Teen Issue – Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Featured Image

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you had a chance to touch base with that teen or young adult in your life yet? Maybe yesterday gave you a good opportunity to do it.

Happy Mother’s Day! Did you have a special day with the people in your life yesterday? Mother’s Day is a day of mixed emotions for me. I lost my mom to breast cancer thirteen years ago. I love spending time with my family, but I miss the annual Mother’s Day flower shopping and lunch with her.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month Picture

This month I’ll be focusing my posts on Mental Health issues, not only to raise awareness, but provide resources to learn more about it and to find help if you need it. While one in five people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

This week I will be focusing on a very common type of mental illness, anxiety. You tend to hear the word anxiety used a lot in general terms. It is kind of like saying she has a cold, What kind of cold does she have? Is it a cold or is it a disease? With colds, you rest, drink liquids, and maybe take some medicine. In a few days you feel like you are back to normal, that is anxiety. With a disease, you may still rest, drink liquids and take medicine, but the condition is either managed or doesn’t go away. That is an anxiety disorder.

What is Anxiety?

Picture of the word anxiety

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Even if you feel anxious when faced with a problem at work , before taking a test or making a big decision, that is a natural response and just about everyone has it from time to time. It doesn’t mean that you have a mental health disorder.

Anxiety Disorders are mental health disorders characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fears that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily actvities. Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside worry, and restlessness.

Those disorders have names like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Phobias, Social Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They are typically disgnosed by a Mental Health Profesional.

Teens and Anxiety

Like I said, anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Sometimes that response can feel very overwhelming; and even more so for teens. According to raisingchildren.net.au, here are some ways we can help teenagers face anxiety

  • Acknowledge their fears – don’t dismiss or ignore them. Actively listen to what they have to say.
  • Gently encourage them to do things they are anxious about – don’t force them to face them. Let them know it is ok to have strong emotions about things and to be unsure how to feel about them
  • Don’t make a fuss if they avoid a situation because they are anxious – let them know it may not be the right time to do it, but they can do it in the future
  • Help them understand their feelings – share stories with them about things you might have been afraid of or challenged by. And remind them they are not alone, that other teenagers and even adults feel anxious too.

Teens and Anxiety Disorders

Unlike being anxious about something, if your teen is suffering from an anxiety disorder, there are many resources out there to get help.

Mental health professionals can meet with your teen and diagnose what mental health disorder they may have and start a treatment plan for them. There are many different treatment options, but is one type of talk therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) where a person learns new ways to think and act in situations that can cause anxiety, and to manage and deal with stress. The therapist provides support and sometimes medication to help them get relief from their anxiety.

What teens can to do to get help?

Teen Wondering about

With all of the changes that a teenager experiences, it is sometimes hard for adults to know that there is something really wrong. If you are a teenager and you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone about it. It might just be normal anxiety and just talking about it may help things not seem so bad.

If the issue seems to keep you from doing things that normal teenagers would do, like the character Aza in Turtles All the Way Down, the book I reviewed last week, then you may want to talk to your parents about going and talking to someone who can help you.

Feeling anxious is not fun, but anxiety can be just a normal reaction to stress you are feeling. Too much anxiety or abnormal body chemistry can lead to an anxiety disorder that can be treated or managed. Reach out for help when you are feeling anxious. There are people around you who want to help.

New Website Coming Soon

Looking forward to showing you what the refreshed website looks like. Here is a preview of the home page. We are planning to go live on May 21, 2021.

Website Pre-Launch Graphic

Be sure to stop by and check it out. There will be news about the launch date of book two of The Way Series, Shawn’s Way, on the new site.

Have a great week!

Featured Image Photo by Karl Edwards

Book Review – Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Book Review

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week last week? Get a chance to check in with that teen/young adult in your life yet? After our young adults helped their cousins put in the dock at our family cabin last weekend, we went up as a family this weekend to check on needed repairs and do some additional clean up. We had beautiful weather and it was a great opportunity to spend some time together as a family.

Mental Health Awareness Month Picture

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It was started in 1949 by Mental Health America (MHA). Their purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public on the realities of living with these conditions and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness.

This month, I’ll be focusing my posts on Mental Health issues, not only to raise awareness, but to provide resources to learn more about it and to find help if you need it. While one in five people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

To kick off our theme of Mental Health Awareness this month, I chose to review a novel about a teen who suffers from anxiety.

Turtles All the Way Down Cover Photo

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Turtles All the Way Down

Author

John Green

Type of Book

Young Adult Novel

Author Background

John Green is an American writer who has published twenty-six novels primarily in the young adult genre. Turtles All the Way Down is his fifth solo novel and his first attempt to write a book about the type of mental illness he has had all of his life.

