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Children and mental health

Happy Sunday, y’all! We’re half-way through the MHMRWNSJM with plenty of awesome still to come.

When I sent out a tweet asking for guest posters for the rally, I was excited to get a tweet from Kristin.

When we think mental illness, we automatically assume the person in question is an adult, like mental health issues can’t affect children.

Y’all, that’s so not true. Not at all.

Kristin’s post today is about her daughter.

Read Kristin’s words and then leave her some love.


As an adult I struggle with my own mental illness (I suffer from depression and also ADHD- inattentive type), there are good days and there are bad days. I have been working very hard on keeping my head above water and working hard at keeping my life in a good place. It’s hard.

But what’s even harder is being the parent of a 5 year old who suffers from mental illness. My 5 year old daughter suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder, General Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and also thanatophobia (fear of death).

My daughter’s ‘quirks’ started as an infant. She had to have this specific pacifier, her blanket and this little stuffed kitten with her always or it was meltdown city even at 2. This was also about the time we began to notice her hoarding behaviors. People would say that my husband and I were looking for things that weren’t there or that we were just picking on her for being different. Our pediatrician finally gave us a referral to a child psychologist when our daughter was 4 years old.

This first meeting the doctor noted that our daughter brought in a little orange back pack. The doctor questioned me about the back pack and I told her that this small back pack had to go everywhere with us. My daughter could tell you ever single item in this bag- there were 41 items of varying sizes etc. The doctor asked my daughter if she could look in the bag, my daughter said she could but she couldn’t have anything from it. As the doctor was looking in the bad she asked my daughter what was in the bag. My daughter was able to name all the items. The doctor was shocked. She said that she had never seen a child with such a compulsion as such a young age.

My daughter sees her psychologist every other week, and has for the last year and a half. We work through my daughter’s issues and we work on being the best parents for her possible.

Our daughter’s anxiety leads for hard times at family functions, school, or even on explaining simple things like why she cannot behave a certain way. People have asked us time and time again if medication would help her, and they assume that we are against medication because she currently is not on anything. We are not against medication; it’s just at this time we cannot determine if her anxiety is because of her sensory processing disorder or if it is a chemical imbalance.

We have our daughter involved in therapies and we are working on behavior modification for some of her other issues and it seems to be working well for her at this time in the game.

People often ask me if I feel I need to ‘fix’ her… and I always tell them, “No…. she isn’t broken. She’s just herself.”


Kristin is a mom of four, one boy and three girls, two of whom are twins. She writes the blog The Life and Times of Us about her family and her daughter’s special needs.

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Thursday 26th of May 2011

[...] Kristin: Children And Mental Health [...]

Nicci @ Changing the Universe

Monday 23rd of May 2011

Oh my, mental illness in children is so tough! But you are an amazing mother! You are doing great things for your child :)


Monday 23rd of May 2011

You are a wonderful mother. Don't ever doubt that for a second. xoxo

Laura Ellsworth

Sunday 22nd of May 2011

Kristin....I sooo empathize with you...our 5 year old (who's biomom passed when she was almost 13 months old...I married her dad) has been diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder with attachment trauma (not enough symptoms for the disorder, but enough to be significant). I as well suffer with disthymia (low grade depression) as a result of brain damage I suffered when I was a teen, and my daughter's actions often trigger things in me, so its not pretty. Her difficulties make for extremely hard times going out anywhere or in family events, and of course her biomom's family doesn't see her as having emotional problems...they think shes just either strong willed or precocious. Makes for "interesting" times. She sees a therapist every week, and I go see someone too....and we're working on behavior modification too....its never easy, but like you we do the best we can for her. Hopefully one day we'll be able to look back on these days as a phase she went through, and made it out the other side.


Sunday 22nd of May 2011

Wow. A lot of that sounds like my son. It is hard to so the right things while everyone judges you. I understand and think you are awesome for sharing.

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