What to do about anxiety?

Take the first step – if you think you are affected by anxiety, talk to your family doctor, counsellor, school nurse, or a mental health professional.

If your health professional thinks you are suffering from anxiety, they will probably suggest a treatment plan for you to follow. They should catch up with you regularly to see how you’re getting on.

Treating anxiety

There are three main ways of treating anxiety and they can be used on their own or sometimes your doctor will suggest you use more than one at once.

There are three main ways of treating anxiety:

1. Medication.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
3. Self-help with the aid of a therapist.

They can be used on their own or sometimes your doctor will suggest you use more than one at once.

Symptoms of anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety start out the same as just feeling generally anxious but get worse or last longer than they should. These include:

• Feeling frightened, nervous or panicky all the time
• Getting down or depressed
• Difficulty sleeping
• Low appetite
• Lack of concentration
• Tired and irritable
• Palpitations – when your heart feels like its racing
• Dry mouth
• Trembling
• Feeling faint
• Stomach cramps and/or diarrhea

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear or panic. Feeling generally anxious sometimes is normal. Most people worry about something – money or exams – but once the difficult situation is over, you feel better and calm down.

If the problem has gone but the feeling of fear or panic stays or even gets stronger, that’s when anxiety becomes a problem. With as many as one in six young people experiencing anxiety at some point, it is very common to have anxiety.

How do I know if I have depression?

Some of the symptoms of depression include:

• being moody and irritable – easily upset, ‘ratty’ or tearful
• becoming withdrawn – avoiding friends, family and regular activities
• feeling guilty or bad, being self-critical and self-blaming – hating yourself
• feeling unhappy, miserable and lonely a lot of the time
• feeling hopeless and wanting to die
• finding it difficult to concentrate
• not looking after your personal appearance
• changes in sleep pattern: sleeping too little or too much
• feeling tired
• not interested in eating, eating little or too much
• suffering aches and pains, such as headaches or stomach-aches
• feeling you are not good looking.

What is depression?

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. (World Health Organisation Fact Sheet)

In younger children depression is more likely to manifest as school refusal, anxiety when separated from parents, and worry about parents dying. Depressed teenagers tend to be irritable, sulky, and get into trouble in school. They also frequently have co-morbid anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

What can I do if I’m feeling low?

Simply talking to someone you trust, and who you feel understands, can lighten the burden. It can also make it easier to work out practical solutions to problems. For example, if you feel unable to do your homework, letting your family and teachers know can be helpful for you to get some support to complete your work.

Here are some things to try:

• talk to someone whom you trust and can help
• try to do some physical activity and eat healthy food
• try to keep yourself occupied by doing activities, even if you feel you do not really enjoy them
• try not to stay all alone in your room, especially during the day
• don’t overstress yourself and allow for fun and leisure time.

Where can I get help?

When you have depression, you may feel ashamed, guilty or embarrass of the way you feel. You may worry about upsetting others especially family, or being told you are making it up or blamed it is your fault by telling them how you feel. It can also be very hard to put your feelings into words. However, many young people in same situation feel sense of relief at being understood once they have talked about it. Letting others know about how you feel is important for getting the right help and support.

Management of crisis

If your child is at risk and need immediate help, call 911 or visit the A&E.

Contact details of mental health organization:

Cayman Islands Crisis Centre: 943 2442

The Counselling Centre: 949 8789

Department of Children & Family Services: 949-0290

Who can you ask for help?

• Your family – parents or carers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins
• Trusted friends – your own friends, or friends of the family, neighbours, church pastor
• People you work with
• Professionals – your family doctor, a doctor or nurse, a social worker, school counsellor
• A community support group

Decide who is the best person to talk to. Who would you feel most comfortable talking to? Many of us prefer talking to family or friends, but you may prefer to talk to professionals, support groups, helplines or online discussion forums.