The Apple Never Falls Far From The Tree

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing,
we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger,
but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
–Robert Cushing

It’s no secret that anxiety has played a big role in my life. It’s something I’ve blogged about time and time again over the past two-plus years as I diligently tried to find a solution that worked best for me and to let others who might be dealing with this know they aren’t alone.

Around the time when I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I recall asking my (then) therapist, “Why is this just showing up now out of the blue?” And she replied that it was probably something I’d been dealing with for a long time, but it took time for the symptoms to compound in number and severity until I reached the point where I sought out help and was eventually diagnosed. At the time I wasn’t sure I believed it, because the whole thing still felt like it came out of nowhere to me. However as time has passed and I’ve reflected on various events in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that anxiety is something I’ve dealt with since childhood — I just didn’t know it then.

This is where this blog post gets a little tricky for anonymity reasons. How much can I share without sharing too much? Ya see, I have my reasons to suspect that one of my children also is dealing with anxiety. I had hoped that this wouldn’t happen to either of them and certainly never expected it when they were still so young, but now here it potentially is — staring me right in the face (literally). And why should I be surprised, right? The apple never falls far from the tree and all that, but yet I sure hoped those apples would.

While there has been no official diagnosis, after talking to a friend, reading the book “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children with Anxiety,” reading the blog Child Anxiety Mom, and searching my soul, my suspicions have certainly not lessened. When I compare some of the things I did and experienced in my adolescent years with some of the things my child is experiencing/doing now (but at a seemingly accelerated rate than I did), it seems obvious to me that anxiety could be playing a factor. I won’t go into detail as I don’t think that would be fair to my little person, but if you have questions email me directly and we can discuss it further there.

I’m not sure what the next step will be, but this is a subject that certainly weighs heavily on my mind. Everything I’ve read says the sooner anxiety is dealt with, the better. And I believe the more I read, the more likely I will figure out what direction we should take. I’d been considering therapy, but perhaps other things — such as The Anxiety-Free Child Program or simply reading more of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children with Anxiety (I admit I just started it) or perhaps another visit to the pediatrician (now that I feel I have more pieces of the puzzle) – would be useful as well.

“Courage is saying, ‘Maybe what I’m doing isn’t working;
maybe I should try something else.’”
– Anna Lappe

Then again it’s entirely possible that anxiety isn’t what’s going on with my child or perhaps it is just one part of the whole picture. After all, I’m not a psychologist or doctor, yet I am a mom who knows her child better than anyone else. I also know what it’s like to live with anxiety and if my child is experiencing this, I want to figure out what’s going on sooner than later. I don’t want to just assume X, Y, or Z behavior is “just a phase” and it will pass or that he/she is simply acting out or trying to manipulate me. I’ll continue to do my research and try to get to the bottom of this. Nobody should have to live their life in fear.

Photo credit: apdk via Flickr

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HAS CRUNCHY DOMESTIC GODDESS RETURNED FOR GOOD?
If you are wondering if I’m back to blogging again on a regular basis, I have to say your guess is as good as mine. ;) I will continue to write when I feel moved to write. Now that I’ve gotten my first “return from hiatus” post written, perhaps that will be more often. :) Like I do with many things in my life, I will take blogging one day at a time. Thank you if you’ve stuck around in my absence. It truly does mean a lot to me. xo.

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30 thoughts on “The Apple Never Falls Far From The Tree

  1. thanks for sharing truthfully. we need more of that in our mom-blogoshpere. it is all a process and we are all learning how to help our little people through their difficulties. but mama, you are showing up. and trying to help her and change what you need to change to help her too. i love this. i love seeing how each of us in our own ways respond…sometimes it takes time to even figure out there is anything we need to respond too, but when we realize there is, we step back and step up. kuddos.

    :)
    jen

  2. {{{hugs}}} and congratulations on blogging again…

    I hope you get the answers you need…. seems like us Mommies know our own children better than anybody else. I hope you are wrong too….. but I’m betting you aren’t…..

    xxx

  3. I have been where you are. My high need baby girl grew to be a little girl with a strong need for solid attachment to her Mama and a lot of reassurance to venture out of her comfort zone. There have been many times when she was “forced” to venture out before she was convinced it was a good thing to do…disaster ensued.

    While we haven’t pursued a formal diagnosis, other than a confirmation from her therapist that we are probably dealing with latent separation anxiety with social elements. For example, knowing Mama was about to leave and knowing she would melt down, led to a fear of melting down in public and an even stronger refusal to venture out.

    It is touchy as a parent to know how or if or in what direction to proceed with such an intuit as this.

