Anxiety and negative talk

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by andromeda, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. andromeda

    andromeda New User

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    My son has struggled with anxiety for years. We're to the point where we've thought about medication but I'm afraid that once you start medicating, there's no turning back. He has Tourette's and ADHD to go along with all this so medicating is hard because so many drugs can make other conditions worse and then you have to medicate the other and so on. Anyway, he's been really beating himself up lately. His nerves are frayed and he can't seem to get a handle on his emotions. He gets so nervous that vomiting is the norm when it's really bad. We have him meeting with a child psychologist soon, we've had the initial appointment already but I'm wondering if I should try a sports psychologist. What bothers me the most is that we give him notes to take on court, strategies to apply when he's out there, and we try to stay as encouraging as possible but nothing really seems to help him. He just gets so entrenched in nervousness and negativity that he can't seem to 'think' himself out of it. Any suggestions? Should we try a different sport? Raising kids is NOT easy, LOL!
     
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  2. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    My first bit of advice is give him a hug and kiss on thed cheek and look him in the eyes and tell him how much you love him ,,,this is most important all else is worthless if he does not know this ,

    How old is he ?
     
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  3. TennisFan2Day

    TennisFan2Day Rookie

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    Does he want to play sports or do you want him to? He might be stressed out because he is worried about what you expect out of him. While I think sports are great for building character, they can also be very detrimental when it comes to self-esteem when the player feels that they are letting down the people around them. He might think that you really care about the results and you might not care at all if he wins or loses.
     
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  4. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Try swimming, its very relaxing, and running. This will calm him down. Get him a dog, it will serve as therapy also.
     
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  5. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    I'm unclear what's been done already. You say he's been struggling with anxiety "for years" but apparently only recently had an initial appointment with a psychologist, and it sounds as if medication has been considered but not tried? So it sounds as if he's not really had treatment, while struggling for years. That certainly doesn't seem like a good thing. What if anything has been done during those years? The notion of taking him to a sports psychologist sounds perhaps like you want to maintain unrealistic expectations here and not address the reality of his problems. Tennis, as I think Boricua is suggesting, may not be such a good sport for a kid with his difficulties.
     
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  6. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    addendum -- you also don't mention how he fares in school, both with the ADHD and Tourettes, either of which can academically and socially debilitate a kid. Those are far more important reasons to consider whether he needs meds.
     
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  7. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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    Is this just in matches or all the time? If the latter, tennis might not be a good fit for him
     
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  8. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    I think I mentioned it in your other thread, but read "The Chimp Paradox" by Dr Steve Peters. It will give you a great insight into what is going on inside his brain and why he reacts how he does, plus some ways to help him manage his anxiety and his reaction to it.

    Cheers
     
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  9. andromeda

    andromeda New User

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    Well, I didn't want to go into a huge history of our family. He's been to counseling a few times in the past when his anxiety spikes. In the past 3 months, we've had some deaths in the family, we moved, and he had some trauma associated with my dad's death. Anyway, these particular things seemed to have triggered a major anxiety issue for him. And, to answer another question above: he does not get nervous in practice but does have difficulty with his attitude and negative self-talk.
    As for school: he does well. Loves to give presentations, work on group projects, and behaves very well in his classes. He attends a homeschool co-op 2 days a week and takes 1.5 hr classes with teachers. He takes the assignments home and we work on the lessons and homework during the week.
    And, as for not trying anything. I said we didn't try medication. We have taken him to naturopathic doctors and had him on supplements to help his anxiety which worked really well a few years ago. I just need to get him tested again this year so I can see which supplements might work well for him now. I, also, am a yoga instructor and have been working with him on controlled breathing and relaxation methods which help him at home but harder to use on a tennis court at his age. Well, that's what he tells me anyway, LOL!

    Ash, I have that book on order from Amazon. Thanks for the recommendation!
     
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  10. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    First, I think the board has given some great advice.

    Swimming - great sport.

    Get a dog - fabulous idea, lot of work, but so, so worth it.

    Tennis - might be way too much pressure...

    "His nerves are frayed"
    "Vomiting is the norm"

    I am quoting what you wrote, so you can see it in black and white.

    I was once against medication for kids, until I watched a kid for a week.
    Parents didn't tell me he took it, and the boy, being a boy, didn't take it.
    Wow.
    Off medicine, kid was not easy for me or even for himself..
    He has ADHD, and he could not control himself.
    On medicine, he is a different kid.

    I read some of your other posts, and you state -
    We have chosen to not medicate our son because many of the side effects are detrimental and wouldn't help his game at all.


    I am not trying to be harsh, but just want you to read what you wrote...

