November 15, 2018
Imagine you’re in class and the teacher calls on you unexpectedly. Staring down at your empty paper, your mind goes blank. Everything you previously thought seems to escape. You’re well aware of the teacher’s expectant stares. Your stomach turns, similarly to riding a rollercoaster (minus the screams and wind). This feeling of “butterflies in your stomach” is known more commonly as anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal feeling to have. It can be experienced before a test, when answering a question you don’t know or maybe when you forget your homework at home. “It’s a sense of being nervous, sometimes frustrated, sad, overwhelmed,” said school counselor Mr. Herrock. “Lots of different things could be a cause of too much stress or anxiety.”
If anxiety gets to an extreme point, it can become a disorder. “Everyone does experience stress and anxiety normally, but if it gets to a point where it is affecting you daily in a negative way where you are not able to complete your school work, that’s when it becomes an anxiety disorder,” Mr. Herrock said. ”[Symptoms could be] not sleeping well, failing your tests, getting in a lot of arguments or not getting along with people, or parents.”
One type of anxiety disorder is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD happens when experiencing anxiety even when there’s nothing to cause it. Someone with GAD might overthink actions, and have unwanted or unhealthy thoughts. An example of unhealthy thoughts involves thoughts that reveal yourself in a negative way. These include feeling sensitive about your appearance, intelligence or ability. Sometimes it may even be hard to sleep. GAD is also extremely tiring. Anxiety is emotionally and physically exhausting.
People feel anxiety differently from person to person. “I feel anxiety when my kids are not with me, like whether they are driving to a certain event,” said Mrs. Ratkovic. “As well as everyday things [such as] worrying about other situations, other kids, [and] the students.”
If anxiety is affecting your life so much that you are unable to sleep or do normal activities, it is best to talk to someone. This could be your teacher, parent, religious leader or coach. Anxiety shouldn’t be dealt with alone.
At what point should a kid talk with an adult about anxiety?
“[A kid should talk to an adult about anxiety] anytime a student is feeling overwhelmed,” Mr. Herrock said. “Some people can handle anxiety and stress better than others and we all know what our limits are. Whenever that student feels they are a little uncomfortable, uneasy, any kind of tension that’s more than normal on their body, it’s time for them to just come and let an adult know what they are feeling. Then we can talk to them.”