Overview

Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or imminent disaster and is a normal emotional response to danger. Everyone feels some anxiety at different times during their life, if it begins to interfere with everyday life, it is important that you seek help.

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Is it Ok to see a counsellor

Is it Ok to see a counsellor


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I had a pretty bad time in high school. Without going into details, I was bullied, I knew what it was like to be hurt and alone, I felt angry, sad, and eventually I felt nothing. I was not okay, and I knew I was not okay, but no one else seemed to care. None of my friends were willing to really open up to me. It was like I was drowning and I was surrounded by people in boats, but none of them were willing to risk reaching out to me.

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As part of our blog series Xin takes a personal look into the question, is it Ok to see a counsellor.

  • Author: Xin
  • Upload Date: 2013-02-25

Written by Xin as part of our blog section.

Factsheet

Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

What is anxiety?

how to manage anxiety

There is help and support to help you manage anxiety

Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or imminent disaster and is a normal emotional response to danger. What makes one person anxious may not create the same response in someone else. Things like breaking up, concern about exams, or a fight with a friend may cause you to feel anxious, worried or scared.

Everyone feels some anxiety at different times during their life. It becomes a problem if you feel so anxious that it interferes with your normal day-to-day activities. If this occurs it is important that you seek help. A local doctor or a clinical psychologist are a good place to start if you are looking for help to manage anxiety.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety can affect both your physical health and your mental health (behaviour and feelings). They can depend on a number of factors. They may pass quickly or may stay for a long period of time. If you, or a friend has some or many of these symptoms it may be worth talking to your doctor, a clinical psychologist or a counsellor about ways to reduce anxiety.

Some common ways that anxiety might affect your mental health (behaviour and feelings) include:

  • irritability or¬†constantly being in a¬†bad mood
  • worried or a constant feeling that something bad is about to happen
  • often ask many unnecessary questions and require constant reassurance
  • being very well-behaved, e.g. never get into trouble at school or with friends (though not neccessarily at home)
  • get upset when a mistake is made or if there is a change of routine, for example: game day for sports, a¬†substitute teacher, unexpected visitors, or a¬†trip to an unfamiliar place
  • being a loner, or hanging out with a small group of group of people (who are often younger or older)
  • being a perfectionist, taking a long time to complete homework because¬†you try to have it absolutely correct
  • being argumentative (but not usually aggressive), especially¬†when trying to avoid a feared situation
  • being pessimistic and easily able to identify what may go wrong in any given situation
  • not answering questions and rarely volunteering comments or information at school or uni.

Some common ways that anxiety might affect your physical health include:

  • dry mouth and/or difficulty swallowing
  • nightmares
  • difficulty getting to and staying asleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • muscle tension and headaches
  • rapid heart rate and breathing
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • diarrhoea
  • flare-up of another health problem or¬†illness (e.g. dermatitis, asthma)
  • sexual problems, such as not having any sexual feelings or being intersted in sex.

What can you do if you are feeling anxious?

Changing your lifestyle

There are many things that you can do to decrease and manage anxiety in your life. Look at the things that are causing you stress and, if possible, change your lifestyle to avoid or confront those things.

Eating + exercise

When people feel anxious they often neglect themselves. Ensuring that you are eating healthy foods and regular meals as well as getting regular exercise will improve your overall health and wellbeing

Relaxation

There are many ways to help you relax. Check out our section on relaxation techniques or some of the many self-help books on the topic. Some ideas may be going for a walk, doing a class like yoga or Tai Chi, learning to meditate or playing footy with a friend.

Talking

Bottling things up is likely to keep your anxiety levels high. If possible, talk to a friend about the things that are making you feel anxious and see if they can be resolved.

What is an anxiety disorder?

If you are feeling so anxious that it is impacting on your day-to-day life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Check out Reach Out's  Anxiety disorders fact sheet for more information on the different anxiety disorders and how they can be treated.

Research has shown that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is very effective in helping people overcome anxiety disorders. People like your local doctor or a clinical psychologist can help you or refer you to someone specialising in anxiety disorders. Medication may also be helpful in managing symptoms and is something that a doctor or psychiatrist may advise as part of treatment.

Check out Reach Out's Who can help you section of the site to find more about what these people do and how they can help.

  • The BRAVE program is a treatment program for adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age who are experiencing anxiety. Check out this link for more info.
  • Anxiety Online is a comprehensive online mental health service offering information, assessment, online diagnosis and treatment programs ("eTherapy") for a range of anxiety disorders.

 

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