I didn’t know I had anxiety as a child, but I did. As a child, I was extremely shy and didn’t speak to people unless they were my best friend. No one picked up on my anxiety because they just assumed I was extremely shy, and that it was more of a personality trait. It also didn’t help that I never told anyone about how I felt and the fact that my heart would beat fast every time I had to speak to others and my body and mind would numb itself.

A mother shares her story of how she found she and her child had anxiety.

When I found out

Getting the phone call

I had received a phone call from my son’s play-school teacher telling me that my son was showing signs of anxiety and that it was best that we see a therapist as soon as possible, as he was having a difficult time adjusting to school. Normally, children take about 2-3 weeks to get adjusted to a new environment, but my son was past this point and the teachers were worried. My initial response, as a mother, was to get help immediately for my child. I knew he had separation anxiety as a baby, and as a result he was attached to me both physically (he wanted to be held day and night and I had to be in his eye’s view at all times) and emotionally as an infant and as a toddler. I thought that he would grow out of this phase as he reached preschool age, but that was not the case it seemed like.

The questionnaire

It wasn’t until a therapist was diagnosing my own child, that I realized I had all of the symptoms of anxiety that my child was showing. Before my child’s first therapy appointment, I was given a questionnaire to fill out, this questionnaire would help the therapist diagnose my child. As I was filling out the questionnaire, I couldn’t help but feel like I was filling out my own answers. A part of me was starting to feel guilty; I started to question if I given my anxiety to my child…Perhaps he had picked up on my behaviour and habits without me even knowing and now we both were suffering…

Meeting the therapist

The therapist had agreed with the teachers and had diagnosed my child with an anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism; however, she said she was hopeful he would get better with her help and with the help of his teachers at school. Before she started the therapy sessions, the therapist asked about my history and if I had experienced any anxiety, and that’s when I described my childhood to her. I had told her that I didn’t even know I had anxiety until I started to fill out the questionnaire, but everything made total sense now!

I also informed her that I had improved a lot over the years, but it took me a very long time to get to where I was. In fact, I didn’t start to see a change in myself until I was in my twenties. I then went on to tell the therapist that my biggest fear is my child suffering the same way I did for so long and that I would do anything to get him the help he needed. So, with that, my son’s therapy sessions began and after a year he was a completely different person!

Where I’am today

I would say that my anxiety has improved over the years, but it still exists and affects my daily life. It can be difficult to explain to people how I feel and why I feel this way, especially when they haven’t experienced anxiety themselves. I have learned some techniques to cope with anxiety from my son’s therapist, but sometimes the anxiety takes over and I have no control. I still feel numb and frozen sometimes, and as a result I feel helpless. Having amazing and supportive friends and family surround me makes my life manageable and for that I’m very grateful!

12 comments on “How I Found Out I Had Anxiety”

  1. I loved reading this! I can totally relate! I’m exactly the same subhan’Allah. I never talk about this to anyone because nobody understands and they just think that’s how my persoanlity is. Thank you so much for sharing this and in’shaa’Allah your son will get even better as time passes xoxo

    • Thank you so much sis! I can understand how you feel, not everyone get’s why we are so reserved and why we hold back our feelings. I had come to a point where I was holding so much of my feelings in that I would randomly burst and then feel horrible about it. It certainly was not a healthy way of life for me and was draining. Alhamdulilah, I feel like I can now communicate a little better, although I still have trouble with fully expressing how I feel. May Allah make it easier for you and for anyone else suffering from anxiety!

  2. I would love to hear your techniques for coping with anxiety, maybe you can write a follow-up piece. I did not suffer from anxiety as a child but for the past 10 years I have been suffering from it and I don’t understand where it comes from, but I know what triggers it. Driving on on motorway. I can no longer do this. I have stopped completely because I will cause an accident as my body totally shuts down and I cannot turn the wheel of the car. I use to run a business when I was younger driving on the motorway most days no problem, so I don’t know why I am like this now. Now I only drive locally around my city and will take a train if I have to go further. Thanks, sharing.

  3. It’s amazing how much we learn about ourselves through the behaviour of our children. It’s happened to me too in other ways. I’m glad that you’ve find ways to manage your own anxieties whilst helping your son to overcome his. I look forward to your post outlining the techniques that helped to p do this,inshaAllah.

  4. I think I would have found it offensive for the preschool/nursery to call me asking me2 take my child to a therapist…
    I had a similar scenario when my son was small from the age of 2 until he was 5 I was told he was autistic because he’s preschool teachers assumed so because he didn’t integrate well in the class & he liked to play in a certain way..
    Bottom line is, you’re very brave to have endured all of that & come out with a positive & learned how to cope with it Masha’Allah!

  5. Alhamdulillah, I am so glad you found out for yourself and your son. May Allah give you both abundant ease, and reward you for helping him and others ameen.

  6. JazakAllah Khayr for sharing this. I would love to know how you cope with it; it would help so many people. Also how do you feel when you’re anxious? I sometimes wonder if I have anxiety and I don’t really know how to go about it. I do breathing exercises when I remember and it helps but that’s pretty much it.

  7. SubhanAllah – there is so much we can learn about ourselves after we have our children. I’m glad you were able to overcome your anxiety and iA as you are more aware you will be able to facilitate and help your child too.

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