of school because of this. She has missed so many days that the school is going to require doctor's notes every time she is absent. I don't know what is wrong with her. She wanted to skip school again this morning because she said she felt like throwing up. She couldn't even take her morning medications because she was too nauseous. I reminded her that she can't miss any more school unless it's for a doctor appointment. I coaxed her into going to school today by telling her that if she still felt ill, she could always go to the nurse's office. So at about 9:00 this morning the nurse called me. She stated that difficult child was complaining of a stomach ache, but she didn't have a fever. She also said that difficult child complained of having a hard time breathing. The nurse checked her heart rate and it was normal. difficult child stayed in the office for awhile till her breathing returned to normal. She then returned to class.

    On and off difficult child has been complaining of labored breath plus this nausea. To me this sounds like classic anxiety symptoms. I should know. I have anxiety attacks all the time and when I get them I feel sick to my stomach and can't eat anything. difficult child also can't eat when she gets these symptoms. I have asked difficult child time and time again if she is experiencing any anxiety. She denies it every single time. She has also told the school psychiatric, psychiatrist, and her therapist that she's not experiencing any anxiety at all whatsoever. Is she just not being honest to any of us? Or could it be something else entirely? I took her to the doctor a few months ago and he couldn't find anything wrong with her physically. If it really is anxiety, how do I help her with it when she won't admit it?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    What "else" could it be?
    Well... K2 (my barely-difficult child) gets migraines. The mild ones can produce nausea as the biggest symptom - more so than headache. The major ones have both. Have you ever tried ginger-based "travelers candy"? It's used for motion sickness. Also seems to have some impact on migraines. Would she consider trying some? We get ours at a heath food store.

    If it's happening consistently rather than intermittently... what is she eating for breakfast? Is she developing gluten intolerance, or casein, or lactose, or...??? Is the nausea there on non-school days?
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Nope that's the thing. There is no nausea on non-school days. She is just fine on weekends. That is what is making me think that it's anxiety, especially since she did have a problem with a couple of bullies a few weeks ago. She says the two boys are no longer making fun of her. I have no idea what else could cause her to be anxious, if that's what it is.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sounds like my anxiety attacks too!
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Sounds like anxiety even if she can't express it verbally as such.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Or is she copying you? Kids are very perceptive and can pick up on anything that is going on with us. Might want to try her on fish oil as omega 3's and vitamind D3 because both of those are very good for everyone but especially those with mental health issues.
  7. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Definitely sounds like anxiety, despite her insistence that it isn't. I would follow protocol for treating anxiety and the stressors causing the anxiety.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Don't call it anxiety - obviously, her definition isn't the same as yours or ours...
    She's... stressed out? What other terms might fit?
  9. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well she refused to go to school today. She wants to go to the doctor and find out what's wrong with her. I can't take time off work to take her. I am going to see if my mom can take her. Her regular doctor is on vacation till the 20th. She will have to see someone else. We are at the point now where the school won't exuse her unless she has a doctor's note. I don't know what to do with her anymore. If her dad finds out she's been missing so much school he could use it against me in court. The school wants to maybe have a meeting with all of us regarding her attendance. Maybe that's what it will take to make her want to go. I honestly don't think her symptoms are bad enough for her to skip school. I don't know how to make her go when she doesn't want to. Next step the school could do is send us to truancy court. I really pray it doesn't get to that point.
  10. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I have a rule in my house that I had to institute. If there is no fever, vomit, or visible symptom then they go to school. If they wind up at the school nurse then fine. I also made sure the school nurse knew that unless they had a fever, vomitted in her presence, or had other visible symptoms I would not come get them. It sounds harsh but the truth is that I wasn't helping them by allowing them to continually miss school so that they didnt have to deal with their issues. Granted they didnt have severe anxiety or anything like that but they learned quickly they could control my actions by saying they were sick. I had to break that cycle before I wound up out of a job or in court.
  11. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    It's hard when she's fourteen and bigger and stronger than me. I can't pick her up and throw her in the car. I too have a policy that is no fever, no vomiting, they have to go to school. But now she is refusing to go. The more and more I argue with her, the later I am for work. And I need to be on time. I need my job. I am a single parent and have no way to support them. I have no idea how to get her to go to school. The school says they want to put her on an attendance contract. That's just fine with me. If that's what it takes to get her to school, so be it.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Until someone can get to the bottom of "why", this will not be an easy fix.
    There is a reason.
    I really doubt it is physical... it will be more on the lines of social/emotional. But those are real problems too.

