10-yr-old daughter suffering anxiety for 1 year now

by Penny
(Asheville, NC)

My daughter has always been very independent. She was willing to spend the night away from me by age 7 without incident. She never needed my help with anything. And while I knew she loved me, she didn't need me to be with her. She could take me or leave me, so to speak. Then, last summer just after her 9th birthday, she went to girl scout overnight camp (2 nights) for the second summer in a row. However, she spent this trip begging the camp counselors to let her call me and telling them she needed her mom right away. Of course, they hear this all the time and didn't let her call me so I had no idea she was suffering as she had the best time at the same camp the year before. The only difference last summer was that she didn't receive my email letters as she was supposed to and as she had the year before. When she came home and told me how she struggled, I figured she just thought we forgot her because she didn't get our daily letters as she did the year before (even though we wrote and submitted them). But it has been 11 months since this incident and she is still unwilling to go anywhere but school without me.

And she struggle from frequent stomachaches and occasional headaches. She was unable to go to any of the overnight trips with girl scouts this year and missed a couple of friend sleep-overs as well. She has missed so much! My independent child has turned into a needy, clingy mess. (It is also notable that she changed schools at the beginning of this school year.)

Her younger brother was diagnosed with ADHD last fall and I suspect that she is also mildly ADHD. She is gifted and has always done exceptionally well in school. I never suspected ADHD for her because of that reason. But now she is constantly worried and fearful, starting to suffer a bit socially, and her grades have slipped from effortless "A"s to mostly "B"s.

Now that I am educated about ADHD, I make the connection for

her. However, I second guess that connection because I question that I am concluding ADHD because it is right there in our lives now (I see it in my husband too).

So my question is, can this just be a phase as I have told her? Or is there something more that we should be looking into? When I type it all out here, it seems obvious we should be looking into it. Mental Health is not covered in our insurance and we can't afford to pay for it out of pocket, especially this year. I can certainly have her evaluated and the Developmental and Behavioral Center I had my son evaluated (and diagnosed) at. But I have pushed that back for fear I am making the ADHD association because we are so close to it now.

I know you can't advise me from a few paragraphs in an email but I am wondering your general thoughts on this. Is it time to have her evaluated (she will panic though it because the specialist is in the hospital's outpatient center for children and she won't go there for her brother's appointments because it's a "hospital")? From reading the information on your site, it sounds like separation anxiety.

My blog about my son's ADHD (and sometimes about my daughter) is http://adhdmomma.blogspot.com if you'd like to read it.

Hi Penny

I think you probably need to get her evaluated. Perhaps you can find a service that is free or sliding fee in your area and then schedule her appointments every other week?

It certainly sounds like anxiety but you are correct in saying I can't diagnose her. It may be that you didn't see signs of anxiety before because she wasn't under the same amount of pressure or stress that she is now.

It also may be that she perceived something that occurred as traumatic and that is what is driving the behavior.

Either way, it seems to me that she could benefit from some help or you could benefit from some guidance.

I'm sorry to here about the insurance situation. I hope things get better with our health care system in the future.

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