Anxiety floods me as I sit and write. It's not the writing but the solitary feeling of loneliness that eats away at my soul. It gripped me in its clutches, feeling like ants crawling under my skin. I needed to flee with nowhere to go.
I do not suffer from anxiety as a rule, it is a very rare occurrence for me to feel it's grip. My son on the other hand does. It pains me to watch him as he struggles with panic attacks and unfounded fears. I hate that he is afflicted with this condition.
Too many teenagers today are. Studies show a number of reasons for this, stress, lack of sleep, diet, drugs, pressure, too much stimuli, you name it it causes anxiety. No matter the reason it is not something a young person should be burdened with.
Anxiety doesn't make sense. It's an irrational fear that makes a person antsy, unable to concentrate, unable to sit still. It is our natural fight or flight reflex in overdrive.
There are treatments, medications, exercises, all sorts of remedies for this condition. Young people who suffer from this affliction fear the stigma of the remedies, the side effects of the medications, and for some being alone to relax is when anxiety hits hardest.
If you know someone who suffers from anxiety don't try to fix it. Don't dismiss their irrationality. Try to understand and just be there for them. It's all we can do.
Shannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN, a novel about a 13 year old boy whose world is turned upside down when foreign soldiers invade his hometown. Jack doesn't suffer from anxiety, but his mom worries more than the average person and Jack does experience a panic attack so intense that he almost passes out.