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Anxiety running in family

Community Member

Hi all,

This is my first post here.

To start with, my daughter (now 7) has Selective Mutism (childhood anxiety disorder) due to which she is unable to speak to most of the people apart from us parents. This is been going on for a while (We noticed when she was 3-4 year old). Though we are trying to do everything we can from our side, the progress is pretty slow and it is very stressful for us parents.

I try a lot to study about anxiety related disorders to help my daughter. While doing that, we also figured that my wife too has lots of symptoms of social and generalised anxiety. And this is been going on from more than 20 years (from her teenage times). This went unnoticed and she did not had any intervention so far. We went to consult a psychologist in this regard. Now the problem is, psychologist is only seeing last 4 years where we both were overwhelmed by daughter’s condition and trying to treat just that. But, they are not looking at 20 years of struggle without intervention.

I think it is good to understand the problem before jumping on solution. There are lots of things which she cannot do which is putting lots of stress on me.

What do you think is the right next step:

1. Go ahead as per psychologist and concentrate on last 4 years struggle first and then look at other things?
2. Consult psychiatrist for detailed assessment.

Problem with 1 is, my daughter’s problem isn’t going away in short time. Hence, I don’t see any escape in stress related to that.

3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Voldemort~

Welcome to the Forum, you and your wife are facing what appears to be a difficult decision and maybe others here can help.

I guess the first thing I should ask is if your daughter is receiving treatment for her disorder? I would imagine if she is both your wife and yourself would have a significant hand in it.

During your researches you came to the conclusion that above and beyond the stressful situation you are in now your wife has a history of anxiety going back years, however either your psychologist does not recognize this or considers the more immediate situation more important.

I guess from a pragmatic pint of view are you, your wife and daughter deriving significant benefit from the therapy provided? If that is the case then it would seem logical to continue with it.

There are many who have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist, however this is not necessarily something that will change your current medical support. How does your wife feel about this, is she content to go along with things as they are, or would she like a diagnosis of what might be long-term problem? It is her decision after all.

You are right about the ongoing stress, and I'd expect your psychologist has already addressed this in terms of lifestyle and stress reduction, is that the case?

I'd like it if you come back and talk some more


Community Member

Hi Croix,

Thanks for the response. Yes, daughter is going through therapy from last 3-4 years. It is mixed bag -it has helped us and we had a time where felt it is not effective. But, one thing is clear, more we understand the condition, it is helping us to demand psychologist for specific things to try. We have not given up on therapy so far.

With wife, it is different. She is not sure what she should do and she wants me to take call. She acknowledges she is been suffering from this for very long time. But, during psychologist session, she tend to speak more about daughter's situation than hers. And it has probably made her psychologist think that imminent problem is higher. On the other hand, it is also bit difficult to do things which psychologist asked her to do. For example, she asked her to list source of her worries whenever she feels worried. But, she is definitely not doing it. If I happen to be there at that time with her and if I remind her, she sometimes does it.

We just had two sessions with psychologist for wife. So far, it has become platform for my wife to vent her frustrations about daughter's condition and nothing else. Hence, nothing else is addressed. We actually had prepared list of symptoms and issues we are facing. But, so far, none of them are discussed. Psychologist is saying lets take it one at a time.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Voldemort~

It sounds as if you and your wife are learning to steer you daughter's treatment in productive ways, that's great.

Now of course the same many need to happen with your wife, I don't realy know. Actually if the top issue of your wife's anxiety at the moment is your daughter's ongoing condition then yes, that is what she will talk about, probably to the exclusion of everything else.

This of course may have the net effect that the psych concentrates on the wrong client, you daughter rather than your wife. Do you think this is the case?

From the sound of it reminding your wife to write down her worries when you can sounds most productive. There are stages of anxiety, or at least there have been for me, where the self is disregarded, and has to be brought back into focus.

It may sound silly but there have been times I've not even been conscious I've had a bad headache, just lived with it while the mind was occupied with worries elsewhere. Maybe you wife's difficulty in collecting her thoughts and writing them down might be the same sort of thing.

Does the psych read the lists?

Please let us know how things go