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Anxiety

I’ve struggled with anxiety since fifth grade. I didn’t even know what anxiety was back then! I just knew that in certain situations, mainly in large public areas, my stomach would get knotted up and my breathing would shorten. My doctor actually told me I needed to start seeing a therapist.

For me, anxiety affected most things I did. I would panic about simple things, like going out to eat with my family. I hated it. It made me feel like a burden. I wished I was just as fearless as my friends were. This stopped me from experiencing a lot of good things, and I was tired of missing out. I couldn’t ever sleep, I felt overwhelmed all the time, and I just wasn’t happy. That’s a lot of negativity for a sixth grader to deal with. I took my doctor’s advice and went to therapy.

It’s hard to find someone you click with, but it’s worth the search. I did not want my anxiety to stop me from living life to the fullest. It takes courage to work through the hard stuff, and it may take a while. However, now I can handle problems better, and know how to cope with anxiety attacks. Anxiety comes and goes in waves, but finding people who want to help you is so important.

Therapy is a really great option for anyone with anxiety. It may seem embarrassing to go to therapy, but just as you need a doctor to help with physical problems, many people with anxiety need a therapist to help them too. It made a huge impact in my life. For example, last year I was at school and had two anxiety attacks in one day, but I was able to tell my friends and they helped me calm down, which I could not have done five years ago. My parents have been so supportive as well.

If you are struggling with anxiety, you deserve to not let it hold you back. Seek help, talk to someone, and share with your friends how they can help you if you get an anxiety attack while they’re with you. You’d be surprised how many of them have dealt with the same thing.

Like a medical issue, anxiety is not something that you can handle alone. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a professional help me, but I understand that finances and family that doesn’t understand could get in the way of seeking help. For these reasons, we've compiled a list of free and anonymous hotlines in the column to the right.

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Teen Line:

  • 1-310-855-HOPE (4673)

  • 1-800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline:

  • 1-800-662-HELP (4357)