    In our city, the Family Services Centre runs a program called “Worriers to Warriors” which I put both my girls in and which helped immensely. We came out of this family centered program with a toolbox of strategies for dealing with a variety of situations in which anxiety could or has been an issue…a tool box with tools which the kids and the parents knew how to use and were sold on.

    It’s the best 8 weeks we’ve ever committed to anything and I recommend it for every parent with a child struggling with anxiety.

    My heart to yours sends courage and insight and grace as you walk this road.
    You know your child more deeply and intimately than any other being, you will know what to do because you are in the unique position of understanding the struggle….you yourself will gain new understanding of your “condition” as you wade through the water with your babe. You will laugh at the accurate and simple descriptions your child gives to the worry and anxiety and marvel at “out of the mouths of babes”. You will grow and mature along with your child as you help them learn to manage and use various strategies to navigate the world with anxiety.

  4. Thank you for posting this. I also struggle with anxiety and also feel like mine came out of nowhere. I was in college and suddenly had a panic attack. From there is snowballed and became out of control. I remember asking my therapist, “Why now?? Why all of a sudden when things are going so well??” Then, like you, I realized that I was always an anxious person and an anxious child and it was just at that point things decided to “come to a head.” I have a young child and am pregnant with another and I also fear that one day they will struggle with anxiety. Just know that you are doing the right thing. You are aware of what’s going on and you will be there for her. And the sooner she grows to understand (with your help!) what anxiety is, the sooner she will overcome it.

  5. Hi Amy,

    My 7 yo is dealing with anxiety and it has been an issue since she was 3. In the last couple of years we have been seeking out the right kind of treatment for her but so far nothing has really helped. We are starting to consider medication now.

    Feel free to contact me if you want to chat more.

    Sybil

  6. You have always shared so honestly and transparently with us. Thank you for trusting us with what y’all are working through right now. I know many of us are hoping to hear more from you when you are ready!

  7. This is so funny… I was just thinking today how different my life could be if I had been treated for anxiety as a child. How I WISH my parents would have done something about my very obvious anxiety.

    I’m now 31 and am just finding out that I probably have ADD with anxiety, which which would explain 99% of the issues I’ve had in my life.

    Whatever you do, please do something. My life has been much more difficult than it has needed to be, and I’m just starting to get a handle on it now. I’m grateful for my experiences as they have brought me so far, but I often wonder what could have been if I had not been so afraid.

  8. I AM a doctor, one who worked in psychiatric medicine for 12 years before coming to my present profession in integrative medicine. “Anxiety” is a label whose meaning is extremely difficult to unpack given the complexity and sources of that term. You really need to dig beneath the label and discover exactly what your daughter is experiencing before deciding how to proceed, certainly before subjecting her to medications. Yes, I understand that medications can be a god-send in some situations, but I know for a fact that they are very often over-prescribed, inappropriately given, teach people to focus on external vs internal resources, and can be physically or psychologically addictive and/or damaging as in the case of Ativan or Ambien, for example.

    Here are some other options you may want to consider, none of which require drugs:

    1. Sometimes “anxiety” is the result of a sleep disorder. Adolescents do not have the same circadian rhythms as an adult – there are many studies documenting this. For more information, one interesting discussion can be found in the book, “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson.

    2. Sometimes “anxiety” is due to social problems, like cyberbullying. Medication is unlikely to help, since the root of the problem is the psychological trauma cause by peer-to-peer interactions.

    3. Sometimes “anxiety” is due to the person not understanding their emotions. The book, “The Emotional Hostage” by Leslie Cameron-Bandler can help with this. For example, the message of garden-variety, every day anxiety is that something is coming in the future that you feel unprepared to deal with, like a test or a job interview. The solution is to get busy in the present doing what is necessary to address the challenge coming in the future. In this way emotions like anxiety can be your friends, not your enemy.

    4. Sometimes “anxiety” is due to not understanding how to work with the body-mind connection. The book, “Focusing” by Eugene T. Gendlin can help with this. In addition, breathing exercises (e.g. The Breathing Box is a good resource), yoga, and teaching your daughter relaxation exercise can help with this.

    5. In Chinese medicine, “anxiety” is often the result of stagnant or blocked qi. Tai qi or Qi gong can help with this, as well as acupuncture treatments.

    6. Sometimes “anxiety” can be due to food allergies, poor diet choices, or inappropriate intake of substances that alter brain chemistry like certain chemical sweeteners. An elimination/challenge diet can help with ascertain whether this is a problem. Naturopathic physicians are very good with this kind of issue.

    7. Sometimes “anxiety” is due to family of origin issued or family legacies. The book, “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life” by James Hollis can educate you more about this, but this issue will require a skilled therapist to resolve.

    I wish you the best in resolving this issue as gently and lovingly as possible.

