Being anxious and worried can feel really horrible and upsetting, but there are things you can do to help.
Sometimes it can help to ask yourself these questions if you feel anxious.
Sometimes we worry about things we can’t do anything about right now. If the answer is ‘no’, it can help to try and not think about the worry at this moment in time. Think about or do something else to take your mind away from it. You might want to do something active, like ride your bike, play a game, watch TV or read a book. Or you might keep your mind busy by counting the days until your birthday or your holiday? Or count the number of people wearing blue.
Ask yourself what your friends or family would say if you told them about your worry. They would be kind and caring – and tell you that you can cope or you are doing ok.
Sometimes we worry about things that haven’t happened yet. We convince ourselves it will happen, even though we don’t know for sure – so it is not a fact. For example, you might be somewhere and worry that people will make unkind comments about how you look. But it may not happen. You might think it will, because of things that have happened to you before, but it doesn’t mean this will happen every time.
When we worry, we think about what will go wrong or badly – and forget about the good things. Think about other times you were anxious or worried – did things always turn out badly? And even if they did, how did you handle it? Try to think about good things, for example, think of the things you are looking forward to today or how you might reward yourself for doing something you find difficult.
Sometimes we think we know other people’s thoughts, without really knowing. For example, if someone turns away, you might think, “They think I look weird and don’t want to talk to me”. But it could be because they are looking for someone. Or they didn’t notice you. Or they are thinking about something else. There can be lots of reasons. We don’t know what other people are thinking, so try not to read their minds.
Think about the tricky things you have handled so far. How did you deal with these? Remind yourself you can be strong and resilient. Even if it feels like a bad day, or a bad thing – reminding yourself of your good points can help.
It can feel really difficult to have all your worries going round in your head. Some people find it helps to design a worry box to put their worries into:
This is a way of getting the worry out of your head and putting it away somewhere else for now. You can come back to it later. You might find it helpful to go back to your worry box at the end of the day and go through your worries with your mum or dad. This can help you talk about your worries with someone who can help and reassure you.
Talking to someone is the most important thing you can do if you feel anxious or worried. It can feel really difficult to tell someone how you are feeling. You might not want to upset them, or you might be nervous about what they will say. Speak to someone you trust. By talking to someone you are taking charge of your worries and talk through different ways you might be able to cope.
If you are not sure if you are anxious or not, see our sheet on What is anxiety?
You also might like to look at the Upsetting thoughts tool
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