Going to be another battle in the morning



difficult child is already working on it. Her head hurts, her throat hurts and she doesn't feel good. She tried hard to work up a fever, but didn't make it. She won't take any tylenol which tells me her head doesn't really hurt. She ate earlier so I know her stomach is fine. She didn't start to feel bad until it was time for bed. She pulls this every night before school. Yes, I know with her anxiety she does have these symptoms. But she's also gotten good at milking it.

We had a great weekend and now I'm dreading morning. Only 6 more days of school. I can do this. Wish me luck, strength and patience, please. I'm going to need it. :faint:


Active Member
Good luck and many HUGS!! Is there any little reward you can bribe her with if she does ok tomorrow? Like, gee, I'm sorry you feel this way- I had hpoed this --- for later if we could get through this. When that doesn't work for my difficult child, I just go with the flow as best I can. Good luck and wishing you a good day tomorrow!!!


Is it school phobia? I have an extremely gifted niece, who is now 27 and has made an excellent life after college for herself. however as a middle school / high school student she was physically sick every day. Principal actually came to the house to get her. I spoke with her about my difficult child / teachers / school. She told me that she struggled with all the sickness and pain but just realized one day that she is better than they are (administration) and she was going to do something great with her education. I tried running that by difficult child, no success. But she also said that relaxation such as yoga, massage's, music helped her anxiety. Being pushed and told she isn't sick, when she really was, made it worse. My difficult child hasn't pulled that yet. He actually goes to school with no problem, it is once he walks in the doors the problems begin. Recently within the first 30 minutes. Looking forward to the summer break.
When difficult child says he isn't feeling well, I have him take advil and tell him if he really isn't feeling well to call me. Then when he calls, I ask him if he can make it just one more class, he usually agrees. I have also asked school not to call unless he is throwing up, or looks bad. difficult child is not aware of that.
Good Luck. I really do believe many of our difficult child's have some type of school phobia due to so much anxiety. I do believe they really are feeling sick and that builds more to their anxiety, wondering what will happen if they feel bad at school. many of the administration level do not believe them. I believe they are just really afraid of what might happen.
I found a place recommended by therapist, called Wisconsin Center for Myofacial Release. It is covered by insurance, and it basically is a one hour massage that is paid for by insurance. difficult child loves it, and helps him relax. i like it myself too.
Maybe they have a place that does Myofacial release in your area. Hope she feels better.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

Have the same antics going on here with kt. Have to say that she was sleeping by 9:30 though.

Hope difficult child settles & heads out the door peacefully this morning.


Active Member
We had this with difficult child 3, only he DID manage to produce a fever as well as vomiting. That's when I brought in the rule - "school work during school hours". So if he stayed home, I made him do schoolwork even if he said he was sick. The only way out of actually working, was to be asleep in bed. Since difficult child 3 rarely sleeps unless he really IS sick, this was fairly safe. It also meant that I let him work in bed, in his bedroom, with his schoolwork on a tray. I didn't care, as long as the work got done.

This does sound like school phobia, though. It's hard to know what to do - it does vary from child to child, often depending on what the underlying problem is. And Kjs is right, you do need to accept that the child feels ghastly. But as you said, if she refuses Tylenol when she says she has a headache, then you have to ask - why does she want to keep the headache?

I'd be telling her to take the Tylenol, or you will have to think that maybe there is no headache - then send her to school with some dark glasses handy.

Or you can do what we did - let her stay home, providing she works. Then get worksheets from the school. Loads of them. No games, no playing, nothing other than schoolwork, until school hours are over. I DID allow educational DVDs, though, if they were relevant to set schoolwork. This kept up difficult child 3's access to learning and the work ethic, it really helped later on when we made the shift to home schooling.



She does have school phobia. Severe. When she is just anxious, we use relaxation techniques and it helps immensely. However, she goes into full blown panic almost every morning and we've (therapist and I) been struggling to get difficult child into thinking mode when she's in panic mode. Some days she manages to get into thinking mode. Most days she doesn't. I feel like I'm walking her to the guillotine when I drive her to school on those days.

I have an IEP meeting today. The SD thinks that despite the immense amount of school that difficult child has missed (I'm too embarrassed to say the number), since she appears ok once she gets there then there is nothing to address. They've failed to track the number of times that difficult child has gone to the office because she's not feeling well, but from what I get from difficult child it's almost daily. I imagine that is because those are the times she's supposed to be going to the resource room and using her relaxation CD. We have an IEP meeting today.

To be honest, when I wasn't feeling well (the 6 months prior to the heart attack were bad for me health wise) I didn't have the stamina to do this with her every morning. So, she has also gotten the mindset that if she battles hard enough she won't have to go. It's taking her some time to figure out that it doesn't work that way anymore. However, that doesn't negate the underlying cause which is her anxiety and panic.

We haven't started CBT yet, because first difficult child has to be able to recognize when she's anxious or having a panic attack and to date she is unable to do that. Whether it's lack of insight or stubbornness, I don't know. Probably a little of both.

Her therapy has been on hold for the last 2 months because of my health and lack of finances since I wasn't working. And, the school phobia pales in comparison to the downward spiral she was on prior to March. She will be resuming therapy in June. I'm hoping that since she is no longer in that downward spiral that she can make more progress in therapy. She was getting nowhere fast before.