  9. Hey Amy!

    Hugs to you. I’ve suffered from anxiety for a while, and I know how hard it is. Sydney has the same issues…and if it helps any, we’ve been very successful using homeopathy with her (from a homeopath). And we have tried everything – counseling, even 1 week where we tried medication (awful). This has helped her so much – so much so that I weaned off of my Lexapro and I’m using homeopathy for myself.

  10. You know I am here for you if you need me for anything at all. I love you both and have faith that you will find the right solutions so that you both can live a fulfilling and joyful life.

  11. Trust your mama gut. You know something’s off. Even if it turns out not to be anxiety, like you said you know your child better than anyone and you know when your child isn’t right. Keep watching, investigating and caring and you’ll know for sure soon. Keep investigating and seeking out experts until you find that answer that really seems right.

  12. it seems to me that your awareness of the situation might be a huge step in the right direction. i think that perhaps when we were kids this wasn’t “thought of” and so we just muddled through…but you have the power to help. good for you…

  13. I have also struggled with anxiety for pretty much my whole life, and I see some anxiety in my children, too. The one bright spot for me is that in learning to cope with my own anxiety, I have acquired a number of tools that I can share with my kids. Hopefully, the knowledge that I’ve gained in my own journey will help them in theirs.

  14. The one good thing about sharing an illness with a child is you do understand more than anyone else could. It’s not a good thing and not something you would wish on someone but at least you understand and you are noticing it early so maybe they will end up with a much easier time with it.

    I’m Dyslexic and so is my dad, my mom was very understanding, caught it early and better knew what to do because she had watched my dad deal with it. It was great having parents that understood.

  15. Oh, Amy ((hug)). I’m right there with you. Although it isn’t me who struggles from anxiety, let’s just say that my kid are genetically prone to it and I am seeing it materialize in one of them. I have been thinking of writing a post about the way that fear and anxiety can spiral out of control in strange ways in kids, but I’m struggling with how to tell it without revealing too much too.

  16. When my youngest son was around 7, I began to suspect he was suffering from some form of depression. It was difficult to watch and, I felt helpless. I took him to see several professionals, and that really didn’t seem to help him. As a mom I was heartbroken. I decided I would spend as much time with my son as possible, and encourage as much self esteem as possible. It took a ton of work over the years, but it was well worth it. Today his is anything but depressed and has a great deal of self esteem. I hope you find success for both you and your child on anxiety.

    I really enjoyed reading your blog toady. I hope we can connect on a business level- mom blogger- to mom blogger, as well as connect on a more personal level over time. I’d like to keep in touch with you and your blog, therefore I’ve decided to Follow you on Twitter, and FB. If you find my small Blog Society of value to you and wish to join in, I would truly feel honored.

    Happy Blogging,
    LaDonna Dennis
    Mom Blog Society
    http://momblogsociety.com

  17. Not an easy subject but hey, you can be happy and relaxed about the fact that you know your kids so well. Not every Mommy has this dimension and I am sure that it can do a lot of good if you remain positive. Thanks for sharing!

  18. I can totally relate to this post. I deal with severe obsessive compulsive disorder on a constant basis, even though I take meds, it still affects my daily life. My daughter has been showing signs of OCD since she was very very young and I’ve just started dealing with it.

    When she was a toddler, I would notice things and wonder, but now that she’s in school and playing with more kids in the neighborhood it’s affecting her life more.

    My grandmother (who raised me) was always very much against getting help for these things and, as a result, I didn’t get help until after my daughter was born. I don’t want her to go through the hell that I did.

    I’ve contemplated writing about these issues on my own blog and have always been scared. Thank you for having the courage to write about it.

  19. I’ve just started writing more on my personal blog about my life journey with depression. You are always an encouragement.

  20. I enjoyed reading your articles “The Apple Never Falls Far From The Tree”. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!

  21. I had suffered from anxiety and depression for many years, it was not until I was diagnosed with Lupus(an autoimmune disorder)1 year ago, that they both were finally being treated. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  22. I realize this is a really out there comment. But bear with me.

    Im gona be honest and i realize some ppl have prejudices and preconcieved notions but i want to put this out there for anyone with an open mind.

    Im Muslim and islam(contrary to popular belief its not a religion where we worship devil..and if u have an issue with women covering, thinks nuns :-) we dont think of nuns being brainwashed, braindead and and yes nuts do exist in my religion as they do in all others)

    Having said that..phew…islam tells us of two other types of creations besides animals. I realize that this may not be exclusive to islam. Just letting u know.

    Ok so there is humans and there is angels and then there is ‘jinn’. Genie? Ring a bell? Jinn are created from flame. And there are good jinn, bad jinn just like humans. They marry, procreate, can be christian, jew, muslim whatever, just like humans.

