Imagination or Anxiety?

Avatar for snowbabies97_98
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Imagination or Anxiety?
3
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 12:57pm

I posted this over at Child Bipolar & Mood Disorders also, not sure which board this belongs on:



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Hi all,



I'm new to this board, though not new to iVillage (although I've been just lurking for quite awhile).

Rebecca

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2007
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 8:31pm

There is anxiety, Anxiety, and ANXIETY! I can only tell you how I see it based on my experience.

Imagination can cause a feeling of fear and anxiety. I used to immerse myself in werewolf stories, and started dreaming not only of werewolves, but zombies - the living dead... and I'd never even seen or read a zombie story/movie! I started hearing dogs howling convinced they were right outside my window. I had scared myself silly, and I was older than your son! I realized I needed a huge break from all scary stuff, and it still took me some months to calm down about it. I would not see another werewolf movie or read werewolf stories for years, and when I did again, I just laughed at them.

Thoughts CAN cause anxiety.

Then there is Anxiety. We stress out. We worry. We may be dealing with chronic illness. Grief. Loss. Pain. Rejection. Fear. We feel anxious. We internalize. Again, thoughts can cause Anxiety... how we cope - the intersection of environment, genetics, and strategies we have learned. CBT -- Cognitive Behavior Therapy -- can help teach different coping strategies - how to change our thoughts and behavior.

Then there is ANXIETY. Some chemical glitch that can come out of the blue for no apparent reason. I had that when I was given a medication. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding. I'd feel the anxiety even without a thought to be anxious about, but THEN, I'd think of things to be anxious about. It was so unbelievably chemical, so it helped me understand some of what would happen to my own children.

One of my daughters had major fear from hallucinations - sounds, visions, pain etc. This fear can look like "anxiety." She also had major anxiety episodes from encountering insects she had a phobia of. Again... triggered by fear. Oddly, anxiety escalated from what was given to her for depression - an antidepressant. The other daughter flat out had anxiety and panic attacks. Very chemical. CBT helped even her! But an emergency med was always helpful to have on hand. You mention one child scared of dogs. Too bad, because the younger one eventually figured out she could rely on her DOG'S senses, and she could relax! Dogs can be a great "medication!"

Both had multiple issues going on - food sensitivities, sleep disorders, hormone stuff. Maybe everything started with not getting enough sleep. Maybe it was inflammation from the Celiac. I will never know.

But they are doing well now.



Avatar for snowbabies97_98
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 10:21pm
Thanks so much for your post, it was very helpful. Yes, it is too bad our youngest has a fear of dogs, DS would love to have one, and it would be perfect for his anxiety, if that's what it is. I've only read a little about CBT, could that work for DD's fear of dogs as well as DS's anxiety?

Rebecca

Rebecca

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2007
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 9:04am

> I've only read a little about CBT, could that work for DD's fear of dogs as well as DS's anxiety?

It probably could help with your son's anxiety especially if it is just caused by his imagination, especially combined with some environmental changes. But even if he is hallucinating sounds, it can help him deal with them. "Funny" (not) but anxiety sometimes gets misdiagnosed as having hallucinations, and vice versa, so be careful of that trap. Psychiatric diagnoses are just labeling observed symptoms... Almost guessing at times.

CBT is done by psychologists, trained therapists, LCSWs specially trained in CBT, so you would want to be SURE they really know CBT. There are also workbook available for self-help.

As for your daughter.... good question! If it is a true Phobia, I think maybe not, but there IS a type of therapy even for a true phobia. How successful it is may depend on the severity and how cooperative the person is. I had an uncle who had a severe phobia of dogs that was interfered with his life - limiting him. As an adult he finally did the phobia therapy. I really admire him for it. He came to my older daughter's 16th birthday party and touched our dog. WOW WOW, WOW! There would have been a time he wouldn't have even been able to come. I wish I had asked him more about the therapy. I know it has something to do with relaxation. CBT is involved. But so is exposure in a specific, graduated way.

I have one phobia. It is very very severe. I started the therapy and I did not trust nor respect the therapist, so that was doomed from the start. He had me work on relaxation, and then said I'd have to start taking ant-anxiety medication before the real stuff began, and I just dropped out. I've been living in an area for the past several decades where my exposure to the object I am phobic of is very rare-- like years can go by, so I may never go through it.

My husband on the other hand had a "phobia" - fear of heights, but he can push himself through it. Ironically, he is a pilot - has no problem in a plane. But going on the roof.... I climb towers for him. No problem. But He DOES sometimes go up on the roof. With my type of phobia, it is so severe that I am ashamed, but I don't think I would not be able to save myself or my own children if the choice was them/me or deal with the thing I am phobic about. I can be hypervigilant about it, and the fear bypasses the thinking part of my brain - I feel and react straight from my amygdala. I know what caused mine, and "they" say that is half the battle, but "they" were wrong.

Like I said... there are different severities of phobias.

My older daughter used to be mildly "phobic", ie fearful, about dogs but it turned out that her fears were caused by an aunt of hers, and we got a very very sweet gentle-playful dog that she was at first afraid of but they became very VERY good friends. I have photos of her dressing him up as a reindeer, laughing while they played tug, etc.