Note: I asked my daughter to write this article with me, since it deals with her anxiety. We’ve written our parts of the story and woven them together to give you both a mother’s perspective on discovering your child has a mental illness as well the child’s own perspective. I’ve made the decision to simply use my daughter’s initials rather than her name.
AM: It’s no secret that middle school is a hard period for every child, regardless of where they go to school, what gender they are, or what their personality is. I, personally, have probably had a touch of anxiety my whole life, but it wasn’t until eighth grade that I really began to be overwhelmed by it. After every youth group meeting, co-op meeting, or social activity I remember going home and sitting in my room trying, but inevitably failing, not to cry. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t like me, and I didn’t know how to change that. I felt like something was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was or how to begin to identify it. So I turned to social media.
Social media can be a wonderful thing. Sure, it’s dangerous because it allows access to things you might not want your children seeing, and it can easily damage a person’s mind, but I won’t get into that. It can be wonderful. Without social media, I’m not sure where I would be today. Sappy quotes on Instagram voiced my own feelings and fears in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I found that it wasn’t just me who was afraid of being alone, or messing up, or being hated. There were hundreds of thousands of other people who felt the same as me.
However, because of the way that I am, I wanted to know what it was exactly that was making me feel this way. I typed the phrases “do i have anxiety” and “do i have depression” into Google way too many times that I can count. I’d heard the words thrown around and wanted to learn for myself what they meant. I read countless articles about symptoms of anxiety among teens, took tests, analyzed my thoughts, and was honest with what I was and was not feeling. I waited a good month to tell anyone about it, and, even then, I knew I needed a professional opinion. The only way to get a professional opinion at age fourteen was to talk to my mother. …
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