Category Archives: ADHD/OCD Kids

The Vicious Cycle of Sleep Anxiety

Amy is almost 12 years old and suffers from anxiety. She has done all her life. She was born this way. She also has OCD. We go through phases of various things causing flareups, such as school, food, holidays, family etc, it could be anything. But at the moment her main problem is getting to sleep at night. She’s disturbed by every tiny little noise, every creak or footstep, every cough and sniff. Her hearing seems to have magic powers when she’s lying in bed with the lights out, trying to get to sleep. During the day she is often plagued by repetitive sounds or noises, especially music, but it’s not a problem that can’t be overcome. Night time is the worst.

We’ve had conversations about this. I’ve explained it’s her inner saboteur, her chimp brain, trying to get attention amplifying her worries, and that it’s not her fault. She gets so frustrated. She cries a lot. She will come downstairs at 11:00pm saying she’s too hot and too cold and has been woken by some imperceptible creak. She feels the need to tell me each time she’s woken. I’ve said that if she goes to sleep and gets woken up by little noises she shouldn’t let it make her feel angry. It’s the anger that’s preventing her from going back to sleep. I’ve explained it’s normal to fall asleep and wake up several times at the beginning of sleep, that it doesn’t matter and she shouldn’t worry if she doesn’t go straight to sleep first time.

But it seems that nothing I say can prevent her chimp brain from causing her distress. Her lack of sleep gives her leg aches, headaches, a feeling of exhaustion and makes her anxiety worse. She becomes more controlling and bossy over the rest of us and flies into rages and bursts out crying more readily.

How awful it is to have a part of you that tries to make life unpleasant and stressful. She eats her breakfast and goes to school just like any other child, but all the time inside she’s battling the many thoughts and urges that steer her towards self-destruction and pain. Isn’t that sad?

Today we’ve decided to put a fan in her room (facing the wall) in the hope the unobtrusive droning noise will block out all the individual creaks of someone walking to the loo or coughing in the next room. Perhaps that’ll work? I will let you know. I only hope it doesn’t make the room extra cold.


On the day of the American Presidential election, when Joe Biden looks as if he may actually get enough votes to win (please God), and Donald Trump is screaming electoral fraud, demanding that vote counting be stopped, and stoking the possibility of violence at the ballot box, England has entered the first day of the second national lockdown.

It’s also fireworks night. Celebrations are muted this year. A couple of hours of fireworks going off in people’s back gardens, hand-held sparklers in the porch by the front door, and then silence. No big displays this year. The kids are normally disturbed by loud noises and screaming fireworks until about midnight and beyond, but this year it’s deadly quiet by 9:00pm. Which is strange (but good).

I’m pretty tired. I need the weekend to recoup – I need to spend some time in bed. I need rest. Things have been so busy and non-stop lately. And the weather’s turned cold, although still not nearly as cold as it should be at this time of year compared to my childhood when it was frost and hats and gloves.

For three weeks before the lockdown I asked Jack if he would please allow me to take him to the barbers for a haircut, but each time he loudly protested. “I will NEVER get a haircut!” ADHD/ASC means he doesn’t answer questions politely or reasonably, or even sensibly. Each week it was the same answer. NEVER.

ON THE DAY OF LOCKDOWN, TODAY, Jack asks for a haircut. Practically begs for one. All hairdressers are closed of course so there’s no chance for a haircut for a month at the very least, but he was inexplicably suddenly desperate, so I had to do a DIY session with him standing in the bath and me wielding a beard trimmer (I don’t have a pair of clippers). I didn’t get a chance to get my own highlights done, so I’m going to be going grey for Christmas. I wish I’d organised a trip to the hairdressers before lockdown started. Too late now.

Ah well, perhaps I’ll wake up tomorrow to hear that Biden has officially won. That’ll take a great weight off my shoulders, if not the entire’ world’s shoulders. We want to see the back of the pouting, tantrumming man-child that’s occupied The Whitehouse for four excruciating years.