Alex's Answer

I’m so sad and everything is stressful

Your Question

I don’t know what to do. I’m so sad at the moment that I haven’t been able to go to school, my family won’t talk to me because of it. They are angry because I’m being “selfish” for not going to school, how can I enjoy school when I have no friends, no one to sit beside in classes, the friends I do have don’t like me and I constantly feel like this. Ever since I was 7 I’ve felt like this and now 9 years later nothing has changed. I’m in a constant loop of feeling stressed, upset. I’m really falling behind in school. I was really smart in primary school but when I started secondary everything bad that I felt came back 10x worse so I fell behind because the workload became too much and I couldn’t keep up. I’m a perfectionist so when I do something I do it to 100%, but at the moment I haven’t been doing anything because I can’t. I have no one I can tell these things to. Everything is too stressful. And believe me I have tried everything, I’ve talked to my schools, principal, year head, vice principal, counsellor and teachers, all have them have promised to do things but then do nothing and forget about me. I’ve also talked to childline before but I have so many issues that I feel bad staying on the phone for a long amount of time as they could talk to someone with more serious issues than me. I could write a whole essay here. I’ve tried talking to everyone, school, family and friends but no one listens and I just feel so alone. 


Hi there, and welcome to Ask Alex. 

Thank you for reaching out! We know that sometimes it can be difficult to do so, and especially when we are not feeling great. 

From your message, we understand that you are struggling with going to school because a lot of things there are challenging to deal with and because of this, the relationship with your parents is not at its best. You also mentioned that you are having difficulty managing your stress and sadness levels and that you have tried several things to feel better, but still feel the same. 

It seems like you are going through a rough patch and anxiety isn’t helping. Our brains can react to high levels of anxiety in three different ways: fight-flight-freeze. These responses instantly cause hormonal and physiological changes which allow us to act quickly so we can protect ourselves. It’s a survival instinct that our ancient ancestors developed many years ago. 

Specifically, fight-or-flight is an active defence response where you fight or flee. Your heart rate increases which in turn increases oxygen flow to your major muscles. Your pain perception drops, and your hearing sharpens. These changes help you act appropriately and rapidly. 

Freezing is fight-or-flight on hold, where you further prepare to protect yourself. It’s also called reactive immobility or attentive immobility. It involves similar physiological changes, but instead, you stay completely still and get ready for the next move. 

The fight-flight-freeze response isn’t a decision we make consciously. It’s an automatic reaction, so we can’t control it. 

It seems you could be in survival mode, specifically on freeze mode, deciding on your next move. It is a great time to have reached out, as by doing that you are getting out of your shell and taking action. It shows you don’t want to stay like this forever and you are looking for ways to improve your everyday life. 

When dealing with stress and anxiety there are various things that can help us feel better such as learning to self-regulate by exercising, using breathing techniques, learning what triggers these feelings and managing our anxiety and stress before it escalates. Doing so can make you feel in control and calmer. Having a good support network you can rely on can provide a sense of safety and protection which will result in you feeling less fearful and alone.  

If you’re in a constant state of fight-or-flight, consider visiting a mental health professional. Specifically, if you experience the following: always feeling “on edge”, persistent worry, nervousness, or fear, stress that interferes with daily activities, fear of nonthreatening situations and inability to relax. A mental health professional can help you determine the underlying cause of these feelings. They can also create a plan to reduce your stress response, depending on your symptoms and mental health history. 

In your text, you explained you have approached various people in your life such as counsellor, teachers, the principal etc., but they seem to make promises and appear to forget about you. We are sorry to hear about this. Remember, you have the right to be heard and to access the appropriate support for your difficulties. Also keep in mind that some stages of life feel harder than others and when we have been feeling like this for a long period, it will take around the same amount of time to work through things and feel better. It can feel like a very long and tedious process, but the key is to focus on the baby steps you can take towards getting back on track. It can be helpful to consider the positives of each day and to maintain an “attitude of gratitude” for each and every one of our blessings. 

Whenever you need to talk to someone, you are most welcome to call Childline even if you think your problem is too big or too small. We are there for all the young people without exceptions! You don’t need to be in trouble to call us, we are there for you even if what you are looking for is to chat about a tv show. We are there to listen to you no matter what, you can call as many times as you need and talk for as long as you want – we will be there for you! 

We hope this helps. 

Take care, 


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