Am I normal?
I'm twelve and I feel alone. I have recently noticed that I may have anxiety. This is because I looked at a lot of websites and videos I have all the symptoms of anxiety. I think this started in yr 5 when I started to sit with the "cooler" kids. At first, I thought it was fine, but soon, I got uncomfortable. It's not that don't like them, I like them very much, I just feel like I don't fit right in. I used to have a friend who was my best friend and I felt so comfortable with her, but we got distant and recently, she left to another city. Now I feel like I don't fit in at school anymore. I still hang out with my friends but I don't like the things they like and I think they just put up with me because we used to have fun together. As well as this, I have chest pain, dizziness, trembling, and sudden panic attacks. I want to tell someone but I'm scared to.
My parents don't understand me. I come from a Chinese background, but I was born and raised here in Australia and I have always spoken English and hung out with western girls. So whenever I talk about something that they are not familiar to, they freak out and misunderstand me. We always get into fights and it's really scary. My sister has also never been close to me. I really want to be her friend and play with her like everyone else, but she is so rude to me.
I feel like I don't belong at home or at school and always have to pretend to be okay. As well as this, I have a really tight schedule. I do coaching because my parents want me to go to a good uni. I also want to go too but it's so much work. I do coaching all weekend. Although I think coaching is stressful, I don't think I could not do it because I'm so used to the stress now. Everything I do is competitive. I do competitive swimming and compete in regionals, competitive, AFL, running, fencing, hockey and other things like robotics.
I don't want to let go of these things but I'm really overwhelmed. I feel like I can't concentrate. Now in online school, I can't focus and I always tell lies to avoid uncomfortable situations. I have only told one person about this, she is my friend, and she went through a similar thing last year. No-one else knows and I don't want to tell my parents, I just want some support.
I'm really terrified to be on this website because I'm afraid people will find out who I am or something. I have never done anything like this before. I hope you can help me because I don't know how to help myself.
We're so sorry to hear you feel alone, it must've been really difficult to have such a close friend move cities and to feel disconnected from other kids at school. Can we ask, do you have any mental health support? We understand it can be really tough to cope sometimes, especially if you don't have a lot of support from family or friends. If you would like some help finding mental health support, we would recommend that you get in contact with Kids Helpline https://kidshelpline.com.au/. It sounds like you're in a really tough situation and it might help to talk it out whenever you're feeling overwhelmed. Kids Helpline counsellors can be contacted 24/7 via telephone and also via webchat if you go through the website provided.
If you feel it might be useful, we'd also encourage you to visit our Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. The website will be regularly updated with information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time. Thanks again for reaching out as we know that it can be really tough to do this for the first time. We hope that you find some comfort here in the words of wisdom and kindness that our community can offer.
We appreciate you being here- we are here to listen.
In addition to Sophie_M's suggestions, please remember that you are free and very welcome to check back with us and let us know how you go reaching out to a service. We know seeking help can be a daunting process; if you want any general tips on how to do it, let us know. Please also remember to be gentle with yourself and practise self-care; do things that make you happy/distract you. Take breaks from study to help clear your head, move your body, and get fresh air.
Sending kindness your way,
I want to let you know that coming on here and seeking some advice is something to be really proud of because it is great that you are looking out for yourself and seeking some support.
I remember when I was younger I had a similar experience with my older sister, I always wanted to hang out with her and her friends and she was just so rude to me and never wanted me to join in. Looking back now I realise that this wasn't because she hated me (which is what I honestly thought), but it was something out of my control and maybe she just liked having family and friend time as separate things in her life. My suggestion is to ask her to watch a movie that you know she likes or try to do something she likes as a way to bond with her so that maybe she will be excited about doing something together.
I can imagine that your parents and your sister want you to feel like you belong and so even if it is scary to talk to them about it or if you feel like they don't understand, I would definitely suggest trying to talk to them about how you're feeling. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is explaining how you're feeling to someone but even if it takes a really big conversation that seems like they aren't understanding, they will be more aware of how you're feeling by the end of it. I really advise you to talk to your close friends, maybe the one who you have already spoken to because its great to get these things off your chest and by talking about it with someone you trust, you might gain confidence to talk to your family and they can help you with some of your struggles.