Summary of the book

Turtles All the Way Down is a story about sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety. Her and her best best friend, Daisy Ramirez, start searching for a missing billionaire, temped by a $100,000 reward to split between the two of them. The billionaire happens to be Aza’s friend’s dad. As her and Daisy are looking for him, the anxiety that Aza suffers from shows itself in many ways.

Reaction to the book

I really liked the book because the story and character development made it very engaging and i believe relateable for young adults. The adventure Aza and Daiy go on together made for a fun story, but I also liked following the adventure Aza is on with her anxiety. It showed how anxiety can affct a teenager who is just trying to do the things a normal teenager would do.

If you want to learn more about John Green, here is a link to his website – John Green.

To purchase Turtles All the Way Down, here is a link to Penquin Random House Turtles All the Way Down. Or you can pick it up from your local bookstore or shop Bookshop.org and have the purchase credited to them.

Want to check out another good young adult novel by John Green? Here’s a review I previously posted for Looking for Alaska. It is John Green’s first novel based on his time at Indian Springs School.

Launching My New Website

I am looking forward to launching my new website this month. Be sure to keep an eye out for a fresh look with the new logo. Here is a preview…

Website Pre-Launch Graphic

Have a great week!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Good Morning! Here’s my Monday Morning Blog!

Happy Monday!

Being a author who writes about teen issues, I’m wondering how our teens are doing through this unprecedented time. I see stories about how some kids are working through the changes and being as resilient as they can be. But what about the kids that aren’t? The ones that aren’t doing well with the stay at home orders? Aren’t learning as well at home without the day to day interaction with their friends? Those kids may not reach out and remain quiet. Are we checking in with them and asking them how they feel?

Since 1949, Mental Health America and affiliates have observed May as being Health Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.

There are many messages popping up on social media with resources to help us. The CDC currently has a public Service Announcement which pops up when you search for mental health awareness on Google.

Be Kind to Your Mind:
Tips to cope with stress during COVID-19

PAUSE – Breathe and notice how you feel

TAKE BREAKS – from COVID-19 content

MAKE TIME – to sleep and exercise

REACH OUT – and stay connected

SEEK HELP – If overwhelmed or unsafe

During the quarantine and stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are isolating alone, have major changes to their daily routines that are leading to feelings of helplessness, or are just scared they are going to get the virus. The stress created by this has affected everyone’s mental health, but the tips listed above are good ones to be aware of even when we aren’t involved in a full-blown pandemic. In my research on the topic, I have found a couple of resources for you, your teen, or someone you may care about to look into. Remember, we are all in this together.

“You are Not Alone”
Everyone faces challenges in life that will affect their mental health. Mental Health America states 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime. NAMI joined with the national movement to raise awareness about mental health with their “You are Not Alone” campaign which focuses on the power of connection for those affected by mental illness. Collectively, we can make a positive impact on the millions of people who are struggling and feeling particularly alone given the current situation of social isolation and physical distancing. They are asking the public to share their experiences with mental health conditions at NAMI.org/YourStory. They want to share the lived experience of others to provide a means for people who are struggling to relate to and find comfort in. They also have a NAMI COVID-19 resource guide available in English and Spanish, just follow this link NAMI COVID-19 Resources.

Tools 2 Thrive
Mental Health America’s 2020 theme is Tools to Thrive. They have a 2020 Mental Health Tool Kit that you can download from their website that provides practical tools that we can all use to help improve our mental health regardless of what we are currently dealing with. This year’s tool kit offers printable handouts on topics like Owning Your Feelings, Finding the Positive, Creating Healthy Routines, and others. There are also marketing materials that may be helpful for teachers or community leaders, but may also help families educating from home with some reminders or materials to discuss with their kids. Here is a link to their site Tools 2 Thrive. When requesting the Tool Kit, it will ask for title and organization. If schooling your kids from home, I would enter parent as your title and homeschool or remote learning as your organization.

For as much as we may not like some of the effects of social media and online gaming for our kids and teens, I think it is a saving grace we have it for our kids to stay in touch with each other. It also helps for families and friends to stay in touch during this strange time in our history. Be sure to use the technology to reach out to family members you haven’t heard from in a while. Let your kids have play dates and zoom meetings to just be themselves with their friends online. But, be sure to keep an eye out and ear open to make sure they are doing it safely. We all need to embrace some of the changes that are happening right now on how we interact with one another. But the interaction doesn’t have to and shouldn’t stop.

Lime Green ribbons signify Mental Health Awareness. Be sure to promote awareness by wearing a ribbon or wearing a lime green shirt. Remember to reach out if you are feeling lonely, scared or overwhelmed. We are all in this together.


Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you all found ways to celebrate with your moms, grandmothers, wives, etc. yesterday. Some of us have moms in heaven that we recognize with flowers and prayers. The traditional ways of taking mom to brunch or meeting up for dinner at her favorite spot aren’t going to be an option this year. Let me know what creative ways you came up with to show mom that she is special in the comments below.

Have a great week!