Mom blog: Because I Said So! Children’s Mental Health Week: Kids with social anxiety

social_phobiaa.jpgHi! To tie up Children’s Mental Health Week, I welcome a guest blogger to Canadian Living’s Mom Blog. Let me introduce Darlene, who has been advocating for her daughter for more than three years now. As Darlene knows, you can (and she has) read textbooks on anxiety disorders, but in the end we seem to learn best from other people’s stories. So here is Darlene’s and her daughter’s.

Guest blogger Darlene’s journey
We knew from the start that something wasn’t right with our daughter because she was always so sad. At the age of 1 1/2 the crying was more than just colic, and even the slightest changes in environment would catapult her into a frenzy. Inevitably the stress of caring for a little person so inconsolable had me at my doctor’s office in tears. I explained to her that no child should seem so unhappy…help!! I went into that appointment with the frame of mind that if it was something physical that was causing her problems, let’s figure it out; if it’s just behavioural, that‘s fine, but help me find someone that can help me deal with it. So, in order to help diagnose her problems, we ventured into the crazy world of appointments, blood tests, psychologists, hearing tests and the waiting lists.

Our daughter was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in 2005. As everyone knows, raising children is always a challenge, but when you have a wonderful child who is just not adjusting to the world and you know that everyday life is a struggle, you become an advocate for your child. There was nothing we wouldn’t do for her. So began our endless journey: therapy sessions, a family counsellor at The George Hull Centre, speech therapy (she was selectively mute, which impeded her speech and language development), occupational therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, naturopaths (to help with several serious food allergies), developmental assessments, psychologist, psychiatrists… well, you get the idea.

Our daughter has come a very long way since that day in the doctor’s office, but it wouldn’t have happened without the help of all those wonderful professionals.

As a result of our good and bad experiences, and our fight for what was right for our daughter, I started 2008 off with a mission. I was sure that we weren’t the only family in the Greater Toronto Area dealing with a SAD child who was having trouble learning to become a part of their world. Support for families and caregivers is so crucial for everyone’s well being, and it really has been a challenge to find. I was determined to find a source of support or start one of my own.

During my search I found a wonderful organization whose philosophy and ideas were exactly what I was looking for. Families of Kids with Mood and Anxiety Disorders (FKMAD) is a non-profit organization based out of Florida that has a wealth of great resources at its disposal, and as of February 2008 I have officially become the contact for FKMAD in the Greater Toronto Area. My goal for this support group is to provide parents/caregivers an open forum in which to share resources, support and success stories so we can help our wonderful children thrive.

For more information please contact me:

You go, girl! The meetings are held in Toronto, but Facebook and Darlene’s blog have no such geographical limits. Please check them out. Sharing ideas and supporting each other are major keys to dealing with any kind of mental health issue.


One Response

  1. […] I had the opportunity last week to guest Blog on the Canadian Living Mom Blog. What a joy it was to tell people about our journey through Social Anxiety with our daughter. If you have a chance check out the link… […]

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