1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class.
So here I am, after a 4 month hiatus…I’ll be honest, I don’t think this blogging lark is for me. I love reading amazing posts and interacting with like minded people via social media but I just can’t get into “it” whatever it may be.
So the purpose of this post today isn’t to promote anything, or tell you about my latest purchase. It’s more of a diary entry, or maybe even its me, reaching out for support during a really shitty time.
As I’ve mentioned before my eldest who’s almost 11 was knocked over by a car 3 years ago, since then he’s struggled with anxiety as a result of the Post traumatic stress disorder. He’s had some therapy through our amazing NHS and their CAHMS which he initially responded well to. We are a very open family and believed that together we were beating the anxiety gremlin. But always in the back of my mind, I’ve known that he wasn’t 100%. You can’t cure an anxiety disorder, you can learn to control it but I know it will never just disappear. I’m also becoming more aware of triggers which cause it to rear it’s ugly head.
Little signs started popping up again recently, asking to sleep in my bed, complaints of sore neck/chest/tummy, panic attacks have increased again along with unrealistic/catastrophic thoughts about things happening to him or us. When I’m holding him at night as he shakes and cries uncontrollably, telling me he can’t breathe or he’s worried he’s got cancer I just want to take it all away from him. I want the world to stop for one second, just long enough so I can tell him everything’s going to be ok. He’s safe and loved. These things of course he knows, in his rational mind. But bedtime sets in and so does the worry.
My gorgeous boy is smart, popular, sporty and caring. He has many friends and family surrounding him, he is a member of teams and clubs and has endless hobbies…on the outside he’s a happy boy with not a care in the world. But on the inside I know it’s crippling him slowly. It’s crippling me watching him suffer at night. I would sit up all night to watch him sleep, knowing he’s dreaming happy thoughts and not wondering if the bunk bed is going to collapse on top of him. (Yes, that’s a real worry of his). My precious boy has such an important year coming up, approaching secondary school transfers. I know only too well how important it is that he is settled and calm and ready for new challenges. But with him, it only take one small trigger…a school trip, a change in routine or an injury/accident at school. Now he is older he has become very good at telling me or his dad when he feels himself slipping into a state of panic. We have taught him calming techniques which he applies himself. He also knows saying his worries out loud helps him hear himself and deal with them. Other methods include positive affirmations, we find @theyesmummum mini pack particularly useful. We are also currently working through a CBT workbook called “starving the anxiety gremlin”
But it’s a long road ahead. Children’s mental health is so important, and can be overlooked. Those who suffer as children are far more likely to go on to be adults with mental health issues.
We are facing this and dealing with it now, reminding him how strong he is. All in the hope of preparing him for the turbulent teenage years and being there to praise him through every up and hold his hand during every down.