Never in a million years would I have thought my carefree and fun Ella would have anxiety. I, myself, have dealth with it since I was in my early 20’s- although I’m pretty sure I’ve had it my whole life. Looking back I remember riding the bus all the way to school, only to call my mom and beg her to pick me up because I felt sick to my stomach. Over the years I’ve managed it and rarely does it get the best of me now, but when my sweet girl started to complain about headaches and stomach aches, my heart broke.
Anxiety is such a common thing, even with children although if you have never experienced it- it’s hard to understand. Common questions from people are “what’s bugging you?” or “can you just try to relax?” If it were only that simple. My anxiety will come at the strangest times, and it’s normally when there is absolutely nothing going on in my life to make me feel that way. It’s crazy how fast it can attack you and sometimes even paralyze you.
Well after a few weeks of doctor appointments, messages from teachers and missed days, we determined that this was exactly what was going on with Ella. So how to tackle the problem with an 8 year old who has no idea what’s happening and is experiencing physical symptoms? Good question. Luckily I have some pretty smart mom friends who were able to help me. The first thing we did was create her “emergency kit” to take to school in case she didn’t feel good. It contained mints, cough drops and bandaids. We also made sure to pack extra snacks- including plain ole saltine crackers for her upset stomach. This seemed to help along with a fantastic book recommended by a friend of mine. It’s great at helping kids understand what anxiety is and why it’s happening to them. You can check it out here.
Within a couple of weeks we saw a real difference. No more calls from school and no more dr appointments. We keep our lines of communication open with her and make sure she knows she can talk to us about anything. It makes me sad that she probably inherited this from me but I’m glad we have addressed it so she knows how to handle it in the future.