Amy Mazzone lives in Burnaby, B.C., and has used AnxietyBC’s resources to help her daughter Abby, who is starting Grade 4.
Abby started getting stomach aches at school last year. But as soon as I’d leave work and pick her up and bring her home, she’d be fine. So I thought maybe she was faking it, or perhaps it was due to something happening at school that was physical. She has arthritis and some hearing loss in one of her ears, so the medication can affect the stomach. Or sometimes if you can’t hear, it can be disorienting. But it wasn’t either of those things.
I thought the stomach aches would get better, but they just kept getting more persistent. She’d call me crying while I was at work. I felt terrible not to leave and pick her up. One day, I just thought, “This is enough.” My friend who is a nurse suggested I take her to the hospital. The doctor there gave some kind of ridiculous reason for her stomach aches, like she hadn’t gone to the bathroom. I was like, “I’m a mom. That’s the first thing I thought of: Have you pooped today? I’m pretty sure there’s something else going on.” So she referred us to a pediatrician.
The pediatrician didn’t really talk to Abby. She talked to me for about an hour and an half with Abby in the room, and then she said, “Well, I think she has [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder].” I said, “How can you say that? You haven’t even spoken to her.” So then I was frustrated.
I work in social services, but I work with young adults, age 19 and up, so I didn’t know where to start with Abby, who was in Grade 3. One of my friends in social services who does work with kids told me to go to a mental-health intake clinic, which is one day a week, from 10 a.m. to noon, and you can’t make an appointment, you just have to go there and chance it. So we did, and we talked to a social worker, who then referred us on to counselling. So that’s what we’re doing now.
It’s been really hard for us to pinpoint what triggers Abby’s anxiety.