And check out my joint blog with the love of my life and writing partner Dmytry Karpov: Kimberly ♥ Dmytry

Then his blog: Dmytry Karpov

Thursday, December 2, 2010

8-year-old Panic Attacks Part 2

December 3, 2010 UPDATE: 

I am trying to raise $1500 for 3 months worth of treatment for my daughter who is suffering from severe anxiety, depression and panic attacks. 

She needs treatment once a week minimum. 

 Below is more about this story and other steps I am taking. I appreciate ALL of your support, RT, @, DMs, Emails, Comments and love. Everyone who helps (and by helps I mean donates, DMs etc,) will get an E-copy of a short story I am writing from the POV of a little girl in the throes of a panic attack, with illustrations by my daughter. I don't use my children's names or real pics online, but she is a wonderful artist. If you donate I will send this directly to your email if you provide it. I understand that many cannot donate, but I want to give this gift to all who do what they can. So if you want this story, please email me at kimberly.kinrade at and I will email it to you as a thank you when it is done. 

Thank you again for your love and support!

And if you want to see my daughter in a different light: how she changes the world with her love of nature and environmentalism, read this post dedicated to her.

"The Chicken Nuggets Must Live!" 


I think it goes without saying that I love my kids more than life. Most parents I hope would say the same thing, or something to that affect.

The funny thing is I never planned on having children. My ex wanted kids. I was ‘considering’ his request when I got pregnant with my first two girls. (With the first I was switching birth controls and she snuck in, and with the second I was on the mini-pill AND nursing. They really wanted to be born.) Our third daughter was conceived when he came home on a surprise leave from Iraq after being gone for 6 months. I wasn’t prepared to prevent anything. So Baby Girl #3 came into our lives.

Now, I can’t even remember the world without them. I know I have memories that predate their physical forms, but even these are infused with the awareness that these girls must exist somewhere. I would not be who I am without them. And it’s true, I love them more than life. I would give my life to keep them safe.  

So the fact that my 8 yr old is suffering panic attacks is killing me. (See last post for more on this.) Is it the school’s fault for putting too much pressure on our kids at younger and younger ages?

That’s likely contributing to it.

I got a lot of emails and comments from many readers after that last post. I’m grateful for the love and support you all have shown us. And it has me thinking.

There is the “storm the castle” camp that feels I need to remove her from this school and go to war. I’m all for this approach. And if the meeting with her teacher and principal hadn’t gone as it did, I’d be writing letters and contacting the press as I write this.


They were great. Amazing, really. They have to work in the system. They have to give the tests and remind me of the consequences for excessive tardies or absences (I could get probation and in serious legal trouble!!!), but they also CHOSE to be loving and understanding.

Her teacher wants to help. WANTS to help now! She has stopped correcting her tests in red, opting for black ink so it’s not so demoralizing. She is letting my child finish the timed tests even after the time is out so she feels a sense of accomplishment. She is emotionally supporting my child and attempting to engage her in art and encourage her. I am so grateful.

The principal is also working with me. She understands that I’ve been a single mom for 2 years and it’s not easy. I’m juggling a LOT of balls and not all of them stay in the air. She’s trying to help. To offer resources and support.

I picked my current apartment because of the reputation of this school and its staff. If my kids had to go to a public school, I wanted them in the best one, even if it increases my commute time to work.

I want my kids happy. Healthy. Enjoying life.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

1: My daughter is actually excelling in school. Even math. She only did poorly on one quiz and it’s haunting her. She’s a perfectionist and HATES to fail! Normally her scores are 98% or above.

2: She gets every cold and flu that goes around and is ALWAYS sick. It’s making school life miserable.

3: She is a very sensitive child and is lost right now. Our lives have been hard and she has felt this. So many moves, money problems I couldn’t hide, times when I didn’t know how I would feed them after my divorce. It leaves a mark. As my friend and awesome dad of 3 older girls Tom Chalfant reminded me, it takes a long time for kids to regain the feeling of stability after that first life is broken to bits. Which makes sense, because I’m still scared too.

4: It’s not all the schools fault, but the system is seriously flawed.

I would love an enemy to tear to shreds. A war to wage in the name of my daughter and children everywhere. And I certainly believe we need serious reform in the public school system in this country. But is it the fault of our local elementary school? No. They are doing their best. They are actually going above and beyond to help us.

My little girl is terrified her world will fall apart again. That I will disappear like her daddy. She’s lost everything but me and her sisters and she likely doesn’t trust that we’ll stick around. My heart breaks for her, but I cannot just blame the school.

Don’t get me wrong, the first thing I’m going to do when I become more affluent as a writer is get them back in the Waldorf school. Until then, we have to work with what we have.

So here’s what I’m going to do.

