struggling 17 year old, anxiety and can't cope(12 Posts)
hi, this is my first thread on mumsnet. I'm not too sure why I'm here considering I'm not a mum but rather the 17 year old mentioned in the subject. I was hoping someone would be able to relate and share familiar cases that turned out alright or offer me some sort of advice.
I completed my GCSEs at my grammar school a couple months ago and achieved 9A*s and 1A, which i was immensely proud of. However, my GCSE period consisted of my vomiting and crying due to stress every morning and therefore left me incredibly exhausted. Ever since then I had a massive fear that when A Levels came I wouldn't be able to cope and I would just burn out - which is exactly what I feel has happened. It's now two months into A levels and i can not bring myself to go into school. I'm always just overthinking about the future and how I won't get anywhere and how I've made the wrong subject decisions and how I've basically ruined my life already,eventhough im 17. I've considered every option (move school,gap year,start work) and I just can not bring myself to do any of them. I feel like time is slipping away from me and I am now just wasted potential. I have zero goals and I just stay in bed for as long as i can- not because I'm tired, but rather because i feel like it numbs me. My parents have done their best to understand and support me (I've told them everything) but nobody can figure out what to do. The GP prescribed my anxiety pills to help with the constant chest pain I get because of it but I feel as if they do not help. My school referred me to CAMHs counselling more than a month ago and we've been attempting to chase that up but yet again no success yet. I just feel so low - I feel like because I have been such a high achiever in my past I have such high expectations of myself but also such low self esteem so I feel incapable of reaching those expectations. I have no goal or direction of path and I just feel so detached from everything, just wasting away the days crying my eyes out for the past two months. I feel as if everything has crashed so suddenly and I really don't know what to do. I want to get back on my feet before it's too late but I just wish I knew how. It makes me feel worse that everyone my age around me seems to be so driven and motivated and settled and I'm just a mess. I genuinely cannot bring myself out of bed in the mornings nomatter how hard I try- it just ends in more tears and vomiting. Any advice please?
I can highly recommend the Young Minds charity - they were awesome when my DD was in your shoes. She's 21 now and vastly improved.......go easy on yourself.
We finally gave up on the NHS as she just kept going on waiting lists for telephone counselling. She was so low she couldn't even answer the phone, so she'd go back to the end. I eventually paid for a session at the Priory and it was money well spent. She went every month for a while and we got a diagnosis of ADD, anxiety and severe depression. It took a while to get on the right meds but we got there.
She also found that writing helped her a lot. What do you love doing?
Very best of luck.
@Midlifecrisis2017 i'll make sure to check out Young Minds!
The exact same thing happens to me in regards to the NHS - just waiting lists and voicemails and it makes me feel so low and like a lost cause. I'll try out writing but in all honesty I just don't know what i enjoy anymore. I just feel so small and irrelevant.
Thank you for the advice though!
My DD went through this in sixth form, it was really hard for her. You have done a really good thing in looking for help. In the end she improved with medication and time, and some counselling, and has since been diagnosed with autism. She is doing well Uni now, but took an extra year to get there. Midlife is right - go easy on yourself. If you had broken your leg, no one would expect you to go running on it until it had healed - the same goes for mental health -if you need to take time out of education to get better, that is fine, or if you don't get the top grades, that is fine too, you will get there. Best wishes to you.
I'll tell you exactly what I've told my almost 17 year old who suffers from anxiety - you've got a fabulous set of GCSEs, you don't have to get A levels.
In an ideal world, they'd be useful, but there are plenty of other options for employment/further study without them. Concentrate on getting yourself well, forget school for now - you can always go back to education. Best of luck
I'll tell you what I told my 3 children - this is absolutely the worst time of your life! The stress is MASSIVE and relentless. I get it, I really do. It was nowhere near as stressful in my day. You haven't ruined your life at all and you haven't made any wrong choices. Things will get better. Honestly.
