Do I have anxiety
I think I have anxiety
Thank you for reaching out to us in Ask Alex. It sounds like you have a question around anxiety. Well done for reaching out to us about this. Firstly, can we just say that we are not medical professionals, so we cannot diagnose whether you do or do not have anxiety; but we can tell you about anxiety.
Anxiety is a feeling characterised by worry, nervousness, and tension especially about things that we think that might happen in the future.
When we feel anxious, we can experience it through our thoughts, feelings and physical body. For example, you may find it hard to relax, begin to sweat, experience faster breathing, have a sense of dread, or keep thinking about potential bad things happening.
It is important to remember that anxiety is normal. Everybody experiences anxiety. Anxiety is part of the mind and body’s natural response when we perceive that we are under threat. This response helps us to protect ourselves by keeping us alert when we are faced with danger. When we are afraid, a ‘fight or flight’ response starts to happen and the body releases hormones such as adrenaline which in turn helps our body to become more alert so we can deal with dangerous situations. Thus, in many circumstances experiencing fear and anxiety can be useful, as it can protect us. For example, anxiety in an exam may help us perform to the best of our ability. Or a bout of worrying might lead you to set up a study plan to effectively respond to your exams. It’s common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if these things could have a big impact on your life.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully as you want. For example, when your feelings of anxiety are very distressing and last for a long time or is out of proportion to the situation. It also becomes problematic when you excessively avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious. For instance, you might start avoiding going to school, going out or avoiding social situations. Sometimes, we may feel ashamed of our thoughts and feelings and don’t want to talk about it. This can be very isolating. Problematic anxiety can have a big impact on how you live your life and can leave your life to become quite restricted.
Everyone has the right to lead a rich and fulfilling life. If your anxiety is becoming a problem for you, you have the right to talk about your feelings and the right to get help and support. For many people the first step is to talk to a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher, counsellor or doctor. Alternatively, you could contact mental health services such as Jigsaw www.jigsaw.ie or Turn2Me www.turn2me.ie for further support with this. The ISPCC provide a free support programme for teens who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety; you can find out more about it here www.ispcc.ie/guided-digital-programmes/.
Childline is always here for you too if you want to talk about this further You can call us on 1800 66 66 66 or reach out through Live Chat at www.Childline.ie . Childline is a non-judgmental and confidential service, so it is a really safe space to talk. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We hope you find this information useful. Remember, you have the right to get help and support from the adults in your life, and the right to professional medical help if you need it.
Take care of yourself!