Things I didn’t know were anxiety

girl with head in hands


Feeling unable and too afraid to speak up

Maybe you’ve had an experience when this went really badly. Have you had an experience when this went well? Remember, speaking out can have good outcomes. Maybe it is asking questions in class or trying to tell someone something that is particularly difficult for you. It is worth considering if there is a ‘safe’ way to do this. If it’s a classroom situation, can you hang back after class and have a talk one to one. If it is a difficult situation and you feel scared maybe you can speak to a friend and take them with you to talk to a trusted adult. Depending on the situation, remember that whatever the worst thing is that you are focussing on happening, is likely not to happen. The most likely outcome is that by speaking up you will either learn something or get the support you need.

Worried about every word choice I use whilst interacting with people

This can come from previous experience of having the meaning of your words taken wrongly or by using an incorrect word and feeling or being made to feel stupid. It may just be a fear of this happening for the first time. If you think it is because of a previous bad experience it is good to think about this and talk to someone you trust. It is also likely you will have had many times where this hasn’t gone badly. Maybe one person makes you feel this way. Is there a reason for this? If you can’t work out where your feelings are coming from you may need to work on your confidence. Do things that you enjoy, you are good at or make you feel good. Remember, we are all learning and growing. Saying the wrong thing is part of that and a very normal part of life.

Resenting myself for not living up to everyone’s standards

Young people in Kent have told the HeadStart Kent programme that they feel a pressure to be perfect. Messages from parents and teachers of how important exams are, perfect images on Instagram and other social media platforms. It’s easy to forget that life has ups and downs and that is normal. Also, failure is part of success. It is how we learn. Live up to your own standards. Learn who you want to be. It may not please everyone but it doesn’t have to.

Believing everyone was silently judging me

This is hard if you have previously been judged by people. It has likely led to you questioning your self worth. This can create an ‘inner voice’ that makes you judge yourself negatively. How you look, how you behave, decisions you make. Learn to correct your inner voice with positive statements: I’m wearing this because I like it; I’m listening to this music because it makes ME feel good. Practice being kind to yourself.

Didn’t want to come off as stupid

This is very common. When people are being unkind they may judge people for not knowing what they do. We are not born knowing everything and we learn at different paces. One of the obvious ways we learn is to question things we do not know. Doing this is SMART. Next time you fear this may happen try and tell yourself that you will learn something as a result. There is a good chance that no one is thinking you are stupid.

Thinking I had to be perfect to avoid judgement

It is exactly that. Thinking. This is often your internal voice. The one in your head that talks a whole situation through and makes you think of all the possible outcomes, good and bad. One thing you can do is focus that inner voice on the positive possibilities of all your decisions and behaviours. Remember, judgement says more about the person doing the judging than it does about you.

Criticised my every movement

Overthinking every choice or decision can be exhausting. Doing this is often because a person is scared of doing ‘the wrong thing’. This may be because of previous experience of making mistakes or feeling judged in the past. It may because you fear the consequences. It is important to recognise when you are being hard on yourself. Understand where these feelings might be coming from. Maybe you feel lacking in confidence and need to focus on your self esteem. Think of things you are good at, the qualities you have as a person, being a good friend, caring family member and think of who your biggest supporters are. Parents, someone at school, best friend.

Felt like I had to over achieve and be the best at everything and know everything to be considered to be intelligent

You’ll be surprised to know that many people feel this way. Intelligence isn’t just about ‘knowing things’. It is being willing to learn, open minded, willing to try new things and persevere – stickability. You are your own project. Be proud of who you are and where you are going.

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