All posts tagged anxiety

I hate being THAT mom!

Published December 4, 2014 by thefamilyof5

I hate being the mom that struggles to find something positive to say, but its getting harder and harder.

Stress levels are soaring here right now, the girls and mine.

I think the trigger (this time) is ‘School Plays’. I’m not sure why these have become an issue the last couple of years, at the previous school they all managed the school plays (minor roles) without a hitch.

Baby girl pulled out of her play altogether last year, at the last minute, this year she’s given some notice and decided again not to participate finding a background (helper/off stage) role more manageable. Big girl has managed to participate in her plays but this year has asked to be excluded from the ‘bows’ at the end as she finds them too overwhelming. Middle girl has told me she’s happy to participate in her play but feels frightened when she’s on the stage.

But in reality they’re not managing……….

Big girl is stroppy and stressed and not sleeping, doesn’t sound any different to any other day but its a bit more intense at the moment, particularly on days after they’ve ‘practiced’ their plays. Tonight she stamped her feet, banged her door and shouted ‘I want to kill myself’. (overwhelmed)

Middle girl had a therapy session today (which is slow going but they seem to be managing it fine), I collected her at lunch time from school, I hadn’t even turned the car around before she was refusing to speak to me (control). I hadn’t bought a medal she wanted to show the therapist, she hadn’t asked me too. She then spent the entire session rocking manically and refusing to speak (dysregulated).

Baby girl, well, tonight she’s stood with her arms folded in a mood, stamped her foot and given me the death stare (control) whilst telling me she’s rubbish and everyone one at school hates her (low self esteem), even though I reminded her that she came out of school this evening chatting and laughing with her 2 friends. She also told me that she’s been participating in part of her play because she thinks her teacher will shout if she doesn’t (insecure). (her teacher wouldn’t shout, this is just an example of how unreasonable her ‘thinking’ is when she’s stressed). She also said the story line scares her, its A Christmas Carol (immature/dysregulated).

They practiced their school plays this morning.

Each morning we’re greeted by a lovely teacher who’s working so hard to help the girls. Every morning I find myself having to tell her about some sort of crisis or drama. Today it was that middle girl is terrified when she’s on the stage and to ask her if she can perhaps give her a little thumbs up, tap on the shoulder, check in with her etc. Tomorrow it will be to tell her that baby girl has been staying on the stage after putting the apparatus in place (her job) because she thinks her teacher will tell her off for sitting back down afterwards. I’ve no doubt Monday there will be something else. There is always something…………..

“Middle girl is worried because her p.e. day has changed and she doesn’t know why, baby girl is worried because she has fallen out with her friend and thinks she has no one to play with now, big girl is worried because someone shouted in class today and it hurt her ears, middle girl is worried because she doesn’t know why there was no science yesterday, baby girl is worried because someone told a dinner lady she pushed them but she didn’t and she thinks she’s in trouble, big girl is worried about the book your reading in class, middle girl was hot in class yesterday and came home angry because no one noticed, baby girl is worried because a man came in to school and she doesn’t know who it is, big girl is worried because she didn’t understand her homework, middle girl is angry because the girls wouldn’t let her join in at lunch time today, baby girl is worried because she thinks she’s going to see a real volcano next week and might die!” This is probably a good representation of a couple of days worth of ‘chats’ I have each morning!

I hate being THAT parent!

In reality it is all anxiety, lots and lots of anxiety about anything and everything and it seems to be getting worse as they get older and I’m not sure why, maybe because they understand more, or maybe because they’re expected to understand more and don’t. You only need to search the word ‘stress’ on my blog to see this is a common theme. Is this Autism? Attachment/Trauma? both?

Its that old chicken and egg question, are they not sleeping because they’re anxious or are they anxious because they’re so tired.

What I do know is that this level of stress isn’t sustainable, for any of us.

I’ve linked this post up with #WASO over at The Adoption Social!


Mummy’s Exhausted

Published November 19, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Sometimes it all just feels too much.

I don’t feel like a mom lately. I feel like a therapist, a psychologist, a referee, an advocate, a PA, an emotional punch bag!

There is too much to remember, too much to keep on top of, too much to explain, too much to figure out, too much to think about, just too much!

All the girls are struggling, it’s been like it for several months now and I feel like I’m running round in circles putting out a constant supply of little fires, but with every fire I extinguish, another two appear, sometimes three.

