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Old 02-19-2019, 06:52 PM   #1
Blueberrybook
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Sorry, a lot of this is copied from the bipolar check-in thread and the parenting forum. I am also sorry this is a long post. I'm beyond exhausted and at my wits' end.

My daughter (11 years old) had insomnia last night and kept getting more and more anxious as the night wore on, waking me and crying. She did not go to sleep until 5 or 5:30 AM. After she kept waking me, I could not go back to sleep after 2 AM. Woke her around 10:30 AM, had a sort of brunch and took her to school around noon (though she's still counted absent). I only got her to sleep giving her children's Benadryl, but this keeps happening more & more frequently (though usually not this extreme, and this is the 1st time I resorted to children's Benadryl).

I just don't know what to do to help her.

Truthfully, my daughter has never been a good sleeper. She never slept through the night as a baby, maybe not even most of the time as a 1 year old. I always had to nurse her to get her to sleep or to fall back to sleep, and naps, just forget it. Not even nursing helped with that. Wouldn't nap as a pre-schooler, and her sleep seems to be getting worse.

I am concerned too because I was never a good sleeper (even as a baby & toddler, I was a terrible sleeper according to my mother & grandmother). I don't remember ever not having sleep difficulties except while on psych meds. And I've heard difficulty sleeping can be associated with psych issues later on. I am bipolar, it runs on my mom's side of the family, again and again, and I worry my sleep problems may have meant there was something to look out for, though again, I had a lot of other issues that are common in eating disorders, and I was always a highly anxious, worried child, and I'm afraid my daughter has a lot of anxiety as well.

My daughter gets so anxious about insomnia on a school night, she is crying the later it gets and she still hasn't fallen asleep and knows there is school the next day. I never got so worked up I was crying about my insomnia as a pre-teen, even if it had me highly anxious. But last night, she was crying, whimpering off and on from midnight until nearly 5 AM (getting increasingly worse), which was when I finally gave in and had her take children's Benadryl, which thankfully worked.

But neither my husband nor I want to use medication to get her to sleep, and my husband even vetoed her pediatrician's suggestion of trying melatonin. My husband vetoed tht Benadryl last night, but after so many hours and with him asleep for the worst ones, I gave in. But I can't give her melatonin as the doctor suggested if my husband is against it. Ugh!
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:41 AM   #2
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But neither my husband nor I want to use medication to get her to sleep, and my husband even vetoed her pediatrician's suggestion of trying melatonin. My husband vetoed tht Benadryl last night, but after so many hours and with him asleep for the worst ones, I gave in. But I can't give her melatonin as the doctor suggested if my husband is against it. Ugh!
Why would you allow your husband to usurp what the doctor suggests? Since you do not want to try medication it is a safe alternative. Think about the distress you are allowing your daughter to suffer. You have a duty as her mother to help her. What is your husband's issue with melatonin or meds? Is he the one who is up with her all night? If you have bipolar and are worried that your daughter also has a mental illness then she needs to see a psychiatrist. Early intervention is what sets a kid up for success. My last daughter was suicidal and went inpatient at age 11, It was the best thing that could have happened. She got therapy and meds and has developed really good skills now.
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:52 PM   #3
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Parenting without both parents being on the same page on an issue that affects their child does not make for a healthy marriage. Fighting about it would be inevitable, and already this last year (2018) was a horrible year for my marriage with things just now mending. H is a wonderful, involved father. He loves our daughter as much as I do. So what, I'm supposed to go behind his back, he'd find out from my daughter about it anyway, and then everyone would be upset. That's not healthy either.
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:53 PM   #4
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Parenting without both parents being on the same page on an issue that affects their child does not make for a healthy marriage. Fighting about it would be inevitable, and already this last year (2018) was a horrible year for my marriage with things just now mending. H is a wonderful, involved father. He loves our daughter as much as I do. So what, I'm supposed to go behind his back, he'd find out from my daughter about it anyway, and then everyone would be upset. That's not healthy either.
Its not going behind his back if you see a doctor, get a diagnosis and a treatment recommendation and one of those is medication. There is scientific evidence to support the use of medications sometimes. Would he be the one who knows more than the doctor? Would he be the one who when provided with empirical evidence, ignores it and does what he wants to? This is your daughter we are talking about, I am sure she wants good sleep. Even if medication is not something you or he wants to do, surely melatonin would be ok. There are links upon links to be found supporting the use of melatonin being safe and effective and particularly safe for kids when medication is not needed or wanted. I do not think decisions about your daughter should be left up to him. And I do not think you should have to go behind his back, nor should he influence you to do that.
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:04 PM   #5
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Its not going behind his back if you see a doctor, get a diagnosis and a treatment recommendation and one of those is medication. There is scientific evidence to support the use of medications sometimes. Would he be the one who knows more than the doctor? Would he be the one who when provided with empirical evidence, ignores it and does what he wants to? This is your daughter we are talking about, I am sure she wants good sleep. Even if medication is not something you or he wants to do, surely melatonin would be ok. There are links upon links to be found supporting the use of melatonin being safe and effective and particularly safe for kids when medication is not needed or wanted. I do not think decisions about your daughter should be left up to him. And I do not think you should have to go behind his back, nor should he influence you to do that.
What if the tables were turned? If he really, really felt strongly about giving X med to my daughter, and I felt equally strongly I didn't want her to take it, but he gave it to her anyway without my wanting him to? It goes both ways. He is such a good father, if only every kid could have a dad like him. He doesn't know tons about psych issues except what he's seen/heard through me and some training he got one time.

