School Anxiety

Posted on: Thu, 09/28/2006 - 11:01pm
Lindajo's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

My PA DD started middle school this year. At first, she didn't have the usual anxiety her friends had before school started about the new school, the change in cirriculum, etc. She was excited. I thought that was because she was my fourth and she had been in that school numerous times before with my older kids, so she was a bit familiar with the school.

The first week and a half of school seemed like a smooth transition. Then it hit. The eighth day of school, the nurse called and said that my DD was in her office and felt nauseous and I'd better come get her. I couldn't pick her up for 3 hours (another long story), but anyway, I took her home and she ended up being out of school for 6 days after that. She was complaining of stomach ache, nausea, headache...so I took her to the doc thinking it might be strep. The throat culture came back negative, but the overnight came back that she had something else growing in her throat and they treated her for it.

Here we are up to this week. Every morning, it is a struggle to get her to go to school. She complains of a stomach ache every morning. Oh, she has lost a lot of weight, too, but has gotten taller, and the doc said that was fine when I questioned it. So, this week, she went to school 3 out of the five days. One day she went to the nurse again, feeling like vomiting and the nurse (who I'm not liking these days) saw her coming and told her to go back to class. I told my DD that if she really felt like vomiting, she has my permission to do it right there in the nurse's office, on her shoe if she has to, then she has no choice but to believe her.

She is home again today, complaining of not only a stomachache, but also a backache. She did have dance last night so I thought she may have over-worked a muscle there. I gave her some tylenol and she fell asleep.

I'm at a loss as to what might be wrong. Is it delayed anxiety setting in? I'm very frustrated dealing with this every morning and want to see her feeling better. She seems fine other times, but there are times when she says her stomach hurts after eating just a little bit. Any ideas?

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 12:08am
LindyLovesA's picture
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Joined: 08/10/2006 - 09:00

Has she started menstrating yet? My first thought given the age, "stomach" and back aches was that...

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 1:12am
Anonymous's picture
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How is she after school hours and on weekends?
Could she be getting bullied? or have an extremely nasty teacher?

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 4:13am
Lindajo's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

Thank you for your responses. No, she hasn't started menstruating yet. Her doc said not for a few years at least. After school and on the weekends, the stomachache comes and goes. No bullies that I know of. She is the kind of kid that would tell me that and I've met all her teachers, and they seem very nice. We talk after her day at school and again, she would tell me if her teachers were nasty to her.
She has lost a lot of weight, but I thought it was just her slimming down stage as she did get taller. But, since her last check up last year, it has been about 10 lbs. Last weekend she was 93 lbs and when I took her to the doc a few days later, she was 91. But they didn't seem to be too concerned with that. I'm just wondering if it might be related.
She just ate a good lunch and so far so good.

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 4:19am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

I echo both of the above posts (dd is now in middle school too). Getting her period or even starting that cycle can cause headaches and various cramps. DD also got migraine type headaches that made her feel like she was going to throw up, when she was starting. And looking into the total school situation is also a good idea.
I also applaud your comment about ignoring the nurse, who should not be turning a child who feels ill away w/o checking her out. This is irresponsible - especially this early in the year where she is not as familiar with all of the health concerns etc... the kids may have.

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 4:27am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

You replied while I was typing!
Even though she is not yet menstrating, I do remember the first few months before dd started she was quite tired, had headaches, and all. She was under alot of pressure with a big part in a play, and I thought some of that was just due to worry but, perhaps it was a physical thing too.
I know your doctor says "not yet", but those type of rules are broken all the time with no long term ill effects.
Also, does dd eat differently on the weekdays vs. weekends - such as no lunch (I never ate my lunch in hs) different breakfast, etc... Maybe something is not agreeing with her.
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited September 29, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 6:56am
TNAmom's picture
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Joined: 11/29/2005 - 09:00

