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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jackie's Anxiety Attack

I feel like my daughter has inherited my anxious ways.  I've been seeing signs of anxiety in Jackie for a little while now but it was mostly in a few specific areas.  She especially gets anxious if we're in the vehicle and somebody unbuckles their seatbelt before the vehicle is parked.  I don't understand why Jackie freaks out but she automatically thinks we're going to get a ticket and go to jail.  I have tried to reassure Jackie that we, as her parents, will not be going to jail unless we blatantly break the law.  

Jackie also gets anxious if the dogs escape out the front door, even though the dogs won't go very far.  She doesn't seem to be very attached to the dogs so I don't understand the reason for her anxiety in this area.  

Another area Jackie seems to get anxious about concerns school.  She is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her grades and if she slips below a certain grade, it really upsets her.  We are not hard on Jackie about her grades because she does so well already.  However, we do discuss with her whenever we see a grade that reflects sloppiness or carelessness only because we know what she is capable of doing.  We do not yell at her about grades.  At. All. 

Yesterday, Jackie came home complaining of her chest area hurting.  She said that she had to hurry and eat her lunch because she had Glee Club practice.  In my opinion, the kids at her school don't get enough time to eat all of their lunches and Jackie is no exception.  In fact, Jackie tends to be a bit pokey.  Jackie takes her lunch most of the time so on those occasions when I packed more than enough, Jackie complains that I packed too much because she doesn't have enough time to eat. If I pack a little less in her lunchbox, then she complains that I don't pack enough. I can't win for losing.  She finally understood me when I told her to just eat what she can if I pack too much.  Going back to yesterday, Jackie had enough time to eat just one item in her lunch tote and she apparently ate it too quickly so she could get to her Glee practice.  We went to her physical therapy appointment and she did well without any complaint.  The evening was free of complaint, as well.

This morning, when Jackie woke up, she coughed a little bit and then started to cry and complain of her chest hurting.  I could tell that she was struggling for breath.  She was complaining of discomfort in the same area as yesterday.  Of course, I was immediately concerned.  She sat on my lap and as I put my arm around her to comfort her, I could feel Jackie's little heart racing.  Then Jackie started to say she was scared and asked if she was going to die.  She was clearly in distress but I then realized that Jackie was having a full-blown anxiety/panic attack.  I reassured Jackie that she wasn't going to die and that she could stay home with me until she settled down.  Jackie was determined to go to school and she finally settled down just in time to get onto the bus.  I told the bus driver to monitor Jackie and then I called the school to talk to the nurse.  I am proud to say that Jackie's school really cares about Jackie.  I explained to the nurse what had happened this morning and one of the suggestions that she made was to have Jackie eat a snack during the day outside of lunchtime so that she won't feel that she has to inhale her food during the very short lunch period.  I actually was going to talk to Jackie's teacher about this at our teacher conference.  

My heart ached for my baby girl as I know the fear and the pain of anxiety.  I couldn't help but worry about her during the day.  I feel like crying for her.  The nurse and the social worker assured me that they would monitor her and call me immediately if Jackie started to feel bad again.  I do hope that my precious baby girl does not continue to experience such scary episodes.  She will be 8 years old next month and she's much too young to have to deal with an anxiety and panic disorder.

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