Living with a 7 year old who suffers with anxiety

Just thought I’d give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with a 7 year old who struggles with anxiety.

My 7 year old typically starts her day somewhere around three am with her heart beating fast fast and her mind thinking scary thoughts.  Sometimes this happens as early as midnight.

Move to mom’s bed so she can settle down and go back to sleep.
Food must be routine.  She gets her food and that’s all she will eat for days, weeks, and sometimes months in a row.  So yes, sometimes cheese puffs are breakfast for months at a time.
There is this addiction to her Lovey.  If he is misplaced for even seconds she loses her cool!  And never mind Lovey getting washed anymore.  That totally sends her over the edge!  And if she goes anywhere with a backpack or bag, Lovey is very carefully placed in the bag.  And sometimes, Lovey has to stay in the car but trust me that is always an issue!
There are many moments when she is sitting and playing or creating so nicely and then something doesn’t go exactly like she wants it to go or her line she drew isn’t as straight as she wanted it to be and you might hear yelling, paper crumpling, wailing, or any other a sundry of outward expressions.
Oh wait, ask her to pick up her things…no way!  That overwhelms her and sends her over the edge. So you may only ask her to pick up one thing at a time to try to avoid this mental and emotional breakdown.

And because of feeling overwhelmed all the time, school work is very tedious…especially reading!  And literally, it is because everything is so hard for her to process and reading takes a lot of processing, she has trouble wanting to give reading the needed attention because there is too much work involved in it and her emotional system is over worked already!

There is a constant need to be with mom.  Mom seems to be her main security.  So when I say often I can’t go to the bathroom, the store, the gas station, etc. alone I really mean that.  And if I do get out alone, I have to tell her I am leaving, give her hugs over and over again before leaving.  And even at that often she’s crying when I leave.

Some of her fears have been very well founded…what if dad gets sick and dies…what if my dad falls when I am at home with him.  What if…those concerns are valid and we have had to try to deal with them as she has been able to voice them.

Cover school on Fridays…we finally gave that up.  It was too much drama.  She would literally sit in the hallway and cry the entire time she was there.

Church, dance, and other places we might go sometimes she would go and then even in some of her favorite places, there will be tears at times!

And can I say…that is literally a glimpse of what we have been dealing with.  I could keep adding to this list.  And you know we have to come through these seasons most of the time before we can share openly about them.  We struggled to share openly about these before.  We know that if you’ve had dealings with her over the past two years, you’ve probably encountered some of these issues.   We also know that some people can say well she just needs discipline.  But we know that is not true.  But well meaning people often judge incorrectly.  So we’ve not discussed much and we’ve done our best to try to protect her during this season.

We knew all these things we were seeing was not who Krisann was.  Krisann is the most fun-loving, sweetest child!  May be our sweetest child out of all three.  So when we slowly began to deal with all these issues at one time, you can imagine the emotional struggle we had.

So when I give you a glimpse of what we have been dealing with, I must give you an update.

Yes, I agreed to start my 7 year old on anxiety medicine.  Yes it killed my mommy heart.  Yes I take my 7 year old to see a psychiatrist.  Yes I take my 7 year old to counseling every other week.  But yes it made a difference! And yes, I am glad we made those decisions.  The counselor told me something that clicked and helped me see her in a new light.  Krisann is a product of trauma.  She is a trauma child.  Her formative years were classified by one trauma after another.  So I’ve been learning a lot about children of trauma.  I’ve been learning a lot about dealing with feelings and how we can learn to communicate feelings.

I’m happy to report that she has now slept in her bed 6 nights in a row.  Yes, we have rewards in place.  But she’s doing it!  And that’s huge.  I’m positive she would have never slept a night in bed without medication.

We successfully are going to cover school and to Classical Conversations.  I stay with her but we are going.  That’s better than last school year.

She’s not cried at church in quite awhile with the exception of one night.  She still needs to know when I am leaving but other than that she is good.

In the past month, she has chosen to stay at home while I go to the store and that is amazing progress.

I still seem to be her security a lot of times, but she is settling down some about that as well.

She has gone outside and swung on the swing set by herself.  Before medicine, she wouldn’t step foot outside alone.

I am able to devote more time with her to school and in just a few weeks, I can see a huge difference in her.  I have no doubt, that over this year, she is going to blossom educationally!  This child will read well one day!  We are making progress for sure.  But once again, reducing her anxiety is allowing her to have more room to do hard things.

Continue to pray for our sweet girl and for our parenting skills as we seek to raise all three of our children in the middle of stress and trauma!


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Myra Phillips

    Karen, I certain would not know this by the photos you post of her. She always looks so happy. I certainly will be praying for Krisann specifically as I pray for your family. My heart goes out to you, my friend.

  2. Nikki Watkins

    She is beautiful. Aniexty meds are from God also. You are a great mom.

  3. Karen

    She is definitely not a depressed child. She is the life of our house for sure. And she is a happy child. Just an anxiety driven child. Chloe is our depressed and anxious child. Krisann is just anxious! And it looks totally different. She can almost me hyper and attention deficit just due to being strung out like an eight day clock!

  4. Karen

    Thank you!! Yes, medicine can be from God. And it has definitely made a difference with her no doubt!! Thanks for the encouragement that I am a great mom! I definitely try to be! But I don't always succeed!

  5. Becci DeFrank

    Keeping you and that sweet girl in my prayers. We miss sure miss her around here.

  6. Terry DeBrow

    My granddaughter, Faith, has some of the same issues. She is 7 also and it's really tough. I may suggest this to my daughter

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