Active Member
Heather, don't be too embarrassed to tell US how many days she's missed. You said, "The SD thinks that despite the immense amount of school that difficult child has missed (I'm too embarrassed to say the number)..."

difficult child 3 began missing a lot of school when he was 8. Each year he was worse, especially towards the end of each school year, and by the time he was 10 he literally missed about half the school year - over 100 days. It could have been as many as 150. And that's school days, ie five per week of school term, but spread out over the school year. Added to this, he was nauseous at school and getting sent to the sick room until they decided that he was bunging it on and refused to let him leave the classroom. That's when difficult child 3 began throwing up, often several times day, at school. At first vomiting got him sent to the sick room, where he immediately began to feel better. Then even his aide was saying that he was TRYING to vomit, as if to prove a point. I wasn't so sure, although I recognise that their continued disbelief coupled with his rapidly increasing anxiety could have looked like it.

What really clinched it for me was one day towards the end of summer holidays, a week before the new school year, when he suddenly said, "If any kids bully me this year, I'll just walk away." I congratulated him on a good strategy and the subject was dropped. Half an hour later, he had severe nausea.

School phobia can be so crippling that they simply can't learn in that environment.



New Member
My easy child child does the same thing. He never wants to go to school. It is much harder to deal with when it is the difficult child child of course. My difficult child used to keep the bus outside for quite some time while I fought with her to go to school. Now that she is in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) the staff there get to have that pleasure. :smile:

6 more days!!! You can do it!!!! I'll be thinking of you in the mornings.


Marg - thank you for your response. I feel like a horrible mother because of the amount of school difficult child has missed due to her anxiety and panic and your response shows me that I'm not - because I *know* you're a good mom. My difficult child's school phobia started in the 2nd grade - 7 years old - and has gotten progressively worse every year. We had zero support in place at the school until this year, so it's really not surprising that it's gotten so bad. When this started with difficult child, I was very uninformed about Special Education and didn't even know what an IEP was. The teachers just kept telling me that she was fine when she got there (even when I had evidence that she wasn't), so no support was ever given. I've learned A LOT from you guys. I thank God for this board everyday.

difficult child did manage to work up a fever this morning. She gets a gold star! (tic - tongue in cheek) I knew before I woke her up that she had one because her cheeks were rosy. So today's absence made 80. :smile: Linda - do you see now why I couldn't understand the reaction to ktbug's absences - especially with her hx and diagnosis's?

The IEP meeting was productive. It's probably not as strong as some would like, but I'm happy with it. I thought long and hard about how I wanted it set up and I really think with the proper support, difficult child can do this. I stressed schoolwork during school hours, so no homework unless difficult child wants to. However, if it leads to meltdown, it will stop. They have an Academic Assist period (basically a study hall with teacher support) everyday that is 45 minutes, so difficult child should be able to complete most of her homework during that time. I explained that a lot of days my only concern is that difficult child makes it into the building. Beyond that, I don't care if she accomplishes a single thing. The SD was in agreement. Basically, we were all in agreement that our first priority is getting difficult child to school. Once difficult child can manage that well, then we will start to focus more on the academics. The supports will be in place so if she is feeling anxious or overwhelmed it will be recognized and addressed as needed. She will be in a small setting math class as that is the one class she struggles most with. The complex problems - she can do them, it just takes her longer to catch on. The speech is in place and the speech therapist is actually moving to the junior high next year, so difficult child won't have to have yet another new person working with her. The guidance counselor gets groups of girls together that have been identified by teachers as needing extra support with social skills and difficult child is now on that list. She's too advanced for the Special Education social skills class, but she does need some support and guidance in that area. I also have a call into the guidance counselor at the junior high and will be setting up a meeting with her new teachers. I also want to set up a meeting for difficult child to meet her new teachers, preferably a day or two before school starts so it will be fresh in her mind.

We will be working hard this summer in therapy in order for difficult child to be able to self support. Currently, it requires my intervention when I see her anxiety kicking up. difficult child needs to learn to incorporate the skills on her own - once she learns to recognize her anxiety - as I can't always be there with her. School is her biggest trigger and keeps her anxiety heightened, so I'm hopeful that we will be able to accomplish a lot with that out of the way for the summer.

There is still the possibility of doing the online school. However, with difficult child's level of anxiety we worry about agoraphobia, so that really is a last resort. We're just going to take it as it comes.

Thank you ladies! As always, I greatly appreciate your support.

by the way, my 6th grade difficult child has the reading comprehension of a 9th grader!!! (A little brag thrown in. tee hee hee) :princess:


Heather, with the presence of fever, I wouldn't discount the possibility of a real illness. That's frequently the only way I can differentiate between true and anxiety-driven symptoms.

Congrats on the IEP. Sounds as if you made a lot of progress.


smallworld - you're right. She was exposed to a virus (24 hour thing), so that is a possibility. It's just so hard to tell with her. She has worked up a fever before with her anxiety. When I was severely depressed, I ran a low grade fever most of the time. In either case, a fever means you get to stay home.

I wanted to add that when I was in the 9th grade, I lived with my grandparents for 6 months. I vomited every morning before school. My grandmother drove me to school because of it. Sometimes, I think that because I experienced it myself it makes it harder for me to make her go because I *know* how hard it is. At the same time, I *know* that she has to learn to manage this or life will only get harder. Noone ever said that being a mom would be so heart-wrenching.