Anxiety can be problematic and scary for anyone to deal with, but if you add in the rapid changes that come with adolescence, anxiety can feel like an intrusive mind hog that spends way too much time squeezing, surprising and overwhelming anyone it lands on.
But then, there are always ways to tackle it. When you understand it, anxiety will start to lose the power that comes from its mystery and its randomness.
Here’s what a Pakistani mother had to share about her journey as a student who had anxiety…
“I was sorting out my closet and landed on a folder of my once most prized possessions.
I’ve been a straight-A student for most of my life.
As result season approaches I want to share something deeply personal…
At 16 I came from a broken family going through the worst financial crisis.
At the time these grades didn’t just mean my parents bragging about their brilliant kid, it actually meant the difference between going to a good college and a bad one.
It meant taking the pressure off from my mom, who was already struggling to make ends meet for her four children.
At 16 I don’t remember if my intentions were that noble though, it mostly meant I could keep up my facade of being perfectly “normal” with friends.
These grades meant everything to me.
So I started staying up nights, I slept for five hours a day, I sat in my mother’s office filling out past paper after past paper, I was gripped by some manic, obsessive need to do well.
And I got really sick.
Soon enough I couldn’t keep anything down, everything I ate I would spit out a few minutes later…it was like my heart was in my throat like it was beating so hard against my chest, it would explode.
I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t eat. I started to lose weight, and ended up at 49kg, being 60 just the year before. An ultrasound revealed high levels of acidity were damaging the stomach lining.
Here’s the thing about the mind, it tricks your body and often enough mental stress manifests itself in actual physical pain.
I didn’t know the word for it back then, but I do now.
It’s something I’ve come to live with since my O’level exams almost two decades ago.
To those of you who don’t know what it’s like having anxiety, imagine this, you are climbing up the stairs, your foot gets caught on a step, you reel forward, arms outstretched to protect your face…adrenaline pumps through your body and your heartbeat skyrockets.
This heartbeat that you can calm after few minutes, anxiety is just that, but constant.
It stretches over a period of days. You wake up every morning after restless fitful sleep and hold your breath, saying a silent prayer, ”please be gone,” but as you exhale, you can feel the drumming becoming louder, angrier and faster.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for nearly 15 years now, I’ve learned to live with it. I can control it and keep it under wraps most of the time, but some days it gets away from me, it just spirals out of control.
For a while, I had to take a nerve relaxant after my son, because I could not cope with watching him struggle with his health, I could not cope with him screaming his lungs out every day for hours on end.
I decided that instead of being a frazzled parent when my little baby needs me, I’d rather be a parent that seeks help, I decided to get my own issues under control to be better able to help him with his.
Going back to where I started from, this result season when the results do start pouring in and if your kid has not aced everything…let it go.
It’s not the end of the world…I swear it’s not.
If there is one piece of advice I can give you it’s this, joy comes from pursuing your passion.
We live in such a beautiful time, the potential is endless. Our children are lucky to be alive in the here and now..the world is so much bigger and goes so far beyond becoming a doctor or an engineer…be grateful for the opportunity to be parenting in these times.
Watch out for tell-tale signs of anxiety and depression in your children too.
Take mental health seriously, I’m all for encouraging and pushing kids, but be mindful of their limits..they have a breaking point.
As parents, our job is to protect them from the world. No, we will not make them “soft” but here’s the truth of the matter, one that we all need to wake up to…some kids are soft, it doesn’t make them weak.
Children are who they are, sometimes in our quest to make that battle-ready to face the world, we end up breaking them.
Kids are not perfect. They can be short, tall, fat, skinny, dark, fair, average-learners, slow-learners, exceptional learners, our job as parents is to help them find a path that’s custom made and according to their skill set.
As a former “brilliant” kid “going places” to a happily average mommy, trust me when I tell you this, these grades are not a marker of success and happiness.
And at the end of the day, what matters is happiness.
The kind of happiness that comes from the heart.
The one that sparkles in your eyes.
The one that brings a glow to your face.
For my own kids, I pray that I can be a support system to help them pursue their dreams, not mine.
I pray that I can always remember, my children are not an extension of myself, they just are.
Here’s her post that she shared on Facebook:
Today I was sorting out my closet and landed on a folder of my once most prized possessions.These certificates!I’ve…
This couldn’t have been explained in a much better way. For parents, it is important to pay close to their children and see if they feel pressurized. Health problems at an early can be problematic in the long run. It’s high time parents realize that it’s always better to let their children follow their passion and not push them to bring good grades because as she said,
“…these grades are not a marker of success and happiness.”