There is a lot that contributes to your anxiety. Do you know that your behavior can help maintaining the anxiety?
What is avoidance behavior?
When I experienced my first anxiety attack, back in my teenage year, I was not aware that it was an anxiety attack. I thought it was me who could no longer keep a straight face and had lost all control of myself. I felt everyone was looking at me because I showed weakness and thought they had never seen anything like it. I was ashamed and did most of all want to escape. If it was possible I would have wiped my experience free from everyone’s memorys. The experience in itself was physically but also mixed with an intense sense of social shame.
Since I could not erase the memory and history from either them or myself, I could not forget the incident. The thought of the experience could get my heart racing and my body to shake and my thoughts were in constantly focus on of how I could avoid losing control again. At that time I did not know strategies for how I could deal with the anxiety. Therefore my immediate reaction was to control myself even more. That is, suppress my feelings, my sadness, anger and irritation, hide my insecurity and shyness. The natural reaction was to tighten up even more in my hands, arms, legs and stomach. Even my smile muscles were tense.
My reaction was natural because it was the only way I knew how I could cope with the feelings. But it did not work particularly well. In fact, I put myself under further pressure and led therefore to that the anxiety quickly turned back.
Help your anxious child, discover the anxiety in time and seek help! The faster you find help for your child, the easier it is for them to avoid anxiety and avoid late effects later in their lives
Here are some signals you can watch for, if you are in doubt whether your child has anxiety:
- If your child begin to avoid school because of the high demands
- If your child begin to avoid driving in the car, avoid the elevator or other transport that your child used to be okay with
- If your child has become more introverted than usual
- If your childs quality of life is more impaired than normal
- If your child gets a stomach ache or avoid social activities such as school camps and common spare time activities
- If your childs self-confidence and self-esteem is falling
- Somatic symptoms such as abdominal pain, sleep disturbances, muscle tension which is isolated can also be a signal
If you are in doubt, please contact the childs teacher at school or a school psychologist if one is attached. Share your concerns and observations and express if your child/familily has been through a difficult or stressful time recently. Try to initially hide your anxiety away from the child and instead using the teacher / psychologist to spar with, as the anxiety might be transferred to your child, – it might maintain and even worsen the childs anxiety.
Source: Sjællandske Medier og Ingrid Leth, Lektor ved Københavns Universitets Institut for Psykologi