The girl reminds me of me, when I was in eighth grade. I began suffering with extreme nausea in the lat few months of the school year. I never actually got sick, but I constantly felt like I was going to vomit when I was in class. It was all I could do to try to catch what the teacher was saying and not just run out.
I was not new to the school. It was my second year there, but I was miserable. It was really huge, full of kids, the teachers were cold, and I was shy. And there were problems at home with my mother's illnesses.
Finally, the end of the school year came. The first day of summer break, I woke up and felt fine. And I continued to feel fine.
It must have been stress. I cannot think of another explanation. But though we can perhaps say "it's in her head", the physical symptoms are very real, and they're awful.
The next year I went to a small private school. I did much better there.
I feel for your daughter. It's tough, and I hope she gets relief soon. I wouldn't be 14 years old again for the world.

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 7:41am
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Joined: 07/09/2000 - 09:00

I know stress can give us so many different symptoms. I know when I was in 5th grade, I had a stomach ache almost every morning before school. I think I missed over 30 days of school that year. It wasn't because there was anything bad happening-- as a matter of fact, it was because the teacher really liked me and would choose me to do everything. I didn't like all the extra attention (would rather be in the background than out in front of everybody). The teacher would give me the lead parts in the little skits we were doing that year in our reading classes, she would choose me to take part in the assemblies, etc. The stomach aches were very real and I still remember some of those mornings there is no way I could go to school.
I would also not rule out a medical problem. My daughter started the same type of thing in 2nd grade. I assumed it was something to do with stress. It began after about two weeks of school. I had two different physicians tell me it was stress. She was taking Maalox every day and prescriptive medication for an ulcer. We did this all year long - then at the end of the year she ended up with an emergency appendectomy and they also found a hiatal hernia. I'm NOT saying that that is what you are dealing with - it just happened to be how it worked in our case- but I would suggest that you really have this checked out from a medical point of view before you totally dismiss it as stress or let a physician dismiss it as stress just because it coincides with school starting. Then, if there is no medical reason they can find, you can know how to appropriately deal with it.

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2006 - 8:21am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I don't have any words of advice, but just wanted to say that I'm sorry that your DD is going through this. . . I hope this resolves for you all soon. Gail

Posted on: Sat, 09/30/2006 - 12:47am
Lindajo's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

Thanks, Gail.
It is the weekend and she did wake me up today about 4 am and said her throat hurts again. She's on med for that, so don't know what's up there. Maybe just that dry throat you get when you wake up. She's still complaining of her back hurting, but she's not moping on the couch either. I'm a bit puzzled. I'm going to keep my eye on her all weekend and see what happens.
I'm wondering if this might be anxiety due to the fact that I don't work in her school anymore. For all her elementary years, I was there in the kitchen. I'm wondering if maybe she's lost that sense of security she had knowing I was there. I don't know. She hasn't said anything when I ask her. Maybe she feels like she has to "grow up" now that she's in middle school. My thoughts on that is that she'll grow up when she's ready. Maybe by the end of the school year, she'll be happy I wasn't there, but right now its all an adjustment for her.
I was told once that "she's in middle school now, you have to let her grow up." and "are you going to follow her to HS too?" Its not a question of me not letting her grow up. She's going to do that whether I'm ready for it or not. And, I'm not worried about HS right now, just day to day, while she's in middle school. That's enough to deal with for now.

Posted on: Sat, 09/30/2006 - 5:09am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Lindajo I think/know that middle school is one of the toughest times in a child's life. If I had considered having a third child I would not due to the thought of another middle school experience.
Is there a principal or counselor at the school you can speak to? I sat with our principal three times (Private school) during my DD's middle school years and each time she had a handle on the situation and a soultion (that worked) before I left the office.
Maybe she or the both of you need to sit down with someone and figure out the anxiety she is experiencing. Middle school girls can be VICIOUS and I had enough experience of my own to know this is true. Plus I saw it happening to my DD. It is a very tough age.
Peg

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