The Breaking Willow
Another article that I’ve recently read that made me think, was this one in The Atlantic about anxiety in children. I think there have always been anxious people. It’s just that recently, people are more open to admitting to having anxiety and seeking treatment for it.
Obviously, as a human, I do have anxiety sometimes. I don’t think I have more than the typical normal person, though. I tend to think of myself as go-with-the-flow. I’ve noticed that for some circumstances which I can easily shrug off, others become extremely high strung and panicky. There are people I know who become extremely anxious and even have nervous breakdowns under situations that I would consider no big deal and I often think, “If they had my job–well–they would never survive handling my job.”
My job is a never-ending series of tight deadlines which I normally thrive on because I really like Getting Things Done. Other people hate deadlines and just want to do things at their own pace. There’s nothing wrong with that. They just work differently than I do. So when I hear people complaining and stressing about their job, about how everyone expects them to get things done Right Now, all I can think of is that maybe they need to find a job that better suits them. Even if under some circumstances, finding another job isn’t practical. (And then my second thought would be to chastise myself for having no empathy because my first thought shouldn’t be that they are ill-suited for a high stress job, it should be that they need to find help to deal with their anxiety.)
Anyways, I know anxiety isn’t always about deadlines and it can have all sorts of triggers–some rational, some not. Maybe it’s uncertainty about a situation or the fear of being a failure to society or those you love. Maybe it’s fear or anger or potentially realizing that you’ve been wrong all this time. Maybe it’s from a past trauma or just part of your personality. Whatever it is, I definitely do not have an answer. I’m no psychiatrist or psychologist. I only have my own personal experience to go on which probably isn’t relevant to anyone except myself.
As for helping children with anxiety–well, I was thinking that parents could help with that by modeling good coping strategies. My parents were fairly level headed–if something happened, well it happened. And we would just deal with it. Being very practical minded helped in situations that could have otherwise been quite stressful. Of course, now I’m of an age where some of my peers have children in elementary and middle school. I don’t have any children myself so I don’t really have anything relevant to say in terms of child-rearing–but from my observations of my peers, they seemed worried a lot. It’s definitely an uncertain time. And I think no matter how hard they may try to hide and pretend rather than being forthright about it, children are clever and observant, and it would be foolish to think that a parent’s worry wouldn’t rub off onto their child.