Baby girl is stressed out to the max, she’s not sleeping, is run down and sucking the life out of me with her demands for attention and control.

Middle girl is stressed out to the max, she’s not sleeping, her skin and nails are showing the signs of stress, yet she keeps pushing me further and further away.

Big girl is stressed out to the max, she’s not sleeping, is run down having daily tantrums and constantly trying to provoke a reaction from me, sometimes she wins.

In the last month I’ve joined a support group for parents of children who self harm, which is basically a bunch of parents sat in a room saying ‘I don’t know what to do’, and a member of staff from CAMHS that says nothing more than ‘well what do you think you should do?’.

I’ve taken all 3 girls, at the same time, to see the gp to ask, no beg for help with their sleep difficulties, there’s none available apparently, but she commended them on being ‘pretty’ and remarked how she hoped they’d come back and see her again soon.

I’ve also contacted the Autism specialists for help with baby girls worries about everything and anything, and middle girls anger and stress which I’m putting down to social difficulties, I have to wait until early 2015 before they’ll see me, never mind the girls.

I’m also in daily communications with the school, but honestly, I’m getting sick of having to tell them about this worry and that worry and this incident and that incident, I must sound like a broken record to them, I’m starting to wonder why we bother, the teachers are working so hard to ‘get it right’ but the minute they remedy one issue, the girls present yet another! Even their ‘key worker’ has said she finds them totally draining some days. Every stress, worry and anxiety seems to be school related. They store them all up and bring them home! They can’t cope with school, and I cant cope with home schooling.

I’m not sure how much longer I can play these games, because that’s what it feels like, I feel like a pawn in a game of chaos!

Mummy’s exhausted!


A place for worries……

Published November 11, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Worries are a real issue here, I have 3 little girls that carry around a huge bag of worries every day. After spending another evening listening to baby girl reel off a huge list of anxieties after a massive tantrum,  followed by a super tired big girl who told me this morning that she spent all night worrying about a science activity in school today,  and tantrums from middle girl before school again, I decided we needed to try something………..

We’ve tried books with social stories about managing emotions, coping with worries, friendships, school, the list goes on.

We’ve tried worry dolls but they didn’t really take to the idea of telling their worries to a toy, no matter how magical I tried to make it sound.

We’ve tried the idea of dream catchers and dream fairies but they didn’t help.

We’ve tried setting aside special time to talk about things each day, they didn’t respond very well to being put on the spot and just made stuff up.

We tried family meetings but they became far to competitive with them each making up things just so they could be the one with the most to say.

So now we’re trying writing them down…………………

So I’ve been shopping today. I’ve bought 3 very pretty little tins, 3 very pretty little note books, some post-it notes and pens (I’ve also put inside their previously tried ‘worry rabbits’). It didn’t cost much money or take much time but if it works then the results could be amazing!

I’m going to suggest they use their box to write down anything they want to show me, they can bring me their boxes or leave them in my bedroom for me to ‘find’. They can also use their boxes to write down worries that they want to sort out themselves (aka throw in the bin) using the post-it notes.

I’d love to hear how you help your child manage their worries or if you have any other idea’s that you think might help us.

Big School, Huge Decisions!

Published October 3, 2014 by thefamilyof5

I mentioned a week or so ago that we were currently looking desperately searching, for a big school for Big Girl for next September.

Well the search is over!

I’d love to tell you that we’ve found the perfect school and that I’m totally confident with our decision and that its a school she’ll thrive in, but I cant, Its just the best of what was on offer. When I say ‘best’ I don’t mean it has great achievement records or that all the teachers teach to the highest of standards or that its a school with amazing facilities, In fact in all honestly I have no clue about any of these things because none of these things are important to Big Girl, feeling safe is all that matters, without that, the rest is unimportant. So when I say the ‘best’ school, I simply mean, its the best of the bunch to suit Big Girl’s needs. In fact it is the only school that I think she has even the remotest possibility of managing. So we’ve submitted our application, its a school way outside our catchment area but it is the only school we have put her name down for. All the other schools wouldn’t be manageable for her at all, so we felt there was no point in naming 2 other schools on the application, it really is this or Home School, I really hope she gets a place. She stands a good chance because being adopted, in the same way as being a looked after child, she will get priority over all of the other applications.

