It Made Me Feel Helpless – Jen’s Story – Mental Health Awareness
Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today is day 10 of my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Kayleigh, get that here. Today I am joined by Jen. Jen’s two children have Autism, but also suffer from anxiety. Jen bravely tells her story, about life with her two wonderful children. Please show Jen your support. Like, comment, and share this post.
I’m a Mum of two children, a 9 year old girl and 5 year old boy.
What mental health condition does your child have, or potentially have?
Both of my children have been diagnosed with Autism but they also both suffer from anxiety. My daughter’s anxiety is quite severe.
When did you first notice that your child may have a mental health condition?
My daughter was 5 when we began to suspect that she had anxiety. She would worry about leaving a pencil in her desk at school, or about her water bottle or other small worries. They appeared small to us but to her, they were huge immense worries. At the age of 7 years, her anxiety worsened to the point that it crippled my daughter. She wouldn’t want to go to school, she’d start feeling physically sick.
That sounds like it was really tough for your daughter.
How did this make you feel as a parent?
It made me quite helpless as I didn’t know exactly how to help her. We tried a lot of different strategies and none seemed to work.
Did your child express any concerns to you about how they were feeling?
My daughter would be very upset but as she couldn’t recognise her own anxiety and as such wasn’t able to verbalise to us what was wrong. She’d be in a constant state of meltdown. She knew that she didn’t like feeling like that but didn’t know how to get herself out of that state.
What help did your daughter receive?
We ended up seeing a child psychologist every fortnight for sessions. She showed some improvement but we then needed to have weekly OT sessions so that my daughter could start to recognise the internal feelings of anxiety and other emotions.
How do you help your child? What makes them happy?
We talk on a regular basis about what is happening at school and how things make her feel. We do fortnightly OT sessions. She is happiest when reading books or researching her favourite subject space. We also make sure that she has one on one time with either myself or her Dad.
What is your biggest worry for them as her parent?
That she will be bullied when she goes to high school. My daughter has such a lovely nature that at times her friends will take her for granted. I suffered from anxiety as a teenager and I don’t want her to go through the same. I want to equip her now with the skills that she’ll need later in life to manage her own anxiety.
That is a massive worry for a lot of parents, I think equipping her with the skills she will need is a fantastic idea.
Do you feel like there is enough support out there, for children who suffer from mental health conditions, and their parents?
No I don’t think there is enough support. Teachers and other professionals need to be more aware of how anxiety affects children. My daughter would appear fine at school and be a mess at home. It took a long time for her teachers to take us seriously.
I agree. I don’t think people are educated enough on mental health conditions, and how it can affect children in different ways. More awareness of anxiety and other mental health conditions is a must, and I am hoping by doing this, it will be a start.
What advice would you give to another parent, who’s child has or may have a mental health condition?
Hang in there and keep going back until you get the assistance that your child and your family needs.
Thank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and help me raise awareness of mental health conditions. If you would like to follow Jenni’s story, her details are below. Tomorrow’s interview is with Nicola. Nicola is talking to me about how it was to see her Mother battle mental health conditions. Post goes Live at 9 am.
Much Love 💕