My name is Jake and I want to share my story with you.
Anxiety can begin in many ways and it tends to run in families, and my mom and Uncle have both struggled with anxiety over the years. For me, I’ve always been shy and felt a little anxious in new situations, or times when I was unsure.
When my anxiety began, I was in grade 7. I began feeling stress when a teacher would ask me about an assignment or a test, and because I was shy, if I didn’t know how to answer their question, I started worrying. I didn’t know how to cope with the feelings, and I began calling home with stomachaches and headaches and missing school. Once I got home I felt safe and the feelings went away. I didn’t know what was happening when I was worried all the time and feeling sick to my stomach and not being able to cope with the anxiety. My mom recognized the anxiety and got me into a course to learn about anxiety, why it was happening and how to cope.
Since taking the course, I’ve had anxiety a number of times and recognized it, by the physical feeling I was having, and I try to think to myself about what’s causing the anxiety and realize it’s not real, it hasn’t happened, it likely won’t happen and go through my coping mechanisms to calm my mind and body. So far there hasn’t been a situation I couldn’t talk myself out of or calm myself down from
Anxiety is a difficult thing for teachers to understand because it isn’t a physical illness like the flu or a cold. I found that it was hard for people understand how it can overwhelm and affect you in these ways. I feel that presenting to schools will teach not only the kids and teens about anxiety, but the teachers also.
I feel drawn to help kids with anxiety mainly because I had anxiety and I got the help I needed before it got worse. I know that if I didn’t get help, I would still be getting the affects of anxiety, especially with me going to high school, where the stress and pressure is increased.
I want to be able to share anxiety techniques that I learned and for kids and peers to know they are not alone. I feel that teens can relate better to other teens, than they can to adults, so in sharing my story, perhaps it can help some teens that may not even recognize that what they’re going through in anxiety. I was lucky in that my mom had dealt with anxiety and recognized it and got me the right help right away.
My anxiety and/or stress management techniques are;
Whenever I feel anxious or stressed I find that playing sports helps me use up my energy, which is relaxing. The sports I do most are soccer, skateboarding BMX’ing and free running. When I do sports, it makes me happy, gives me adrenaline, and I love the competition. Another strategy I love for taking my mind off of things is gaming with my friends. As much as people say gaming isn’t great for you, it lets your mind to take a break, and it gives you adrenaline. And most males love the competitive aspect of trying to win a game.
Dogs help to relax people, so I spend time every day playing with my dog.
I love to go for walks with my family and dog in the forest. Being there is very relaxing and clears my head.
When I think about being an Ambassador for Cam’s Kids, I think it’s important to be a role model. I also think that you have to be relatable so that kids and teens can feel comfortable sharing their experiences with anxiety and not feel intimidated asking questions. You also have to care about youth and your peers in order to want to help.