My daughter’s sensitivities have been well and truly highlighted for us this year, whether it’s her age as she fast approaches 6 years old, or the changes in her life and our lives caused by COVID, who is to say.
The main issue we have had this year has been sensitivity to clothes, whilst she is desperate to wear them and go outside, play, go to school, it’s as though they totally overwhelm her body. Too ‘itchy scratchy’ as she would call it. If she managed to get her clothes on, chances are she would just go into meltdown, get really angry and upset and need to get them off very quickly and often aggressively. We tried everything to manage this with distractions as soon as she had got her clothes on, tickling, spotting rabbits in the garden, running, jumping, TV, no TV. The socks were often our nemesis as these could easily push her over the edge and undo everything.
I must have spent a fortune on different types of socks without seems, none which really helped on those most difficult days. I would rub her feet before and after each sock, sometimes it would help sometimes not. It was normally the true grit and determination of this little lady that got herself through each morning in the end. Whilst we were often at the limit with doors about to close at school we always made it just in time, because some amazing willpower got her through in the end and she would manage it (she doesn’t like to be late, so thankfully that need won over!).
However as a parent spending 45 mins or an hour trying to help your child get dressed every morning and witnessing the most heart-breaking and frustrating display, was taking its toll on me too and after the school run I could have done with a bottle of wine. I didn’t, as I don’t drink often but it was as though all my energy had been drained out of me, and it was only the beginning of the day. She would be ‘fine’ at school, one of those children who puts on a fantastic show, only to then let it all pour out at home.
As the kids in the UK went back to school in September, the dressing became more of an issue as we had a deadline each day, but it also meant I could get some help for me, while she was at school. I had a few Gentle Release Treatments myself, which got me to a place where I had the capacity to support my daughter better. I couldn’t get anyone to treat her, so I decided I would have to do this myself. I had talked about it with her before she went back to school and she had said she would love to have some treatments, but unfortunately at that time we couldn’t make it happen with any of our local practitioners. At that point I thought I would be too close to her to be able to help, and probably some self-doubt as a parent but desperate times meant I had to try.
I started Gentle Release sessions with her, and oh my goodness she was carrying so much emotion and ‘stuff’, she was absolutely full-up…. no wonder her clothes were the last straw. I probably did a 20-30 min session 2 or 3 times a week. An adult would probably have an hour, but kids are amazing and will resolve quickly if given the chance. I couldn’t do more as at the beginning she would often have a strange ‘outburst’ or be really tired following a treatment. The strange outbursts seemed to be some of the anger and frustration just dissipating in a weird meltdown, it wasn’t in character and for the most bizarre reasons. As I did more the reactions after the treatments lessened, and gradually over about a month unbelievably, our lives went back to near normal.
When the issues were at their peak, we had no clue where her stress and anxiety was coming from and it was all just one big ball of overwhelm, but as we started to release, things became clearer. She was able to vocalise her issues and with fantastic support from the school they put some tools in place in the classroom environment so that if she felt things were too noisy or too distracting she could turn over her ‘green card’ and go to sit on the carpet. They also gave her a weighted blanket to have on her knees. I also did some role play with her to try to help her explain to her friends nicely that she did want to play with them later on, but she needed some quiet time right now. That was causing stress in itself as if she had said she didn’t want to play, the other children would say, well you’re not my friend anymore and that would then make things even worse.
Over the course of about a month, things just got easier and easier, she didn’t need so much distracting, then she would get dressed by herself with no fuss. She was still careful with what she chose to wear, but we were making fantastic progress and that was OK. When she had a week off school she got herself dressed every morning without me even asking and without any fuss. She was keeping her clothes on all day too; previously as soon as she got home from school or being out, all her clothes would be straight off.
She went back to school and things have been an absolute dream by comparison, with only the odd issue, and me needing to keep the treatments topped up. She has only used her ‘green card’ once, when the classroom was too loud. When odd sock day came this week I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen, and I was worried things might kick off! However she actually chose to wear some socks I never ever thought she would be able to wear. Leopard pattern pink socks absolutely full inside with the loose thread that you get with patterned socks, I wouldn’t have suggested in a million years that she even try them on let alone wear them! She did it, no fuss, no bother and the relief for me was immense.
Other factors that we are careful with are sugar, screen time and histamines. At home I’m generally very careful with sugar anyway. She only has a treat every couple of days now and she is perfectly happy with that, and we all know that makes a difference for her. We have also reduced screen time pretty dramatically. I was never too worried as she isn’t often glued to the TV but it would generally be on in the background while she played. We have noticed there seems to be a fine line with the TV and if she watches too much her behavior does change in a negative way. The clothes sensitivities also seem to kick off at hay fever time each year, although while she has had problems with her clothes at this time of year before, this year was the first with hay fever symptoms, which made me connect the two. Instead of giving her antihistamines, we reduced histamines in her diet and that controlled the hay fever symptoms, and I’ve continued to be mindful of the amount of histamine she has in her ‘bucket’ and will reduce again as that time approaches again next year.
But none of these things were enough to get her out of the issues she was having with her clothes and if it wasn’t for Gentle Release Therapy, I’m not sure where we would be.
If you want to try Gentle Release there are free and paid resources. There are two Guided Releases for kid on YouTube which are both free to view. One for the daytime called the Animals want to play and one for bedtime called the animals want to go to sleep. If you would rather buy and download than watch on you tube its just £5 for both in our store.
For grown ups there are some free Live Guided Gentle Releases and a list of resources in our closed Facebook Group, which is free to join.
If you want to learn more about Gentle Release Therapy so that you can give treatments to yourself, your child and family members, we have an Online Introduction to Gentle Release Therapy Course. This is discounted from £75 to £49 until the end of November 2020.
If you want to support your child with Gentle Release and want to do the Introductory course but can’t afford it, please get in touch and let us know about your circumstances and we will do our best to help.
If you would rather see a Gentle Release Practitioner, we have been doing treatments over zoom during lockdown which have gone really well. You can find a practitioner here.