Photo by Pen&Shutter
As I sit and type this, the song Simply having a wonderful Christmas time is ringing out in my local coffee shop. There are snowflakes and robins hanging from the ceiling and my cup is filled with sweet Christmassy-titled goodness.
It feels kind of weird to be blogging about anxiety at a time of year when we’re expected to be all jolly and excited, but recently I’ve been reminded by my friend Amy* that for many this time of year simply doesn’t feel so wonderful. Most weeks I meet with Amy, who has taught me what it’s like to be dealing with anxiety. Amy is learning week by week to be brave, to persevere and not be held back by the sad and anxious thoughts that she has. I’m aware that there will be many people who feel like Amy and so I’ve asked her to share her thoughts, her advice and some of the things she’s learning.
Hello I’m Amy. I’m 12 and ever since I was in Year 5 I noticed that I was always very anxious and upset and it was horrible. I felt like no-one understood and they just thought I was doing it for attention. People started to listen and understand me when I was in Year 7. I went to the doctor and he said that I had anxiety and depression but we don’t really know why.
I’ve been off school for six months and I’m not fully over my anxiety yet, but I’m now getting help from people and slowly getting better. I’m nearly ready to go back to school!
The way I deal with my anxiety is by talking to people, it really helps! In the past six months I’ve really changed for the better… I now want to do SO much more than just sitting in my room alone. I’ve learnt that I’m stronger than I think.
Here’s what else I’ve learnt…
Talk to people
People always used to tell me you have to talk to people but I never did because I thought it would make me worse. Over the past year I’ve started to talk to people about how I’m feeling and it’s really helped. So my advice would be don’t bottle things up, it’ll only make you feel worse.
If you have a fear of something, stand up to it
If you have a fear of going out to places, each day go out the front door and go a bit further when you feel you can. Try to face up to your fear, you can do it!
Go and see your doctor
If you feel down and then happy, have sad thoughts, don’t want to leave your home, don’t care about friends or struggle to go into school then go and see your doctor. It’s not scary – they can really help and give you good advice about how to get better.
Get some fresh air
I used to stay in my house and not want to go outside but then when I did I felt so much better and happier. Fresh air and a walk is good for you!
I starved myself for days at a time and lost so much weight, but it didn’t make me feel any happier, in fact it made me feel worse. Eating well helps to make you feel better, even if you don’t feel like eating try your best. Your body is important and you need to look after yourself.
Focus on positives
Sometimes we can get into the habit of always focusing on the negatives, which only ends up making us feel worse. Each day I write in my diary something that I’m grateful for e.g. my family, for the sunshine, for my house. Focusing on positives makes you feel so much better.
I didn’t do exercise for quite a long time, I didn’t go to school or leave my house. But since I’ve been getting outside and doing exercise my mood has improved. I’ve heard that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel happier and brighter. Clever!
If you feel anxious, worried or upset then I want you to know that you’re not alone and you can get through this. Life can be hard sometimes and dealing with anxiety can be a difficult challenge but I’m proof that you can get through it and feel a whole lot better! It can take time so don’t rush yourself. Talk to people, enjoy the fresh air and be honest about what you’re going through.
*Names have been changed