1: I’m saving money so she can work with a Child Psychologist who specializes in this kind of treatment and uses Art therapy. If you’d like to donate to this, I’m adding a donate button to my blog. (Reluctantly.) I’m not a beggar and I’m doing my best to care for my children, but they need more than I can afford to give right now. I do well professionally and make a decent living, but after almost a year of NOTHING! (Literally, we lived on food stamps and goodwill) We are really behind. When we moved into our apartment all we had left was clothes. No furniture or kitchen supplies. I’d already hawked all my jewelry to buy food. All our furniture to pay rent. It was all gone.  We are rebuilding, but it’s expensive and exhausting and takes up all my extra income every month. So, if you’d like to help, I assure you the money will go directly to helping my child recover. I will also post monthly updates on how that money is being used and the effects of her treatment.

2: I’m restructuring my work so that I’m working from home every day and I’m pulling them out of after care. Instead of being gone from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day, they will come home after school. Dmytry and I are forming our own company “Karpov-Kinrade Writing & Editing” and will be taking on additional clients. If you’d like to help, spread the word. Link our site. We appreciate it.

3: I will be making more time to spend one-on-one with each of my children. This will be easier when Dmytry moves in this month, as there will be another adult with whom to share the load. Each day my kids will have some private access to share their thoughts or just cuddle.

4: I will stay open to medication should her symptoms persist. I know this is controversial, and as a holistically minded person I abhor the thought. But I received an email from a longtime friend in which he shared his story of severe anxiety disorder. Some situations require more aggressive treatment and I will keep an open mind as I explore all options.

This is the start. I’m also hoping to get her in Art classes where she can express herself more comfortably. Or horseback riding. She loves animals and misses the classes she was in up north. But regardless, I am committed to my children and their health and happiness.

Thank you all for your support, love, encouragement and guidance.


  1. YOU ARE AWESOME! Kudos to the principal and the teacher for helping!

    I know exactly how you feel and what you are going through. Hopefully, your daughter will be able to adjust and will feel better about things as you are able to replace some of the things that make a house a home.

    Until it is lost, people do not realize how much stability it gives to kids to have things that may seem weird on the surface. Couches, dishes, chairs, that sort of thing. We recently joined the Y, even though I am not sure how we are going to be able to pay it each month to help our children--they all needed it in one way or the other. (The 9 yo with his stress about school and my 2 yo with Down Syndrome need it the most for physical reasons.)

    You can email or twitter me anytime for support or just ranting to relieve the stress. :)

    PS Apparently my son's reading teacher had no idea of the stress she was causing. He is doing much better the last couple of days.

  2. Leona,
    Aww thank you for your support and kindness! And I'm soo glad your child is doing better. That is just awful I know. And what an amazing mom you are. Let's for sure stay in touch. We can encourage each other. You have my email right? Kimberly.Kinrade at

  3. I fully support your cause, and agree with you that I would do anything it takes to make sure my children lead the best lives possible whatever I have to do. I understand you situation too, we have had to sell most of our belongings this year just to survive and they are tough times, but when they are over you realise how strong you are. You are a great mother and I am sure your daughter will come through this test an even great person than she already sounds.

  4. A.L. THANK YOU! Soo much. Yes, tough times require a lot of sacrifice but it has made us see what is important. And what we can live without. Thank you for the support and encouragement!

  5. Good for you Kimberly! Not enough parents take a proactive roll in their kids lives but prefer to place blame rather than taking action.

    Might I suggest (while you wait for therapy) an amazing free site The process is called EFT (emotional freedom technique) and works on helping to release emotional tension. This might give your daughter some relief from her perfectionism and you some respite from her anxiety.

    It works on the same principles as accupuncutre without the needles and is easy to do. Best of luck, with a mom like you she'll figure her stuff out and be better for it.

  6. Patti,
    Thank you so much. Yes I am familiar with EFT and have used it on myself but didn't think to use it for my girl. THANK YOU! For reminding me of this awesome tool. I will do that! <3

  7. I am more familiar with the secondary system (I've taught for 13 years) but the elementary school should have a school psychologist available that your daughter can see until you can afford therapy. This is part of the educational package, so to speak, of free education -- school psychology, speech therapy, etc. all these services.

    This is such a difficult situation, but it sounds like she is surrounded by many people who love her and support her. All things she needs and will help her thrive.

  8. Cristina,
    Thank you for the suggestions. Yes, she has gone to the counselor on campus. She is only there 2x a week and only sees them for 20 minutes at a time. In the last few weeks of sending daily notes and calls to the office, she only saw my daughter once, after our dog died. It's been very frustrating.
    Also, if she is having issues with the school staff that I'm not seeing, then she might be more open with someone not associated with the school. She was reluctant to tell the principal about her dislike for her teacher because she didn't want to get in trouble. So...
    and she is getting worse. I will find a way to pay for this, and I have appreciated the support in money, love, messages and comments from so many. <3
    Thank you all!

  9. Hey Kimberly :)

    I don't know if you've seen this yet, but it's a great resource for state and federal help for health issues.

    Best of luck to you!