Hi, this is my first time reach out to someone. I wanted to ask what advice you can give to me about anxiety. I have had anxious moments through my life just like anyone else but never on a scale where it has affected me severly until recently. In senior year, there were days I would just lay in bed after school after a good day but then ponder "Senior year is almost here. I spent my childhood and school life with most of these kids who I get along with and some are my friends but then doubt sometimes if they really liked me". I'm in my senior year of college and the first half of the pandemic, I felt that I could get through this but when I went fully online for the fall in 2020 since I was unsure of coming back to campus physically, I felt a dip in my emotions. I was unmotivated, distracted, uncaring and anxious even when I had nothing specific to be anxious about. Now those anxious moments come in the form of hearing noises when I wake up, remebering its outside during the early hours of the morning but it feels so loud and makes me sensitive or anxiety keeping me from falling asleep that I go straight for my phone. Or even having an anxious thought about "what ifs" these its on repeat like a broken record through the rest of the day. Besides that, its hard for to open up to my parents about it. They are amazing, I love them and they always tell me that I can talk to them if something is bothering me, but I doubt sometimes and it's still not easy.
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Thank you for coming to Asking Jude for advice. I’m so sorry to hear about the anxiety you have felt this past year; I can imagine that the stress of a college workload, anxiety, concerns about the pandemic, and lack of sleep have taken a toll on your mental wellbeing. Along with that, I’m grateful you reached out for help. It’s not always easy to admit (or even acknowledge) that we need support, but you did, and that is something I encourage you to feel proud of.
You mentioned being unsure of whether or not you should open up to your parents about how you are feeling. This is a valid concern; even if they are the most supportive parents in the world, it can be uncomfortable to have such a serious and difficult conversation with them. I know the feeling. Since you stated that you doubt approaching them sometimes, have you unpacked that thought to understand why you feel that way? It’s possible that you’re concerned about them dismissing your concerns, having the possibility of them pitying you, etc. The better you understand what is stopping you, the better you can find a way to approach that worry.
If you decide to talk to your parents about this, there are different ways you can go about it. One way you can approach them is by sitting them down when none of you are busy and telling them that you want to talk about something important. It can even help to write down what you want to tell them beforehand so you feel more prepared and confident about what you want to say. You can also write them a letter stating how you feel and leaving it in their room (or handing it to them), which can be far less intimidating. Here is a link for more advice on this topic: https://www.mhanational.org/time-talk-talking-your-parents
It’s okay if you are still hesitant to talk to your parents. Maybe it’s a step you are not ready to take yet, and that’s completely understandable. Since you are in college, does your university offer you counseling and psychological services? If so, I would recommend making an appointment with one of their counselors. This can be a huge step for many; after all, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of therapy. It can be frightening to open up to a stranger. Or, you might think you do not deserve therapy. If that is the case, consider reading this article: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-in-between/201702/deserving-therapy%3famp. If you are considering seeing a therapist but are unable to do so through your university, I recommend checking out https://openpathcollective.org/ for affordable options or visiting the following link (https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJV4JAeN/) if you are a member of a marginalized community as it contains more inclusive therapy options.
As for everyday tips on battling anxiety, taking moments to slow your breathing can help ground you and relax your heart rate. It might seem obvious, but our breathing is often on autopilot, and we have to make the effort to remind ourselves to take deep breaths. This can prevent your anxiety from escalating further. Consider trying the Calm app: https://www.calm.com/.
Another tip I recommend is to get immersed in something that you feel passionate towards. Perhaps you like to create art, go on walks, watch your favorite documentary series, etc. Take a small portion of your day to reward yourself with that activity. This shouldn’t be something in which you feel tempted to evaluate your performance. Instead, look for an activity that uplifts you.
You may also want to consider establishing morning and night routines that make you feel good. For instance, if you notice that going on your phone as soon as you wake up brings you down, consider getting up and immediately making your bed. You can also take a few minutes to stretch, reward yourself with a nice shower routine, list people and/or things you for which you feel grateful, etc. For nighttime routine suggestions, check out this link: https://casper.com/blog/bedtime-routine-for-adults/.
Lastly, surround yourself with people you love. Make plans to see a friend or watch a funny movie with your parents. Feeling the way you do is difficult in and of itself, but being alone as well can feel worse. Spending time with people who care about you can remind you that you do not have to endure this battle by yourself. You have people in your life who want the best for you and want to support you in whatever way they can.
From one college senior to another, I wish you the very best in the rest of your senior year and beyond. I encourage you to come back to Asking Jude for any further questions or concerns.
Sending love and support,
Hey, Kelly! I'm a member, here, at Asking Jude, not a peer counselor. This is a really great 'ask.' You made a really smart decision to come here with your predicament! If I was in your predicament, I would be honest with my parents and I would also tell them that I am also looking for help from Asking Jude. A Peer Counselor will get back to you with specific advice. I am convinced that your predicament is solveable...