Tag Archives: children

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.

Three Months of Grim Winter Lockdown Easing, at Last

The children are going back to school as this long winter lockdown finally begins to ease. In the UK, cases of Covid-19 are now low, most vulnerable and older people, including myself, have been vaccinated. I believe the chance of any of us getting the illness, and especially of getting it so severely that we need hospital treatment, is very low. At the moment I feel positive, more so than at any time in the past year (apart from perhaps July/August 2020).

I’d be happy for our children not to have to wear masks all day at school. I think it’s still a wise policy for adults in confined spaces, but for kids to have to wear them every day, six hours per day, is too much, and probably not even necessary. Let them be free, I say. I very much doubt my kids are going to give me, or anyone else, Covid, especially since they’ll be doing lateral flow tests every week.

The Cooking Problem

It’s Day 2 of the January national lockdown and I have cooked ALL the dishes and ALL the recipes, and now I don’t know WHAT to cook for the seven meals the kids will require tomorrow.

We’ve already had:
Baked potatoes
Cold meat
Fish fingers
Chinese takeaway
Baked beans on potato waffles
Scrambled eggs

School lunches may not be very nice (especially with the lack of a salad buffet) but at least I didn’t have to dream them up day after day.

Looking in the fridge for inspiration I see:
7 x mini yoghurts
One block of cheese
A few vegetables

I’ve already spent ALL my money on ALL the food, but I’ll have to go to the supermarket yet again tomorrow. I’m going every other day and spending about £50. This can’t go on!

In The Minds of Young Twins

Here is a brief snippet of a randomly selected early morning:

[We are in a rush leaving the house to go to primary school]

Amy: can I have a plait?

Me: Well Amy, you always pull them straight out and we’re in a hurry. We’re going now.

Amy: <shouting> I want a plait!! I promise I won’t pull it out, I promise, oh please… <stamping, crying, shouting>

Me: you’ll just pull it out straight away like you always do. Now come on, it’s time to go.

Amy: <screaming> AAAAHHHHH I WANT A PLAIT, AAAAAAAAAHHHH <stamping foot on floor, screaming> I promise I won’t pull it out, I won’t pull it oouutttttt!!

Me: <sighing, eye rolling> ok, STAY THERE <she has shoes and coat on and the front door is open. We almost made it outside> I’ll go and get the band <I take my shoes off, go upstairs and get the band then come back downstairs>

Amy: Actually I don’t want a plait.

Me: But you just begged for one and made me go all the way upstairs to get the band?!!?

Amy: <wailing> DADDY, I want daddy!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH <sobbing and crying as if I have done her a great injury or injustice>

Jack: <crying with tears streaming down his face> I want a plaaaaait!!!