The end of the academic year statistics at my workplace confirmed what I had already observed in my private counselling practise as well – that anxiety symptoms are going through the roof. These symptoms range from an ongoing low-grade anxiousness to having full blown panic attacks, but they are currently experienced by the majority of young people who walk through my door.
The sense I get is a fundamental insecurity in young people, a lack of ‘okayness’ that leaves them constantly on edge and uncertain about what is going to happen in their lives. There are of course very real practical reasons why this might be the case: academic and career pressures, financial worries, threat of terrorism etc that lead to an anxious state of being, however, I propose that the cause of unrest runs much deeper than this.
The missing ingredient for so many teenagers I treat is connection, to themselves and to others. Without connection we can feel cast adrift in a tumultuous sea. The relationship we have with ourselves is a constant bearing to always refer back to. Even though we are continually growing and evolving, we can rely on our bodies to tell us exactly how we are feeling and what is truly going on for us inside…the body cannot lie.
With increasing levels of intensity being experienced by young people in their lives, many are resorting to escapism in order to cope – through social media, gaming, even living a fantasy world in their own minds. This is a real concern, because they are becoming more detached from the one thing that can support them to reduce anxiety levels – connection to the body. And this relationship is like having a best friend always with you, who only tells you the truth. And if I may continue with the sea analogy, once we develop greater self and body awareness, we can ride (surf) the waves of life rather than getting tossed about and losing our sense of perspective.
It is for this reason that I am offering various groupwork in Bath to 14-24 year olds. It provides young people with an opportunity each week to build a stronger connection to what they are feeling in their bodies and offers tools to help develop greater self-awareness.
We explore topics that are common within the group and have fun as well!
For further information, please get in touch with me directly: Janet Williams, 07731 548914, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are outside the 14-24yr age bracket and would like some support with anxiety, please contact me directly.