Can you take this year out and get a part-time job somewhere? I think you need some breathing space and some perspective. Also the expectation that you know what you want to do, what subjects you want to study, what uni you want to go to, are all completely unrealistic. Of course you don't know any of these things. Why would you?! Try to understand that it's absolutely Ok not to know and to say that too.
In the meantime, take whatever help is offered, counselling, anti-anxiety drugs etc. They will help. And remember that none of us have the answers! I'm still trying to figure things out in my 50s. There are very few things that actually matter in life. Health is one and understanding what makes you happy is another.
I was very similar to you when I was 17, although my GCSEs weren't as pretty as yours! I'm 24 now and if there is one thing I could go back and change it would have been to spend more time dealing with things back when I was at school.
If you have to spend this year working through anxiety, A levels can wait. Your GCSEs aren't going anywhere. Give yourself a break, talk to your parents about having time out of school. Keep taking the anti-anxiety medication, those things can often take time and there often part of what helps, rather than the quick fix we all wish they were. As others have said, Young Minds are brilliant and may be able to advice you on any other services you can access in your area.
I would also second writing, or typing as is my preference. Sometimes if you just start writing, you'll end up getting things out that take you by surprise.
Check out Kati Morton on YouTube, I swear that woman is my hero, her videos got me through a lot of tricky times and I found loads of useful advice.
Any kind of mindfulness is good. There are meditation apps, which some people love, but I never had patience for. I am a huge fan of colouring, it helps me distract and just generally feel calmer/less numb.
Think about things you used to enjoy or if you ever made 'bucket lists' as a kid, what was on there? Try doing those things, even if it's just for a small period of time and you don't particularly enjoy it to begin with. To give you an example, when I was 21, having dropped out of University for the second time, I started doing martial arts, because it was something I'd always wanted to do and never done. I had to drag myself to classes. Some weeks, that one hour was literally the only thing I did. It was scary and in the beginning, I still felt numb, but at least I felt like I'd done something. Fast forward 3 years and I can honestly say the decision to start that class was the turning point in getting myself back on track.
Sorry for the long post, I hope something in there helps. This will get better! Being 17 is hard!
I have suffered from social anxiety all my life, primary school and high school was the worst thing for me in the end I left in year 9. Back then anxiety was not a thing and I felt like I was just a stupid who couldn't read and right to the levels needed to be anything other than a failure.
Didn't help that the teacher would say such things to the hole class.
I ended up falling in love and starting a family still silently suffering. After my first child I ended up with post natatAl depression also something I kept to myself.
Years went on afew more children. Emotionally abusI've partner and after 10 years I had enough of everything. I tired counselling it didn't work the first time left it a year and tried a gain it really helped.
I enrolled in college, I have studied access level 2 and sat my English and maths gcse then studied access to nursing midwifery and allied professions while doing science gcse and I'm now on my second year at uni doing a health care foundation degree. And totally excited about applying for mental health nursing. I'm not saying it was easy far from it I still have times now where I just want to sleep xoz my mind won't stop. But iv learnt in a way to try and not let it control me like it did in the past
My daughter has panic attacks and it's horrible to know what she gos through however she isn't ready for help yet.
Seek advice and also talk with your tutors they are there to help you. Time management is the best always gI've yourself you time something you enjoy.
Always be postive you have got this hun.
Sorry for the long post but I wanted you to see with help and support it will get easier for you.
Good luck xx
I hope that today you have felt a little better for having had the courage to write down where you're at and got some support and ideas from other people. I would like to let you know that you have already achieved 3 big things by recognising that you have anxiety (a lot of people don't connect what's happening to them with anxiety), by asking for help (a lot of people don't ask) and by wanting to make a change (writing your post was the first step).
