What is it?
Anxiety is a sense of feeling worried, scared or distressed and is a normal reaction to what is happening in our lives but when it happens all the time and doesn’t go away it becomes a problem. It may be affecting you every day or just in some situations.
It can be difficult to explain how you feel and you may feel alone and think that nobody will understand.
It can affect you physically – having lots of headaches or stomach pains, or emotionally leaving you feeling fearful and panicky. It can also be the beginning of developing phobias.
Types of anxiety problems
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
This is when you seem to be worrying about everything – even things you can’t do anything about- you may have difficulty sleeping or concentrating at school.
A Phobia is when you develop a fear of something in particular like the dark, dogs, spiders – these things aren’t dangerous but when you see them you can become very anxious and fearful that something will happen to you. You might feel that its silly but that you cant control it.
Phobias can also be about places like school or just going out of the house – you try and avoid the things that make you anxious or worried.
You might feel very anxious and stressed about being away from home all the time that you’re out, you might be worrying about your mum or dad, but can’t explain it. There may be times that you don’t want to go to school or be afraid to sleep alone and you may have recurrent nightmares about being left.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is when you have obsessive thoughts that won’t go away and they just happen over and over again. They might be silly thoughts like you have to keep things clean or you’ll get sick, you can only go out if you have checked all the doors are shut in case of a fire. The compulsive bit is when you then wash your hands over and over or keep checking the doors are shut before you go out – and you find it difficult to stop doing it and get upset if someone tries to stop you.
Here are some examples of how you might feel if anxiety has become a problem in your life and is taking up so much time that it is stopping you from doing other things:
• Tearful and upset
• Feeling sick
• Not wanting to eat
• Fast heart beat
• Feeling like you can’t breathe – sometimes you can have what’s called a panic attack – this is when your body has gone into “Fright or Flight” – a response that your body automatically goes into when you are very scared of something.
What can you do about it?
Did you know that it is the most common emotional problem in children and young people and can affect as many as 10% of young people. Children as young as 5 or 6 can show symptoms
It is entirely treatable!!!
Here’s what you can do…..
• Be kind to yourself
• Talk to friends and family
• Try and write up how you are feeling in a diary or in poems
• Listen to music that makes you feel good not worse
• Get out in the fresh air for a walk or some physical exercise
• There are people who you can phone even 24 hours a day –see below for contacts
• Try and eat regularly and not just junk
• Go and see your Doctor if things don’t get any better – you may need counselling or alternative treatment
Who else can help?
There are lots of ways to get help – choices around talking with people, accessing support and finding out more about depression.
Talk to someone you can trust – they will want to help you – you’ll be surprised!
Sources of further information:
www.youngminds.org.uk Tel:0207 336 8445 9.30-5.30
www.connexions-direct.com Tel: 080 800 13 2 19
www.childline.org.uk Tel: 0800 1111 24 hours a day
www.samaritans.org Tel: 08457 90 90 90
Local support available
The Junction 78 Maldon Road Colchester Essex CO3 3AL Tel: 01206 541841
Teen Talk 17 Cliff Road Dovercourt Harwich Essex CO12 3PP tel: 01255 504800
CONTACT YOUR TEEN LIFE