Monday, December 19, 2011

worry wart

Today began quietly.  Like any other day, really, until I went to wake Lucy up and she rolled over and said to me, “I don’t think I can do this.”  It progressively got worse, highlighted with my carrying her upstairs to brush her teeth (she refused) and holding her while she bawled and shook, saying over and over again that she “just didn’t feel well and couldn’t possibly go to school.”  This is how many of our days have started lately, and it’s hard for me to write about it because it’s so raw right now, but I feel like I have to.  I’ve written before about Lucy and her anxiety, but somehow at six years old, she’s found new and different things that trigger it, and we are yet again searching for answers to this situation.
When she finally got out the door this morning (and before the two subsequent phone calls from her teacher and the nurse, each saying she was fine but needed to talk to me…and each supporting Lucy to the best of their abilities) I sat and cried.  I cried because it’s the week before Christmas and my six-year-old daughter is miserable – not just miserable but just plain sad.  I cried because I somehow feel responsible for her emotions, even though I know deep down that I have very little control there.  I cried because I knew I’d have to finally break down and call our pediatrician and try to explain to him what in the world was going on.  Has been going on.  And finally, I cried because my sweet baby girl is six. Six years old.  Way too young to have these feelings, right?
I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about depression or anxiety in the clinical sense of those terms.  I only know that I was a very anxious child.  I pushed so many of those memories back into the recesses of my brain – back where I’d never have to pull them out again…until this week.  I was a worrier, I worried myself into barfing, I was homesick even with my parents right down the street.  I put my parents through hell, and now I guess I’m getting paid back. I would, however, like to state for the record that if payback is a bitch, I get it and I’d like this to stop.  I understand but this is enough. 
The thing is, I’m trying to toe the line between giving Lucy the acknowledgement that she needs to know her feelings are valid and real and telling her she’s being silly.  The one memory I have of being that scared, anxious kid was feeling like I was at fault for feeling those things, and when I couldn’t control them, how could I possibly be to blame for them? What a lonely thing for a little girl to feel.  I remember that clearly, and I’m trying to show Lucy that her feelings matter while also trying to figure out how to get her beyond them.  We met with our pediatrician, are meeting with the school counselor and are also meeting with a behavioral psychiatrist as soon as they can get her in. 
Why am I telling this story? Simply because I want people to know that it’s not unheard of for young kids to have these issues – they are real and need to be taken seriously.  I realize that one day Lucy might look back and be mortified that her mother gave away her secrets – sold her out for a blog post – but instead I hope she knows it’s just because I love her and have to write in order to sort out my own feelings about this.  Oh, sweet, sweet Lucy B…one day I hope we can look back and laugh at this day.


  1. I can completely relate to this story. As a child I was worried sick with anxiety. The depression didn't come until I was a teenager. When I was a kid I knew it was shyness and introversion that kept me from being comfortable at school. No pre-K or daycare for me because the thought was unbearable. I missed the first week of kindergarten because I broke out into hives on Day 1. The stakes were higher in middle and high school. College was better but I was relatively antisocial and I worried down to 117 pounds in law school because of the terror of constantly going before judges and talking to juries. This story makes me feel sad but the best news is that you recognize this and can do something about it. She can learn techniques and other really creative ways to channel her pent up energy so that she can calm herself on her own. There is a lot of research out there that demonstrates that bright and creative, artistic children tend to have these problems. Because she is a child it can be, and will be better for her. There is no way you won't worry but I promise you she will thank you so much for not ignoring it and making her fee crazy. As for me, the problem was not identified and treated until adulthood. I hope Lucy feels well very soon. Kate, just know that you are taking all of the appropriate steps and none of this is your fault. She will likely be better off in the long run...and happier. Take care.

  2. Kate, I just want to offer you a hug. This is just heartbreaking. It sounds like you are on top of it as far as who you have contacted to help. I'm sure it doesn't feel like you are very on top of anything. But, for what it is worth, I'm proud of you for posting this. I was a pretty depressed little kid, and never received any help for it. It sure would have been easier if I had, I think. But, I came through, and I'm totally normal! ;)
    Anyway...Lucy is lucky to have such a loving family. I know you are fighting for her. Lots of love to you, Lucy, and the rest of the family.

  3. thanks to both of you. I appreciate your kind words more than you know. xo

  4. Hugs to my child and grandchild, both of whom will come out the other side of this smelling like roses. Really.

  5. Okay...I'm gonna go ahead and put this out there, even though I run the risk of "crossing the line". I've never had a conversation with you, Kate, on this topic, and I don't wish to presume anything. I'm just offering something I grew up with and also passed on to my girls. It's not contrary to all that you've listed above...meeting with the counselors,'s in addition to those very wise plans of action.

    It's basically this...pray with the bedtimes. (And for all I already do...again, sorry if I'm touching a nerve.)

    I just remember countless times that my Mom and Dad each helped me through some tough years as a kid, and definitely through tougher ones as an adult. What I learned as a child was that the Spirit of God is also called "The Comforter". Even when my parents weren't always there with me...GOD was then...and IS now.

    Forgive me if this backs you into a corner, or makes you feel uncomfortable. I never mean to do that. But there's something interesting that happens when a young child begins to understand that there's Someone out there who is bigger than any of our problems and fears. And it's not just how much belief I can's that God actually RESPONDS when we talk to Him. The storms in our hearts and minds can be calmed, in a way that isn't of our own doing.

    Anyway...I'll be praying for you and Lucy, if that's okay with you. It's TOUGH being a parent, and watching your little one suffer. God can say the same thing!