    In an ideal world, you get to the bottom of school refusal before it gets entrenched. Not always easy, maybe even "not always possible". But it IS much harder to turn them around once they get into refusal mode.
  13. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I think part of the problem is that she still has no friends. She is in a brand new school in a completely different school district so she left all of her former friends behind her at another high school. She swears up and down to me that she doesn't care about having friends at school. She goes to the boys and girl's club after school and she has several friends there. She says those friends are good enough for her. How can she really be okay with not having a single friend at school? She eats lunch alone. She has nobody to talk to. How can she be fine with that? I remember when I was a junior in high school and my best friend moved out of state. I didn't have any friends for several months. I ate lunch outside by myself. It was the worst feeling for me. I felt so awkward, until my new best friend befriended me and I gained a whole new circle of friends. I felt so much better after that. I can hardly believe that my daughter is okay with having no school friends. This is one of the reasons why I wanted her mainstreamed into a developemental reading class. Right now she's in ED classes with all boys. The boys aren't very friendly either. In the dev. reading class I'm trying to get her into, there's nine girls in the class. I think she would have a better opportunity to make friends in that class, but the teacher doesn't want her in there. I have no idea what else to do for her. She has a therapist she sees regularly, plus the school psychologist. They can't figure her out either. We are all at a loss at how to help her.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    CB... you need to get her therapist and psychiatrist on your page... and down the school's throat.

    Her current educational placement is totally inappropriate, and is causing significant mental health issues.
    That is to say, SCHOOL is either creating mental health problems for this student, or is handling this student in ways that significantly exacerbate her symptoms. School is making her sick. And she isn't stupid. She intuitively knows that, even if it doesn't come out that way.

    (and yes, I have actually seen school's treatment of a student CREATE serious mental health issues where there were none before... AND, when the school issues were resolved, the mental health issues also went away)
  15. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I really think the school is causing her symptoms. My mom just texted me. She is going to take difficult child to the doctor today just to rule out anything physical, so the school can at least have documentation that we have actually taken her there. My mom also brought up to me that difficult child isn't thriving in her current placement. She was mainstreamed in several classes in middle school and did just fine. As a matter of fact, she was even better behaved in her mainstreamed classes than she was in the ED ones. Being around those mentally disabled kids gave her the go ahead to act out more in class, because that's what she saw the other students doing so she thought it was okay. In the regular classes, she held herself together quite well, because she was too embarrased to act out in front of the "regular kids." A couple of her teachers and her case carrier says she will be a failure in mainstreamed classes, even knowing her previous history. How can they make such a blanket statement as that without even trying her out in mainstreamed in the first place? So far I'm really not liking this new school.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You need a really good advocate.
    There is no way they can claim that this is least-restrictive-placement, given her history.
  17. CB - I think you are definitely on the right track with her symptoms. Your difficult child may not be able to identify the feelings of anxiety as causing the physical problems. At this age she may lack the self awareness to put those things together. Heck, many adults lack it too.

    I like Insane's idea of getting a really good advocate for your difficult child. It does not sound like that class of all boys is doing her any good at all, especially if these boys have bullied her. The social interaction and peer group acceptance is very important at that age. Despite what your difficult child says I agree with you - she must feel alienated and lonely with no friends at school - all day every day is a long time to feel isolated.
  18. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i wouldnt necessarily assume that just because it happens on school days and not weekends that it means anxiety.

    mine had some similar symptoms (not a stomach ache, but more in her throat, and she threw up almost every morning) and it turned out to be massive allergies.

    but we battled the anxiety issue for too long with professionals because "it only happened on school days".

    the difference was that school days start very early, pills have to be taken very early, breakfast happens very early, etc.

    on a weekend she could "wait it out". she didnt have to do all that at the crack of dawn, and once she was upright things drained out of her throat so as long as she waited, she was ok. she listened to her own body.

    i never once doubted she had a physical problem and not a psychological one (well, she has those too--it just wasnt THIS one!)....and frankly, its a terrible feeling to have someone not believe you. i'd personally rule out every single medical reason i could before assuming it was anxiety, unless you have some real reason to believe thats all it is. even then, ruling stuff out can go a long way to HER understanding of her own anxiety symptoms.

    it cant hurt to have a checkup to even ease her mind.
  19. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well she's at the doctors now so we'll see if he uncovers anything.
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well the doctor says she has a bacterial infection in her stomach. She gave her antibiotics for it plus some pills for her nausea. She also ordered bloodwork and an ultrasound. We got a doctor's note to give to the school. I sent difficult child to school today, even though she really didn't want to go. I gave her a nausea pill first thing in the morning and had her eat some crackers. Hopefully I won't get a call from the school nurse today. So it looks like she does have a legitimate complaint for now. This doesn't account for all the other times she missed school, however. I still say there's an anxiety component to it, even if she won't admit it. I'm just thankful I was able to talk her into going to school today, nausea and all.