Is Life’s Pressures causing Anxiety and Depression in our Children.

Over the last few months, I have seen more and more teenagers coming to see me with severe anxiety and depression.  It got me thinking to why and where this anxiety and depression is coming from.  I think back to my childhood and realise that back then there was much less pressure on young people to perform at school.  I can here my parents saying just do your best that’s all you can do.  I echo this to my children today, often saying I don’t care what set your in as long as you are doing your best/trying the best you can that is all I ask.  Not every child is an academic and I think we need to remember that there are other options such as apprenticeships for those that are not academic but are hands on people learning a trade using their hands.  Amazing creative people that are good at creating things but haven’t managed to get 10 A*. I fit into that category and I think I have done ok in life, I am doing the job I love. I may not be an A student but I have learnt many life skills which are more valuable to me.

I have seen children with anxiety about just going to school, severe anxiety about assessments at school my son being one of these in junior school.  He worried about these assessments so much that he didn’t sleep properly or eat that well.  He would feel sick on the days he knew the tests were taking place.  He was so worried he was going to fail.  My reply to him was you cant be good at everything just do your best.  I always say to my kids if you can say you did your best and know you did the best you could that is good enough for me.  Surely if our children are not sleeping or eating properly and are worrying about things they should not be worrying about it cant be bringing the best out of them or enabling them try to do the best they can.

Of all the young patients I have seen with anxiety and depression (and of course I can only speak about the ones I have worked with) the central emotion behind their anxiety and depression is a pure fear of failure.

These youngsters are high performing children that are reaching their targets at school and doing very well and instead of feeling proud of themselves they are worrying about pushing themselves further.  I have listened to kids say but I did rubbish in my last assessment, or I am not good enough at Spanish/Science and I need to be because I am good at everything else.  I keep hearing I need to move forward I am stuck, I am not being supported by my teachers, I’ve done my targets I need to be pushed!  To me this is heart-breaking stuff these kids have not only done their absolute best but have not even paused to think wow I have achieved so much this term/year I am really proud of myself.  They are just focusing on the next test.

I have had young teenagers, that have left school and are at college where sometimes the support is not as consistent as it is at school because you are now looked upon as a young adult and given more independence which is not a bad thing as long as these teenagers are coping and have the support they need.  I have seen patients with massive anxieties about certain aspects of their studies not having the self-confidence or self-esteem when clearly they are academically enough.

I can feel the fear of failure in these children.

Well here are some of the symptoms I have heard from my patients.

I have voices in my head saying your not good enough your rubbish, you cant do that.  There is no point getting out of bed your only show yourself up.

I am not as good as the other people in my class.  They pick on me because I am not as good as them.

I don’t want to go to school because I am in the bottom group and people call me names.

My parents say I have to work hard or I wont get a good job and have a nice house and car.

To pure anxiety where they don’t want to go to sleep at night because everything goes through their mind.  They feel they will let everyone down round them as well as themselves.

IBS symptoms caused from anxiety and nerves.

Palpitations in the chest leading to panic attacks. images

Being sick, not being able to eat properly.

OCD tendencies  because that is something they can control.  So getting up really early and checking their school bags have everything they should have in them several times before bed and even getting up in the night to check again.  Leaving for school early so they are not late and when I say early I mean 3 hours earlier than they need too.

Staying in bed most of the day on a Sunday because they can’t bear the thought of having to start a new week at school or college.

To the extreme where they state they don’t want to live anymore and more worryingly when they are asked why they feel like this they don’t know.  They do know and 9 times out of 10 it is a complete fear of failure.  Voicing this to me is a failure in their eyes,  so instead of admitting failure they tell me they just don’t want to be here anymore.  They just want it all to stop.

I feel all alone know one understands me or understands how I feel.  They don’t support me.  My family/teachers are not here for me.

I don’t want to see my friends, do anything fun anymore.  I am happy laying in bed all day on my mobile phone/tablet.

There is lots of anger, frustration and what we call stroppy teenager behaviour because after all this is a really difficult time in their lives becoming a teenager.  They are not little kids anymore but they are not adults either and lets not even mention the hormonal changes they are experiencing which is highly embarrassing for them.  We have all been there and I need to remember sometimes what it was like.  I personally believe that life is also about failing sometimes, because by failing we learn that life is not about being perfect but about being the best person we can be with the gifts we have been given.  As long as we learn from our mistakes then it is ok and sometimes we end up making the same mistake more than once before we learn but that is also ok.

I can also relate to the fear of failure, as back in 1999 I had a nervous breakdown and without going into too much detail I was trapped in a violent abusive alcohol fuelled marriage and although I know I needed to get out of it I kept trying to make the relationship better so that I did not feel that I had failed and let my family down by getting divorced.    I remember feeling alone and feeling that no one understood or could help me.   But I am living proof that you can bounce back and lead a more empowering life.

I wish I had known about homeopathy back then and was able to treat myself naturally as the anti depressants I was prescribed either kept me awake 24/7 where I only slept about 3 hours a day or the other extreme where I felt drugged up to the eyeballs not functioning at all.  Also these drugs are addictive and homeopathy isnt.

So my passion today is to help young people that are clearly drawn to me to get back on track with life using homeopathy and visualisation techniques to help them cope with life’s stresses and ups and downs.

The following homeopathic remedies have been a great help to my patients.

Nat Mur – A great remedy for depression with great weakness and weariness, this person will be reserved and introverted.  Will have severe depression and feelings of isolation.  Not able to cry in front of others. Will have a fear of intimacy, rejection and betrayal.  Fear of being late, fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed.  Have great anxiety and fear with fluttering at the heart. They will be irritable and angry.  Anxiety in stomach rising to the head.

Aurum Metallicum – Mental state of great depression, acute mental depression. Suffer hopelessness, melancholy.  The future looks dark, Sadness when alone, Despondent and a great desire to commit suicide.  Talks of committing suicide, a loss of love of life, feels he will never succeed, utter worthlessness, Restless sleep with anxious dreams.

Anacardium Orientale – A remedy for Bi-polar, manic depression, fears, and delusions.  Great emptiness in the stomach with weakness and irritability. Fear of examinations, brain fatigue, nervous exhaustion from over study.  Profound depression and hypochondriasis with a tendency to use violent language.  Delusion that a demon and an angel sit on his shoulders telling him good or bad things.  Feels as if he had two wills one commanding him to do what the other forbids.

Arsenicum Album – Clinging, anxious and desperate.  Extremely nervous and anxious.  Restlessness and changes position constantly.  Anxiety about health, anguish and restlessness, Fear of death but tired of living, Fear of diseases. Fear of being left alone.  Fears something will happen to their family.  OCD  Obsessed about tidiness and order.  Domineering and demanding.  Despair drives him from place to place. Cling to their parents.  Sleeplessness from anxiety, nervous, exhaustion, restlessness.  Sleeplessness until 3am.

These are just some of the remedies that can help anxiety and depression there are more hence, I do urge you to see a professional homeopath, as each person will have a different story and have their own unique journey to wholeness and this needs to be supported by your homeopath.

We all know someone that has or is suffering with anxiety and depression and I would love you to share this newsletter/blog with them so that they are aware that there is alternative help to conventional anti-depressants.

Best Wishes to you all and remember to pause and acknowledge what you have achieved in your life before you push yourself further.  When you feel overwhelmed or low reach out for help and support.