Are you (or someone you know) having a lingering feeling of uncertainty about what's next?
Do you at times get a wave of feelings or thoughts that are overwhelming?
Don't panic - it's possible your body is still in a fight or flight mode waiting for the next big thing to happen.
Let's be honest - we have all been blindsided with uncertainty of the future during the past six months, from bushfire threats, evacuations, COVID-19, closures of schools and businesses, people losing incomes and much more.
As we turn the COVID corner with the return of young people to school and parents returning to work (or maybe there is no work to return to due to COVID), uncertainty about finances, living arrangements and relationships on the edge can all contribute to an increase in anxiety.
Anyone who has ever been in the grip of anxiety knows how intense it can be. If you feel like you're the only one dealing with anxiety - and yes, that's how isolating it can feel - be assured you're not alone.
Anxiety is more than feeling stressed or worried.
It can be tough to cope, but with the right support, things can get better.
Anxiety is something that we all experience from time to time. It is our body's way of preparing us to manage those difficult situations. Sometimes anxiety can help us perform better by helping us feel alert and motivated.
Anxiety can come and go - but for some people, it can stick around for a long time and end up having a big impact on their daily life. When this happens, it might be time to do something about it.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Everyone experiences anxiety differently, but there are some common signs and symptoms.
Physical changes can include: a racing heart, faster breathing, feeling tense or having aches (especially neck, shoulders and back), sweating or feeling dizzy, shaking, 'butterflies' or feeling sick in the stomach.
Changes to thoughts can include worrying about things a lot of the time, being unable to control the worries, having trouble concentrating and paying attention, or worries that seem out of proportion.
Other changes can include being unable to relax, avoiding people or places like school or parties, withdrawing from friends and family, feeling annoyed, irritated or restless, difficulty getting to sleep at night or waking up a lot throughout during the night.
What can I do to help myself or someone else?
Care for yourself - Managing anxiety starts with good self-care. Try to eat well, get enough sleep and stay active to help your overall mental health and wellbeing.
Talk about it - It's a good idea to talk about how you're feeling - whether it's with your family, friends, a teacher, coach, your mob or elders. They can help you understand what's going on, stick to your self-care goals and get extra help if needed.
Notice your thinking patterns - Being aware of what thoughts are influencing your anxiety is an important step towards managing it. It can help you understand what contributes to your anxiety and what your triggers are. This can help you to handle them differently and learn new ways to cope.
Be aware of avoidance - It's normal to want to avoid situations that make you feel anxious. It might work in the short-term, but over time it can make your anxiety feel worse. This is because you don't get the opportunity to learn that the thing you fear may not happen or be as bad as you think.
Learn some skills to cope with anxiety - like helpful self-talk and relaxation - then gradually face the things you fear and put your skills into action. As you realise you can manage anxious situations, you'll become more confident and motivated to keep it up.
Try new breathing strategies - Lots of anxiety symptoms involve a cycle of physical sensations. Working on controlling your breathing is a good way to try to interrupt that cycle.
If you are concerned about how you are feeling contact your local GP and talk about options that are available to you for support.
Headspace Goulburn is now offering bulk billed GP appointments for young people ages 12-25 at our Verner Street location. Call us to book an appointment.
Or you might consider contacting another organisation that has online or phone supports.
- ParentLine on 1300 1300 52
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- ReachOut at au.reachout.com
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511
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