I’d like to tell you why we chose this school over all the others, and it really did just come down to size. All of the local high schools here have over 1000 students on the roll, and are situated in very large very complex buildings, this one has less than 450.

This school feels small, in fact when I first arrived I sat in the main reception area and I thought to myself how much it felt like a primary school rather than a high school, the floors were carpeted, the walls nicely decorated, it felt quite homely. So that was the first box ticked.

I was invited to the ‘Student Support’ department which is where I expect big girl will become quite familiar with, It was a small area with small tables and lots of friendly looking staff on hand. Next box ticked.

I was invited to walk around the corridors during one of the ‘class change’ times, I was surprised to see how calm and quiet it was, it wasn’t over crowded like all the other schools Id visited, the ceilings weren’t low, the corridors weren’t narrow, I didn’t feel claustrophobic. Another box ticked.

I was shown pretty much around the entire school which really only took a few minutes, the school is pretty much a square shape and mostly all on 1 level with only a library, staff room and couple of computer rooms on the upper floor, so really easy to navigate and not much chance of getting lost. Another tick in a box.

During my walk around the school I noticed lots and lots of lockers, so no having to struggle with coats and PE kits and bags and books, cause honestly, this would be too much for big girl to manage, she’d be super stressed hauling her stuff between classes and then be expected to sit down and learn. So big tick in the box.

They allow the vulnerable children to spend time in the ‘Student Support’ department during lunch breaks and have specialist staff available in the lunch hall to sit with vulnerable students whilst they eat, so no more feeling scared and lonely for big girl at lunch time. A huge tick in a box.

Just before I left the bell went for morning break time, I walked through the dinner hall and was greeted by lots of hungry kids looking for their morning snacks and toast. I didn’t feel intimidated, cramped or deafened, I felt relaxed, it was calm. Another tick!

I couldn’t tell you what Ofsted think about this school, and I couldn’t tell you what exam results they have produced over the last few years, I don’t know what subjects they specialise in and honestly, I don’t care. I just know that of all the schools I’ve visited, this is the only one she has even the faintest chance of coping with.

I’m not sure when we’ll tell Big Girl, most of the children in her class seem to already know they’re going to the local feeder school, she only knows that she is not.  She isn’t the same as most of the children in her class though, she is emotionally many years behind them so whilst they can manage this information so soon, I’m not sure she can. We wont get confirmation of her place until next March, but I’m not sure we should should wait till then?!  will telling her sooner be too much for her to handle!? I really don’t know when will be the right time to tell her, this is the next hurdle for us to figure out and hope we get right.

So is the this the right school?  did we make the right choice?  have we got it right? I don’t know. But what I do know, is that If big girl manages to see out her full education here, no, in fact if she lasts a year, I’ll be happy with that!




Silence is golden……..

Published September 29, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Baby girls struggling at the moment, I’m not entirely sure why, but everything seems to be a source of worry and anxiety for her just now.  She came home from school today like a tightly wound spring with bite marks on her hands and sores inside her mouth where she’s bitten her lips so much, I wasn’t surprised, she’d been awake since the early hours and wasn’t really in the best of moods when I dropped her off, clingy and fragile.

A rumble of thunder tonight prompted a quick grab of her ear defenders, which she then insisted on also sleeping in.


I was a little worried they’d cause irritation and keep her awake but I was wrong, she was asleep before I hit the bottom of the stairs! Tightly cacconed in her duvet, adorning the sleep mask she wears to block out the light, the gloves she wears to stop her biting her fingers till they bleed and now the ear defenders to block out the noise!


The Talk, in School.

Published June 26, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Do you remember a while ago I had The Talk with big girl, well recently she had the same talk in school and last night I discovered just how hard she’d found it.

Lets start by going back a bit so you can fully understand.

4.5 weeks ago the anxiety began when I was approached on the playground by 2 teachers, who in front of the girls, spoke to me about how sports day was coming up after half term and I might want to consider keeping the girls off if they didn’t want to take part.

3.5 weeks ago, more anxiety because sports day was imminent.

3 weeks ago it was Sports day, which went relatively smoothly like it always has. That same week big girl came home with a letter advising that the school nurse would be visiting the following Monday to talk to them about puberty.
Later that week big girl came home with another letter advising that a steel band would also be coming to visit them the following week, and finally another notification of a planned trip to a local Caribbean restaurant to sample some of their foods.