H is also not stupid. He knows about scientific evidence and how it can be slanted. He's got a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry (from the Nobel Laureate Rick Smalley, deceased) and is a professor of Industrial Engineering. He has written and co-authored many publications (even some in the biomedicine field at a previous job). He has witnessed and heard about scientists intentionally slanting evidence for publications and/or government grants, and so have I (M.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology, though my studies focused on bacteria with a thesis & publication dealing with bacterial cell wall protein transport, not medicine or the human body). And then less than a week ago, I actually did read a recent article from a reputable journal suggesting the evidence linking melatonin and sleep may not be as strong as initially thought.

H's problems with melatonin are: they don't know how much is the key amount to take for effectiveness, how often to take it (nightly or not?) and its long-term safety. His main concern is that supplements like melatonin are not regulated by the FDA. So these are the issues my husband has with giving melatonin to his child too, and they are all valid issues. They are not stupid concerns.

I can't just discount him as a parent.

Last edited by Blueberrybook; 02-20-2019 at 06:37 PM..
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Old 02-21-2019, 04:19 AM   #6
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Ugh, it happened another night. I think she is getting sleep anxiety. I think (unfortunately) if it keeps happening this much, H might feel differently about the melatonin. At any rate, we'd need the dosing; it was around a year ago I called about it, and now my daughter has grown so much, she is the size of a small adult woman, 5'1" tall, just over 100 lb.

H would have the time to call the pediatrician's office himself and speak with the doctor or a nurse who can relay a message from the doctor. Given that my daughter is not on any medications except the occasional children's Claritin and no prescription meds, he case should be easier with the doctor.

Worst comes to worst, if we have to see the pediatrician, we will. First, I'd just have H call there with the problem instead of relaying what the doctor and nurse may say secondhand. If we have to see the pediatrician in person, I know he would come too and hear what the doctor says. We have been seeing her since my daughter was a newborn, so we are all comfortable with her. I think if it does get so bad a psychiatrist or therapist becomes necessary, H will finally give in though I am sure he'd go for the therapy route first since it won't involve medication.

As far a psych trauma, my daughter does have some. My husband has had some periods of unemployment where we didn't know how we'd afford to pay the mortgage on the house. Before his current job, he could only find work teaching high school physics, which doesn't have the greatest take home pay even if it looks good on paper before deductions, and it had really bad insurance. We kept having to think about moving, and it was upsetting to him even, so we had to let her know about it. There is me as a mother with all my psych issues and medications (with side effects), dealing with hypomania, mania, depression at times. Feb. 14 last year, she had to call H home when I got a perforated ulcer (it was a silent ulcer, no symptoms, so I didn't even know I had it), and she saw me loaded into an ambulance as I passed out, which prompted H to call 911. This made our finances even worse and strained our marriage. So while she has never had verbal, physical or mental abuse, she's had some trauma. H and I usually do not fight in front of her, though it has happened a few times (maybe 2, 3 times in a couple of years), but it's all verbal at least, not physical and stress has played a huge role in that. So maybe she'd need a child therapist though I think H would first want to consider natural things that can be done at home.