    I think the medicine would be for his overall health... whether it helps or "wouldn't help his game" shouldn't figure into the decision.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
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  11. andromeda

    andromeda New User

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    Quick note regarding the medication issue. My husband was medicated for ADHD when he was a kid, on Ritalin. It damaged his liver and made him insane. He began abusing alcohol at the age of 14. He is against us using meds since our son only has ADD-inattentive, he doesn't have the H part where there are problems with impulsivity and hyperactivity. But, my husband is also currently on medication for his anxiety and depression(yes, all these disorders come from his family line) and he is really having severe reactions to the meds. He has developed sleeping problems, weird manic behaviors, his ADHD is at an all time high and he jumps around from one thing to the next and then back again. It's really driving him crazy. After seeing this, we have decided that meds are risky, even for adults. Withdrawal is also a problem on many anti-depressants. Sooooo, I'm not saying that we'd never medicate him. I'm just wondering if someone can succeed at competitive tennis with an anxiety disorder. He already swims, he hikes with me weekly, we mountain bike as a family, and we work out at the gym. But, he LOVES tennis and the friends he's made. It's the place where he feels at home despite the anxiety. Also, he threw up before soccer matches and football games when he played those sports so it's not just limited to tennis. If he was on a swim team, it would be the same thing. Once he's on court the anxiety is fine, it's the pre-game jitters that get him. On court, it's the attitude and the pressure he puts on himself that become a problem.
    To address a few other questions: we always tell him he can quit tennis any time. We tell him we want him to win because we know it feels good to him but we also want him to do what his coach tells him and if he's applying a new technique and he loses, no problem. You have to lose to appreciate the wins and the biggest thing we tell him is 'Have Fun'. Yes, tennis is a competitive sport but we want him to enjoy it, too. We also try to harp on the fact that rankings aren't everything. He has chosen this sport for himself and we've exposed him to every sport except baseball so that he could decide what activities he likes to do.
     
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  12. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I've recommended Jeff Greenwald's tape Fearless Tennis in another thread. Have you and he started to listen to it? You're talking with him about many of the right things. Maybe if he hears it from someone else it will help.
     
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  13. Dadof10s

    Dadof10s Banned

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    Maybe I am wrong but this situation seems way beyond the scope of this board because we are talking about multiple medical conditions and multiple prescription drugs so it is hard for laypeople to know all the factors involved.
     
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  14. Rina

    Rina Rookie

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    Did you mention how old is he? If anxieties are impacting everything that is a different thing, as opposed to only tennis.
     
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  15. MeggieTennisGal

    MeggieTennisGal New User

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    andromeda writes, "He has Tourette's and ADHD to go along with all this so medicating is hard because so many drugs can make other conditions worse and then you have to medicate the other and so on. "

    'Just want to express my condolences to you and your son. One of my kids (not a tennis player) has similar issues (TS, OCD, ADHD, and anxiety -- they often go together,) so I can SO relate. It sounds as though you've been through the medication struggles:-/ My dh and I found we could absolutely NOT use stimulant meds (Concerta, Ritalin, etc.) for our ADHD kid, but we also could absolutely NOT get by without them. They treated the ADHD beautifully, but drove the anxiety into left-field. We were left struggling with which was worse -- to medicate or not? Finally, we tried Imipramine. It's an old antidepressant that is sometimes used off-label for ADHD. We haven't looked back -- happy and positive, low anxiety, straight A's in school -- and this after a very tough time before the Imipramine. It's really hard to find a good doctor for these kids. We went through several before we reached this wonderful end point. I'm not saying this will work for your child -- just that it was an absolute miracle for mine, so maybe you could ask your doc about it. Best wishes!!! It's heartbreaking to see one's kid struggle. I hope things get better.
     
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  16. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    This is one confused thread! In post #1 he has ADHD, in post #11 he had ADD but not the H-part. Then we're told Ritalin damaged your husband's liver, but he was also abusing alchohol at 14, a far more likely scenario for liver damage. Then we're told supplements helped the child's anxiety "a few years ago" but he's been struggling with anxiety "for years" so the supplements were clearly not of any sustained (i.e. real) value. Withdrawl from antidepressants is actually not a problem, unless one is foolish enough to stop them suddenly after many months of treatment. They simply need to be tapered over a few weeks time. Imipramine is one I've used in these cases quite a bit, good for anxiety with very mild side effects. Finally, a parent does a child a disservice by telling him you want him to win; kids know the object of a game is to win, so you are only creating conditions for him to feel he's disappointed you if he doesn't. Parents should tell a kid to have fun and give a good effort playing a game, and leave it at that.
     
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  17. andromeda

    andromeda New User

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    Sorry about the confusion. My son is ADHD(inattentive). Basically, they don't use ADD anymore which is what I was diagnosed with as a child but my husband was diagnosed with ADHD. He started on the Ritalin at age 9, 5 years before he started drinking. His liver was being damaged by the time he was 10 and the docs just cut back his dosage. Back then, there wasn't much available to kids with serious ADHD issues.

    Also, an update on him as of late. His anxiety has waned. It was definitely related to my dad's death and we've had a lot of talks about mortality; life, death, etc. He played a tournament recently and won 6 out of 8 matches. One of his friends came up to me and said, "He's baaaccckkkk!" Yes, I had to agree that all of a sudden he was back in top form. He beat 3 players who were ranked higher than him, 2 of whom he had lost to in the past 6 months.

    I understand that this thread got out of hand, my apologies. I really was just looking to see if any other parents or coaches had similar experiences with their kids or players. We are still taking him to a psychologist for the Tourette's and co-morbid conditions and we'll also be doing some educational testing to see if we're dealing with any cognitive problems or fine motor skill development, etc. Thank you all for responding.
     
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  18. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Glad to hear he is feeling better.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Don't be pressured into putting him on psychoactive drugs. Don't do it unless you are absolutely sure it is the right thing to do.
     
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