    Now….stay with me here. The following is based on islamic sources (quran and authentic traditions of prophet, based on a very detailed science of authenticating reports) and also on experience of muslim exhorsists.

    Jinn are able to go inside human beings as in well known.
    The Quran is an amazing cure against these creatures harming us.

    The quran mentions those who do magic and also jinn in various places. Basically magic is done through the use of jinn and there is also lesser degrees of ‘jinn harm’ if u will. Those come under evil eye and jealousy.

    Consequently, We are taught as muslims that if we admire a thing, a person, a quality in someone, their possesions, that we should pray to God to protect it because ‘the evil eye is real’.

    So now having said that…i wana share my personal story.

    Im a thirty year old mom to two kids, happily married. I have a bachelors in computer science. I love to read. Very active in my community. Currently interested in going green :-)

    Anyway, About ten years ago, i got married to my ex and divorced within months. Ten years later….ive found out that my ex mother in law did ‘a magic spell’ on me. Now i realize this all sounds very crazy. But bare with me pls. Im writing all this so maybe someone somewhere can bneefit from this.

    The way that we ‘diagnosed’ this is that last year i started getting more and more religous. I started asking God for forgivness and praying more and reading more Quran. And woah…i SUDDENLY OVERNIGHT started getting crazy dreams, aand all sorts of odd thoughts about God…suddenly it was sooo hard to fast or pray or read Quran or hear Quran.

    Now for years i experienced these symptoms: i was depressed, i had back aches, aches in my joint, depression, extreme bouts of anger, insomnia, this random cough that would not go away that would come and go, serious anxiety, suddenly developing pre hypertension even though my diet is good, constant yeast infections, hair falling and the list is long. Things that i would never connect to magic!

    The idea is that the Jinn cannot stand the Quran or a person getting close to their Lord. So when a person tries to get close to God, the jinn ‘reacts’ and you get feel sick. Yur basically a ball of nerves at that point.

    So basically, i have a friend who is very god fearing, a very sweet person. She had been put under a magic spell twice in her life and she had gotten cured! So she guided me a lot , praise be to God.

    The way they confirm if yur really sick with a jinn bothering you is that an experienced ‘raaqi(someone who recites Quran on a person to cure) Will recite specific portions of the Quran while you listen. For the normal person, they will not have any ‘reaction’. But for the person who is ‘possessed’ or is otherwise affectee by jinn, they will start either laughing, getting dizzy, or crying hysterically out of the blue.

    Anyhow, the cure that Islam prescribes for this is having trust in God, seeking His protection, listening to a LOT of Quran daily, praying, fasting, drinking water with Quran read on it, putting on olive oil with Quran read on it, cupping(it rids the body of toxins and prevents disease and islam stresses this as a cure for magic and for being healthy in general) and so on.

    I have been following this cure for about a year now. The jinn is very very weak now but hasnt left my body yet. It does speak on my tongue- schizoprenia anyone :-) ?
    But almosT ALL my symptoms have disappeared…praise be to God alone.

    Basically the idea is that you keep following the cure until the jinn dies inside your body(it is scared to leave brcause if it does leave, it gets punished by the magician who put him there) or it leaves(in which case u continue to follow the cure for some time so yur protected because jinns often try to return soon after the leave)

    Soooo…part of the cure is listening to the second chapter of the Quran daily aside from the whole routine which im obviously not detailing here. That chapter is called surah ‘baqarah’. And it is very heavy against the jinn. I can bet that if u listen to it, u will have a huge aversion to it at first as the jinn hates to listen to it and he can hear whatever u hear. U can look it up on youtube easily.

    Some muslims unfortunately use jinn to fight off the jinn that is bothering you. That is forbidden in Islam because what yur really doing is yur calling on a creation of God for help. And That obviously goes against belief in One God and putting our trust in Him and knowing that He is in charge of all affairs. This is the type of ppl who commonly mascarrade as ‘raaqis’ unfortunately and a tell tale sign of them is that they will ask u for yur birth date and yur mother’s name.

    Now all this is for magic that i explained in which case the jinn is inside the person!s body. In many cases, however the jinns affect people but without actually physically possessing them. In that case, listening to baqarah daily is a huge relief and your ‘anxious’ condition will improve soon within maybe two weeks or a month max.

    Having said that, having correct belief in One God is central and putting trust in Him is central to the cure.
    I know and realize that this is very ‘heavy’ info. Some one may read it and this is all hog wash.

    However, im sharing this in hopes that someone may benefit.

    P.s. In the muslim tradition, we are told to seek refuge with God before we enter bathrooms as jinns reside in bathrooms. Naturally, we dont advocate spending a long time in the bathroom without a need or giving time outs in bathrooms. Etc.

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