Anxiety: why it’s worth worrying about.

With the upcoming pressures of exams, and the drive want to be successful, anxiety and stress-related issues are more present than ever. The conversation about these debilitating illnesses must be opened to help those who are struggling and encourage help to be sort out.

There is no ‘type’ of person which is chosen by anxiety to suffer. The crippling illness can hinder anyone at any time and its effects may range from very minor changes in behaviours to massive issues. Increased stress-levels, sleepless night, chewing nails and obsessing over the tiniest of details are often the beginning of a much larger problems faced by many people on a daily basis.

For young Australians between the ages of 16 and 24 (prime persons facing high-school and university exams), the statistics relating to mental health issues are quite disturbing. Studies demonstrates that one in 16 young Australians are experiencing depression, one in six are experience anxiety conditions, and one in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition. In conjunction with this data, new research conducted in 2015 recorded that approximately four million Australians had at least one mental or behavioural condition. Most disturbingly, suicide is still the number one killer of Australian youth today.

Mental health issues are unique to every individual. Whilst someone may only suffer from anxiety and stress during exam times, for others it can lead to a lifetime of mental health conditions. Yet, many sufferers are choosing not to disclose their problems to others.

Why do people continue to sweep their issues under the rug?

Speaking with an adolescent who suffers from mental health issues, some of the reasons given, not to speak up, seem to be a reoccurring theme.

Mikki*, reveals the moment she realised something was wrong.

‘I remember sitting in a classroom with all my friends around me in Year 11, and for no apparent reason I had the sudden urge to get up and run away – but I could not move. I felt so anxious and insecure’. From that moment, Mikki experienced episodes of anxiety attacks throughout the rest of her high school life which evidently led to depression, which she continues to struggle with daily.

Mikki did not tell her parents or friends about her issues. Instead she kept them to herself and hoped that someone would eventually say something.

‘I didn’t even want to admit to myself that I was struggling, let alone my parents. I didn’t want to let anyone down’.

Mikki is not alone in staying silent on her mental health struggles. Many people choose not to acknowledge their problems to themselves or others to avoid scrutiny or hassle. However, this technique proves more damaging than anything else.

Exam time every year proves challenging on different levels for all people. Whilst you may feel completely prepared and excited for exams, there are many people who are dreading getting out of bed each day. It is important to remember that whilst you may be fine, some people are still suffering.

With increases in national and international movements to help combat this issue, more awareness is being created to fight the black cloud which constantly hovers over many Australians. For those about the enter one of the most stressful times of their lives, remember that there are endless sources of comfort around you.

For help contact: Beyondblue 24/7 Hotline: 1300 22 4636

*name has been changed.

1 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008)

2 National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15

Photo Courtesy of Noell Oszvald