Parenting Children (6-12) Community
I dont recognise my 8 year old daughter
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I dont recognise my 8 year old daughter

Around a month ago my 8 year old daughter (a triplet) started worrying about little things a lot more, firstly about dates on food packets and this later developed into a fear of germs and catching illnesses (these now seem to have passed).

She became very sad the majority of the time and has now got what i can only describe as severe Separation Anxiety. She is only ever calm when I am with her and even then she is not herself, she often becomes 'down'. When i am at work and she is left with her dad or nan she cries the whole time.

At the moment we cannot get he to school at all. It started with her being tearful and crying when being taken to school but now she completely breaks down screaming, sobbing, unable to breathe properly when we even try to get her ready for school, she literally collapses on the floor when we get her there. She has now been out of school for the past week and although she has improved things are still not right so i know school is not the only issue.

We have seen a therapist who recommended we took the pressure of school out of the equation for the moment and make sure she was continuing her school work at home. However we are getting conflicting advice from school.

We are so worried about her as she has changed so much over these last weeks, she doesnt interact with friends or even her sisters. She never plays and she doesnt want to be with her grandparents (or anyone for that matter) who she was extremely close to and doesnt like to be in any large group of people. She doesnt even like to eat anything if i am not there.

Until the past couple of nights she would not sleep alone, i had to stay with her until she fell asleep or she became so distressed.

We have consulted the school, our doctor, school nurse and have seen a therapist. None have really given us any answers or specific advice. The school and nurse simply say we need to be firmer. We have tried this, and believe me she has always been brought up with firm boundaries, but she simply becomes hysterical. When we forced her to school last week and left her there she sobbed the whole day in the classroom. When she has the attacks i hear pure terror in her voice. It is breaking our hearts and affecting the whole family and we dont know where to turn. If it only happened with school i'd know the problem was there but its not, its the whole time.

She constantly complains of stomach pains and she has excessive wind at the moment. She is also tired alot during the day which is totally unlike her.

I work within an Adults Mental Health team and my experiences cause me to believe she is suffering from depression although the Therapist, who i know is the professional here, says he doesnt think so as she can cheer up for brief moments.

I am at a complete loss and do not know how to help her.

Kristy
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I agree with you - I feel your daughter suffers from depression and severe anxiety (whether it is separation anxiety or not is redundant).  Our child was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression at six years of age by a child psychiatrist.  Her treatment was/is multi-modal and consisted of intervention, therapy and medication (and it is still on-going eight years later).  I really feel you need to find a medical specialist with experience in working with children with mental health issues (your family doctor should be able to give you a referral) - the school, your family doctor, school nurse and therapist are just not "educated" sufficiently to handle these more difficult issues.  I wish you the best ....
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I wish I could help you with your daughter but I am not an expert so I am not qualified to tell you how to handle this. I do see both OCD and depression/anxiety issues with your daughter from your post and with proper treatment I think you will see a difference.

However, I would like to comment about " We have seen a therapist who recommended we took the pressure of school out of the equation for the moment and make sure she was continuing her school work at home. However we are getting conflicting advice from school."  Schools have a tendency to look after their own behinds instead of the kids well being. Schools get paid for everyday your child attends so they are never going to agree to take your child out of school. If she is feeling this high of anxiety from school then home school her until you can figure out the best way to help your daughter.

Good luck and please keep us informed.
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