2 weeks ago the Puberty talk took place, the Steel Band Played and they visited a Caribbean restaurant.

1 week ago Baby girl was told about her class assembly that was talking place the following week.

This week, Big girl was told about her class assembly that took place today and baby girl had her class assembly on Tuesday. Yesterday Middle girl came home and told me she will be having her class assembly (its 2 weeks away).

The last 4.5 weeks have been horrendously stressful for the girls which effects me and Mr FO5 also, with a constant stream of ‘stuff’ going on that’s set to continue until the end of term I fear.

Stress effects the entire family.

Stress effects the entire family.

So I didn’t notice the trigger, I wasn’t able to see specifically where it was coming from, sports day had passed, everything else went by seemingly uneventful, yet the difficult behaviors continued. I knew big girl was struggling the most, she wasn’t sleeping, her moods were awful and she was having regular tantrums at home. I asked and asked over and over what was worrying her, she just said ‘nothing’. Her sisters were anxious, there was a lot of things going on in school for them too but they were acutely aware of Big girls mood and it was sucking them in. I had 3 tired, grumpy, stroppy girls and no one could tell me why.

Last night after yet another foot stomping book throwing tantrum from big girl I cracked, I shouted, in fact I screamed, a lot, and sent her to bed, it was half past 5, I was emotionally exhausted and feeling every bit of her trauma. I calmed down and went up to her half an hour later. She was sad. I was sad. Eventually those all important words emerged, through her tears and from her frightened little mouth. ‘You know when the nurse came and I told you I didn’t have any questions after our talk, well, the nurse said my period will start at the same time my mom’s did when she was my age??’.

So much worry for someone so young.

So much worry for someone so young.

At a time that she was already feeling uncomfortable, emotional, worried and apprehensive she was made to think of her birth mom. She was made to wonder if it meant that she was going to be just like her birth mom in other ways too. She was left wondering how she’d ever be able to find out when her period would come because she wasn’t able to ask her birth mom. She was left feeling alone and isolated with her thoughts.

Big girl spends most of her time in school feeling lonely and she’s ashamed of her loneliness. She’s convinced that the children hate her and don’t want to be her friend because she’s a bad person, She doesn’t feel loved, liked or cared about in school and she brings that feeling home with her.

My poor poor big girl, she held it inside for 2 weeks, so scared, so afraid and helpless that she felt she had no one in the whole world she could talk to about this, not even me.

I’ve linked this post up at The Weekly Adoption Shoutout (#WASO) over at The Adoption Social

Sports Day

Published June 26, 2014 by thefamilyof5

A funny thing happened at school, for the first time ever, they proactively approached me about something they thought might be an issue, actually it wasn’t very funny at all.

Stood on the playground with all 3 girls at the end of the day just before May half term I was approached by middle girls teacher and the head of KS2.

‘We wanted to talk to you about sports day, Its straight after half term and we thought it might be a potential trigger for the girls so they may not want to take part’

I’m not sure if those are the exact words they used, but that’s what I heard.

My girls heard ‘you don’t have to do sports day if you don’t want to’.

I knew sports day was coming up, it had been in the news letters a couple of times and the girls had talked to me about ‘sports day practice’. Sports day had never been a major issue before, yes there has always been anxiety, but we’ve always coped and I’ve always been there to support them or give them a hug if needed. We’ve managed.

This time however, Sports day had just became a whole lot more stressful.
Big girl, who hates sports day, said as we walked off the playground ‘I’m not going to do sports day then ok mommy’
Middle girl gave herself pep talks all the way home ‘I can do, it’ll be fine, yes I’m sure it’ll be ok, I want to win but I’ll be ok if I don’t, I’m sure it’ll be ok, wont it?’ So much pressure.
Baby girl, well it was too much of a choice, ‘I’m not sure mommy, I might want to do it but I might not like it so perhaps I shouldn’t do it, but then I might miss out and regret it so maybe I should, but I might loose and be rubbish, so maybe I shouldn’t do it’.

This went on for several days, until I said ‘Your doing it, It’ll be fine, You’ve always done sports day before, I will be there, We’ll have a lovely time, It doesn’t matter if you don’t win, we’ll just have fun and enjoy it’.

So I’m now the horrible mommy that’s making them do something the teacher said they didn’t have to, great.

I love that school tried to be proactive, It shows me that they’re listening to me and trying, just a shame they didn’t think to talk to me in private.

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