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The confusion associated with your parents separating can lead to feelings of anxiety. This is only natural, as it is a worrying time.
If, however these feelings have begun to escalate and take control of your life, making day-to-day actions difficult or even impossible, this could mean you are suffering from anxiety.
It may be that the time has come to seek help.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is when you focus on negative feelings concerning a situation you are facing.
It is more than being simply being upset. Instead, you find yourself worrying almost all the time about anything associated with that situation, now or in the future.
There are two types of anxiety – acute anxiety and chronic anxiety.
Acute anxiety happens when the symptoms are triggered by something specific. This can often be linked to a traumatic event.
Chronic anxiety is when the feelings are experienced constantly. It may be that your feelings of anxiety and worry are unequal to what is happening in your everyday life. This is also known as General Anxiety Disorder.
What are the symptoms?
Someone suffering from anxiety might show one or more of the following traits:
- Hiding away from the world or becoming more reclusive
- Turning down social situations and events they would normally enjoy
- Loss of confidence
- Struggling to get to sleep at night, suffering nightmares or waking up in the night (see our article on Sleep problems)
- Developing obsessive habits such as handwashing, checking locks or touching a certain spot repeatedly
- Harmful behaviour such as excessive nail/skin biting, picking their skin or pulling their hair (see our article on Self-harm).
They may also find themselves:
- Constantly worried and fearful, often without any specific reason
- Experiencing panic attacks (that is, nausea, breathlessness or an extreme desire be somewhere else)
- Feeling hopeless and dejected by life
- Becoming tearful or very angry at the slightest thing.
What can I do?
The good news is that anxiety is something you can overcome or, at the very least, learn to manage.
There are a number of different approaches to manage the condition – some work for some people and different ones for others. So it may take a while to find the right approach for you. Recovery takes time, patience and perseverance but it is worth it.
There are simple things that you can do yourself:
- Keep a daily diary where you list the positives in your day. This will remind you that there are good things. For example, you could list what you have done well that day, what good thoughts you had and what little wins you had. You are worthy! Try not to write down thoughts that encourage your fears.
- Set yourself small goals each day. Try to make each one realistically achievable and celebrate when you gain these wins.
- Get some exercise and go outside! Taking part in any exercise that raises your heart rate will cause your body to release endorphins. And these endorphins make you feel happy. Also, nature has been proven to relax the mind. So if you can exercise outside, you get double the benefit! Even if it’s just a short walk each day, you will feel happier and more relaxed.
Also, try talking to someone you trust. It will help take the weight off your shoulders. (See Talk to Someone)
Where Can I Find Help?
- If you need someone to talk with, head over to our Discussion Boards
- Use our Share Your Story tool to write down your thoughts and read about others feeling the same.
- If you feel that you want to end your life, please seek immediate help from the emergency services on 999. You can also contact HopeLine UK on 0800 068 41 41. If you are being abused you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or Samaritans on 116 123.