Shining A Light On: Anxiety

Avatar of Simone Zabarsky
Opinion Column

Anxiety affects everyone regardless of if you are diagnosed with it or not. 

“Chronic anxiety can lead to serious mental health problems, depression, substance use, and even suicide,” the American Academy of Pediatrics states on its website. “It can interfere with the ability to focus and learn, causing school problems that can have lifelong impact. It can also lead to physical problems, such as headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems, and later heart disease.”

 Recently, doctors have noticed a high increase in anxiety, especially surrounding teens. Standardized testing, school work, insecurities, double standards, social media, and friendships affect teens on a daily basis, causing anxiety to build up. 

As adolescents, we care a lot about our social life, relationships, and extracurricular activities. These things are mostly centered around school, so that’s where we get most of our social interactions during an average week. During the school day we have to balance getting to classes on time, doing well in those classes, while at the same time forming friendships. Because of the immense pressure to do well and succeed in life, anxiety is almost inescapable at school.

When anxiety is talked about, it is usually paired with depression — makes sense, right? They do come hand in hand oftentimes. Although that can be true, anxiety is deeper than just feeling a deep “urge for your room to be neat” and it’s most definitely not the same thing as depression. On many occasions I’ve heard anxiety be explained as something unimportant. This is the message that we are sending to people all because of the fact that anxiety is rarely talked about in a school setting. 

  Anxiety comes in many forms, with many different behaviors and compulsions that come with each type. Some forms of anxiety include OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). These show the range of anxiety disorders. You may get panic attacks once a month or everyday, either way it’s an important concept to discuss.  

 When I was younger and would start feeling anxious I had no clue what was going on with me. Why was the air suddenly thin? Why was I shaking? Why was I scared? These were all important questions I needed to know to feel safe and to avoid feeling alone.

If you or someone you know is dealing with anxiety, make sure to reach out and try to offer a sympathetic ear. Sometimes just knowing someone else cares enough to listen can make a significant difference. If you feel uncomfortable talking to someone you know, I urge you to visit