I struggle with anxiety and depression
hello, 13 year old here. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression. I also do self harm
Welcome to Ask Alex.
Thanks for sharing what is on your mind. It can be tough to have thoughts, fears, and feelings running around in our heads. So, it’s important we share them to help ourselves understand them a little better.
You have said that you are struggling with “anxiety and depression” and also that you self-harm. Wow, that’s a lot. It must be hard for you on a daily basis. Would you say that all of the above that you mentioned are linked? Do you feel that self-harm is a release from the feelings of anxiety and depression? Have you thought back to when it started? Is there a particular event that brought these feelings on, or do you think it has always been there?
You have mentioned that you are 13 years old. This is a tricky age in life. A lot of different things are happening to your body that are out of your control. You may be just starting a new school, meeting new people — not something you are used to. You may be trying to find out who you are and what interests you. This, on top of our thoughts and feelings process, is like a whirlwind and is scary and hard.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of worry about something that is happening or might happen. It is something that exists for everyone. But when it gets to a point where you are constantly feeling it and it prevents you from doing things you enjoy and had ease in doing before, it is extremely stressful. To tackle that feeling and take back some control, it can be useful to challenge it. Speak it out loud and confront it, rather than letting it build unrealistic expectations in your mind. You can talk it out or write it out. Jot down the feeling, acknowledge it, and rationalize it. Go through the different expectations and look at what the worst-case scenario is. This will help you tackle the negative thoughts that anxiety was building up for you. Communicate with those around you and allow them to support you in this, building different techniques to help get you to where you would like to be. Try the Childline website for articles and information on Anxiety.
With Depression, it can be linked or intertwined with Anxiety. They have a complicated relationship. Depression is the state of feeling very unhappy and without hope for the future. At the age of 13, it is very sad to think that this is happening to you. It is important to reach out and talk about this with your family GP. Speak with your parents and explain what you are feeling. Together, you can attend that doctor visit and make changes for the better going forward. You need to know you are not alone in what you are going through. There are so many services and organizations that could help you move forward. Different organisations are set up to guide you in understanding your mental health and supporting you going forward, like www.jigsaw.ie, www2.hse.ie/mentalhealth, along with www.childline.ie.
Self-harming is a very concerning negative behavior, and we would hope that you are aware that if you ever get yourself into a dangerous position, it is paramount that you contact the emergency services on 112 or 999 immediately. Never feel like you can’t reach out. Levels of self-harm can differ, but it is a negative coping mechanism. So, maybe try something different, like putting a hair tie around your wrist and pulling on it, in place of physically cutting or hurting yourself. As it has become a coping mechanism, it is important to try and replace it with something that is less dangerous to you. As you have stated above, there is a lot happening for you at present, and it is important to try and tackle the root of the problem. You have taken a very brave, strong first step to Ask Alex. Now, allow yourself to avail of the supports you deserve.
Speak with a trusted adult in your life and reach out to the services that are available to you to help you on a more positive track. You, like all children and young people, have the right to support, education, and understanding when it comes to your mental health. You have the right to feel happy and enjoy your life. So, please do make use of the supports there, as we believe that by reaching out to Ask Alex, you want help to deal with and find better coping mechanisms going forward.
Please contact us here at Childline if you feel you cannot talk to someone you know just yet. Our phone service (1800 66 66 66) and Live Chat service through www.childline.ie are both free and available to you 24 hours a day, every day. There will always be somebody here for you, no matter the time.
Wishing you the best of luck, and thank you for talking to Ask Alex.
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