I am an occupational therapist and I work in adult mental health services. I don't have all the answers by any means. In fact I came on mumsnet tonight because I was looking for some answers myself for my own 15 year old daughter who also (I think) has anxiety and who is experiencing lots of physical health symptoms which are stopping her from being at school. As she doesn't believe that anxiety is the problem she is not too keen to hear suggestions which might help with this (especially from her mum!) and so we are in the middle of a vicious circle of missing school, falling behind, worrying about not doing well in tests, prelims, so avoiding school....As a mum its really hard to see this and I'm glad that your mum and dad have been so supportive and helped you to ask for help. Be patient with the NHS. It is frustratingly slow but I hope you will get some useful support in time.
Here is what I would suggest to get started: as Labelmystery said - if you had a physical health issue you wouldn't expect yourself to get back to normal straight away, you would have a rehab programme which took you there in small steps. You are physically and mentally exhausted so no wonder you are struggling with small things let alone the big stuff like school and exams again. But as humans we thrive on having routine. Routine means we don't have to think so hard because our brain already knows what is going to happen. So if you are able to put in place a bit of a routine at home that would be a great start and would stop you from waking up each morning with that sense of dread : 'what is going to happen today and how am I going to manage it?' By routine I mean getting up, having a shower, getting breakfast, getting dressed. You probably wont want to but just doing it is good. Breakfast is helpful. Once you've got this sorted (and it may take a few days or weeks), add in one more thing that you know for sure you can manage eg: a wee job around the house, a walk to the nearest shop if close by, an activity you enjoy. Then rest for a while. The aim is a doable morning routine. Try and stay out of your room as much as you can even if you're not doing much in another room so that your room remains the place where you sleep. Try and get a bit of exercise each day. Try and eat reasonably regularly and reasonably healthily. Keep talking the people who love you. These basic things are the priorities right now not achieving more amazing grades (and they were amazing!!). This will come if you want it to when you have your energy back.
I hope this is helpful. Please remember that even though the people around you seem to have it all sorted, one in 4 people are also feeling similar to you (but maybe they haven't got the courage or support or awareness to let it show and ask for help). Living Life to the Full www.llttf.com is another helpful website.
Remember: Little steps and little goals; pace yourself. And maybe write it down so that you can look back and see how you did it and how well you did xxxx
I hope th
You are already so much more self aware and well equipped than I was at your age, I am so impressed by your eloquence and your honesty.
It sounds like you've done a totally amazing of of your life so far!
However, even if you hadn't..honestly? The decisions you make before you are 21+ matter very little in your adult life. You are a young adult and nobody expects you to be perfect. If you make a wrong choice, that's totally ok, you can change your mind. And if you make a mistake, you have plenty of time to make it up. So, please don't beat yourself up!
Visit your doctor. Take care of your self. Look into mindfulness. Do some exercise. Read books. Eat well. Sleep. Practice self care - nothing is more important!
You are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you at all...you can absolutely travel your own path through all of this.
Well done for reaching out.
Hi Elisha. Well done for posting, that's a massive step! As the mum of two 17yr olds and an occ health nurse, I can see where you are coming from. The pressure of exams, especially the GCSEs with the atrocious new grading system is huge and you have managed brilliant results but the cost is your current mental health issues. Both my 2 were pressured by the school to go on to take A levels, and both started them, but within 3 weeks both hated their subjects and the additional pressures being put on them. As I kept saying to my boys, keep in mind you have got your results, they aren't changing, and take some time to think about what you really want to do. They both then looked at 6th form colleges and decided to drop A levels and do a vocational course of something they liked doing. The colleges accepted them as late starters and one is doing patisserie and the other computer game design. After the extreme pressure of the GCSE and then A level courses they are enjoying these courses, but know if they dont wish to pursue this as a career, the GCSEs and A levels remain an option too.There are many young people like yourself who dont have a plan for their life, why should you, you are still so young!
Also, they were recommended mindfulness and, after learning the basics, it does help.
Good luck, take your time to get better and know there are lots of options out there. You have a brilliant mind, supportive parents and, at 17, excuse the idioms, but the world really is your oyster, but you need to stop and smell the roses
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