It might also be a good idea to pick some of your favourite hobbies and sports instead of doing all of them. Its important that your hobbies are fun and not a chore that you feel that you have to do. Also bear in mind that getting into uni isn't just about doing lots of things competitively but its about doing things you enjoy, so it's important to pick a few things you prefer and stick to that. You might think you won't know how to live without stress but you will actually probably enjoy having free time to do things you actually love instead of something just to get into uni a few years in the future. I hope this helps and feel free to ask for some clarification about uni stuff if you're curious.
My goodness, I feel exhausted reading over your schedule. You're certainly amazing to be doing all these things. It would definitely take a lot of energy, which leads me to wonder whether you enjoy all the high energy stuff or it's beginning to have a bit of an impact on you, keeping up with it all.
In mentioning your Chinese heritage, I'm wondering if you have any relatives who practice any energy balancing exercises (such as Tai Chi for example). There is much to be learned from Eastern practices in the way of understanding how our energy behaves. You might find some unique understanding regarding anxiety. There's a possibility you're feeling overwhelmed and need to find balance in order to work with relaxed activity in your body. If all your activities involve some degree of stress or hyper-activity in your body, you definitely need some calming practices in your life.
If you happen to know someone who does have an interest in energy balancing, you don't necessarily have to mention to your parents the degree of stress you're dealing with, maybe just mention (at this stage) how much you desperately want to create balance in your life, for the sake of your health. This could be a good start. Once you begin to balance things, you might naturally choose to drop certain activities in favour of other ones that serve you in a variety of other ways.
I'm wondering whether you're naturally gifted in the way you're able to observe others, such as those in your friendship circle. If you're observing the differences between you and them, have you ever wondered about connecting with others you may share common interests with? Are there any interests you have that you naturally love? Does your school have a meditation or relaxation group? Maybe you could talk to someone in the well being team at your school about starting one up.
Just a few ideas as I wish you all the best in rising to the challenge of coming to know your self better than ever before. By the way, if you can think of someone who would naturally make a good mentor or guide in your life, consider sounding them out first when it comes to how they master finding balance in their life. Take care.
Just checking in since it has been a while since we have heard from you. Have you managed to reach out and use any of the services suggested here? Would you like guidance on how to access those services and what to expect? Feel free to let us know how you are travelling if you like, we are here to listen.
hey ribbon2 firstly I would like to congratulate you on taking this step this is something you should be very proud of and you are extremely brave. I just want to say I know its scary being overwhelmed with feelings you do not understand but you have to understand these feelings are normal millions and millions people go through these feelings and you are not alone. maybe write down some things on a piece of paper that you love about yourself you are amazing ribbon always remember that.
I have had friends throughout my childhood who went through what you are going through right now. Having you leg stuck in a MILLION competitive talents, having passion for those talents, but a lot of the drive coming from the pressure to keep the trend you have always been keeping: performing well.
I am really sorry to hear that your family is not your support system at the moment. I have a very long history of never being the one who fits in - I used to define my biggest insecurity as " I can't fit into groups of people - no matter what". And I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why. I can relate t how you might feel with your friends at this point.
I want you to know that you are COMPLETELY NORMAL. Not only that, you are EXCEPTIONAL. Believe me when i say this. when I saw my friends in this condition, it was very obvious that it wasn't their personality. It was the PEOPLE, CIRCUMSTANCES, and EXPECTATIONS that have been set for you.
Ribbon, you are 12 years old. Life has so much more to offer to you. I hope you build the strength and resilience to get through this difficult time till you are independent enough to make your choices in life.
For now, I suggest this.
Why don't you grab a piece of paper, and divide it into two columns. On one side, write all of the things you do at the moment. Put in your coaching your friends, everything. Then on the next side, write down the FIVE things that you think YOU like, or YOU want to do, if the pressure to perform wasn't there. It will probably help you understand what is most important to you, and then you can choose to work on them as a Priority, so you will know that you are working had to things important to you first. This might seem confusing to you, but keep that paper and hold on. and you grow, and become stronger, that priority list will help you choose one thing over another.
Now doesn't mean those priorities can't change, but at least you'll be able to avoid scrutinising yourself for things that aren't even your fault!