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Wendy M
Wendy M, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 123
Experience:  Over 16 years in chemical dependency and the mental health field.
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About 3 weeks ago my 8 year old granddaughter started to show

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About 3 weeks ago my 8 year old granddaughter started to show signs of depression and obsessive thoughts. This has been recurring frequently and is very disturbing to us. She seems suddenly like a different person and we cannot convince her that she should not worry about things. She says she has terrible thoughts and cannot control them and feels very guilty and cries a lot. She didn't eat much of anything or play for about 4 days on the first occasion and this is very different from previous. Much of her disturbed thoughts are sexual and she feels compelled to tell us every time she has a bad thought. It starts on waking and continues until she is asleep. Should we seek professional help or is this somewhat normal when children become aware of sex, etc. Will it pass? Thank you.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Wendy M replied 6 years ago.
Hello,

Welcome to Just Answer.

Nowadays, it is not unusual for children to know about sex. However, the things that are happening with her, seem to be very concerning. It seems as if these obsessive thoughts about sex and her depression had a sudden onset. With the major theme of sex. It seems as if she was OK previously, but now is having these sudden changes in her behavior. I would definitely recommend having her see a counselor, to rule out, any sexual abuse that may or may not be occurring with her.

I do not know if there has been someone new introduced in her life, or someone who has been in her life, like a babysitter etc. Usually if a child is being abused, it is either a member of the family, or a trusted member of the family. One that has access to the child, where the parents are completely trusting of them.

But, I would definitely recommend having her be seen by a counselor/therapist, to rule this out as an issue. As it sounds like she is having a difficult time right now, with something weighing heavy on her mind. I do hope this helps and please let me know if there is anything else I can help you answer.

Take care,
Wendy
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Naturally, that was our first concern but it seems there is no possible way that could have happened anytime recently. Could it be something that happened many months ago and she would just now be upset? She did mention several things that she and her school friends (girls) had role played and discussed--some at a sleepover. She seems to feel very guilty about having pretended sexual things and does not want to have any contact with these girls who used to be her best friends--all are her age. I suspect there may be something she hasn't told me maybe there was some physical contact. My biggest fear is that she is exhibiting something related to a chemical imbalance--her mother has been diagnosed bipolar and has suffered from depression since her teens.
Expert:  Wendy M replied 6 years ago.
Hello,

Those are great questions. If there was an issue with sexual abuse, there is definitely a possibility of her not saying anything, until now. Sometimes when children begin to speak about it, it can mean that the abuser is no longer in the picture and she feels more safe to speak about her feelings and her experiences. Or, it could be something that triggered her to speak about it, like nightmares and such.

If she is speaking about the sleepover that she attended, there could possibly be something more that has happened. With children, especially if there are feelings of guilt, they will want to speak only a few things about what has happened, to make sure it is "safe" for them to tell more.

Usually in children, they are not normally diagnosed with bipolar, at such a young age. But, she could definitely be diagnosed with depression, if she is exhibiting depressive symptoms. Usually a bipolar diagnosis does not happen, until a child is in their teens, but having a mother with bipolar, a diagnosis may come earlier, if she is presenting bipolar symptoms.

Ruminating about her experiences and having guilt, does sound to me, to be more depressive in nature.

Sometimes, when children are exposed to an incident that is sexual in nature, they will re enact that sexual behavior with others. It may be worth letting her know that this is normal for someone who has experienced things as she has. This may also make her feel more safe in telling more of the story, if there is one.

I do hope this helps and please let me know if there is any other questions you have. I would be happy to answer them.

Take care,
Wendy
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