We need a better bedtime/wake up routine, to add a relaxation period before bed, get her to exercise a bit, even if it's walking around the block with one of us (not that she is overweight, but for the benefits of exercise), get her doing something besides playing computer games (though neither H nor I can seem to lure her away from that), try things like maybe a hot soak in the tub before bed. I have even considered getting her a weighted blanket, though I have not brought that idea up to H. She does have all those sensory issues, and it might help her. One of those might even help me. Lately we have stopped screen time 1 hr. before she goes to bed, but it doesn't seem to be working. I am starting to think we need to limit screen time, period, much as she would hate it.

And what can you do to ease sleep anxiety?
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:55 AM   #7
sarahsweets
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Default Re: pre-teen (11 yr. old) with increasing insomnia

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Originally Posted by Blueberrybook View Post
What if the tables were turned? If he really, really felt strongly about giving X med to my daughter, and I felt equally strongly I didn't want her to take it, but he gave it to her anyway without my wanting him to? It goes both ways. He is such a good father, if only every kid could have a dad like him. He doesn't know tons about psych issues except what he's seen/heard through me and some training he got one time.

H is also not stupid. He knows about scientific evidence and how it can be slanted. He's got a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry (from the Nobel Laureate Rick Smalley, deceased) and is a professor of Industrial Engineering. He has written and co-authored many publications (even some in the biomedicine field at a previous job). He has witnessed and heard about scientists intentionally slanting evidence for publications and/or government grants, and so have I (M.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology, though my studies focused on bacteria with a thesis & publication dealing with bacterial cell wall protein transport, not medicine or the human body). And then less than a week ago, I actually did read a recent article from a reputable journal suggesting the evidence linking melatonin and sleep may not be as strong as initially thought.

H's problems with melatonin are: they don't know how much is the key amount to take for effectiveness, how often to take it (nightly or not?) and its long-term safety. His main concern is that supplements like melatonin are not regulated by the FDA. So these are the issues my husband has with giving melatonin to his child too, and they are all valid issues. They are not stupid concerns.

I can't just discount him as a parent.
I want to apologize.. I wasn't as sensitive to your plight and I was projecting my own stuff on to you so I am sorry. And I do not want to give the impression that I think meds are ever the only answer or that the decision should be easy- and I certainly never meant to imply that your husband is stupid or his feelings are stupid. As far as scientific evidence goes, I get that there are studies that may seem slanted and I can only encourage you and him to read things from peer reviewed sources like pub med. Those studies are as legit as they can be and are cited by other researchers and replicated in effective double blind studies that have been replicated although I am sure even there you will find studies that are slanted for and against medication. I guess I am passionate about it because I have three kids, and my 23 year old was the child who needed adhd meds and he was literally a danger to himself and began meds when he was 4- which wasn't common but approved by places like the FDA. And he chose to stop medication when he was 16 and is on wellbutrin now. My 19 year old is bipolar and had a few inpatients stays. When she ran away last year she got involved in drugs and alcohol and abruptly ceasing her meds (her choice) definitely played into it. My 15 year old was so depressed and had such bad insomnia that she needed inpatient treatment when she was 11. Talk about feeling like a failure as a parent... but they got her stable on meds. She still takes Lexapro and vistaril. All three of my kids have adhd but my son was the only one who could tolerate the meds they use to treat it. I tried with the other two but the side effects are not worth it. I just know in all three of their cases as different as they are: Those meds saved them. Especially with the insomnia. The lack of sleep is so detrimental to mental health and school functioning that it wasn't worth waiting to try them. I became desperate. I know you want what is best for your daughter and you sound like a good mom and he sounds like a lovely dad. I apologize if I was harsh or rude....
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