This week’s blog post is brought to you by my 13-year-old son. I have spoken of him before. He was diagnosed with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder at the age of 7. Recently, his school held a public speaking competition and all the kids were expected to write and present a speech, 3 to 5 minutes in length. These speeches were presented in class, and then some were selected to present their speeches to a panel of judges from the community in the school gym.
The fact that my son had the confidence to even participate in this assignment was mind blowing. The fact that he chose anxiety as his topic sent my pride into high gear.
The following is a copy of his speech:
“Anxiety. A-N-X-I-E-T-Y – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. Anxiety.
Anxiety is a big problem among youth these days. 1 in 4 youth, aged 12 to 18, will be diagnosed with anxiety.
Everyone has fear, it’s just something you’re born with. It’s your fight or flight reflex. It tells you when to run or not do something. Anxiety is when that fear is constant or over something it doesn’t need to be over.
Did you know that 10 percent of all people in North America, Western Europe, and Australia have anxiety? Lots of famous people have anxiety and or panic disorders, such as Abraham Lincoln, Johnny Depp, Scarlett Johansson, and Adele.
Anxiety affects a lot of things you do, such as school or work. It affects how you answer questions, who you talk to or play with, and what you say to those people. Bullying and anxiety work hand in hand. If you are bullied then your anxiety will kick in and make you nervous to go back to school or work the next day. Which affects your capability to keep up your grades, or complete what you’re supposed to at work.
If you have anxiety, you are likely to worry about your job or school at unreasonable, or random times. You also worry about meeting new people, you avoid all awkward or new situations that may make you feel uncomfortable, and you also check things that don’t need to be checked as often as you check them.
Your behaviour is usually under your control. Anxiety makes it so it is tough to break habits or behave the way “you” want to. Many people with anxiety get nervous ticks like a finger twitching, or blinking more often. Habits are a different type of tick but are more under your control, like chewing on your nails, or biting your lip. Anxiety also has physical symptoms and can changes how your body functions. It can affect how soundly you sleep, or you might have trouble falling asleep. There also might be changes in your posture, like slouching more, and anxiety may affect how active you are, like not having the energy to run around or play soccer with your friends.
Unfortunately lots of people find bad ways to cope with anxiety, such as drug or alcohol abuse, but it turns out to just make the anxiety worse. Some people with anxiety are prescribed medication by their doctor. These are called depressants. They slow the brain’s function so it runs at a normal level.
Let’s talk about some facts. Did you know that 40 million American adults live with Anxiety Disorders each year? People who suffer from anxiety are more likely to suffer from depression as well. People with anxiety are also more likely to jump to conclusions.
Look around. If 1 in 4 kids in Canada has a diagnosed anxiety disorder, chances are, you or someone you know has anxiety.”
Anxiety does not define this amazing young man!
LazyGourmetBlog is a Grimsby, Ontario mom, navigating the daily struggles of a personal PTSD diagnosis, and the challenges of raising an almost-teenager with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. As a former professional ballroom dancer, her personal struggles with anxiety and PTSD have very often been hidden in plain sight, presenting their own unique challenges in this very public former profession. One of her favourite quotes is, "The journey is the goal," and that motto carries her through each day, learning, supporting, and carrying on.