Stress & Anxiety
What is Anxiety?
Living with cystic fibrosis has many things that are stressful, such as fear about a medical procedure or worries about catching nasty bugs. Anxiety is our mind’s and our body’s way of dealing with challenging situations. Those butterfly feelings we get are our natural response to these situations.
Although it doesn’t feel pleasant, anxiety can help jog us towards our goals. It can alert us to dangers and help us pay attention. So if you feel stressed about an upcoming exam, it might make you more motivated to study for it. Without the discomfort of stress, we might never get off the couch!
Don’t forget that anxiety is a normal emotion that comes and goes. Some of the main things it can be triggered by are fears or worries about health, work, relationships or money.
The emotion of anxiety can be a useful sign to help us prepare for managing difficult events and upcoming changes.
Dealing with anxiety
Sometimes our anxiety levels get high enough to become a problem. If anxiety doesn’t go away and gets worse over time, this might mean you have an anxiety disorder. This can stop you from taking part in everyday activities, such as going to school, meeting friends, exercising or hospital visits. Anxiety disorders are different from ‘normal’ feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve having excessive fears that may cause physical symptoms.
Some of the things that can happen if you have an anxiety disorder are:
- Physical symptoms, like panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, a racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy
- Psychological symptoms such as excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking
- Behavioural issues like avoiding situations that make you feel anxious, which can have an impact on your study, work or social life
Who to talk to and how to get help
It’s always good to share your worries with someone you trust.
If you think that your anxiety is becoming a problem and is stopping you doing the things in life that you want to do, it can help to get some support from a trusted adult.
Some of the people you might like to talk to are a parent or family member, your CF clinic team, your family doctor, a psychologist or counselor, a teacher or another school staff member such as a nurse, wellbeing officer or year coordinator.
The links below can assist you to find information services and supports in your area.
If you are having a tough time and need someone to talk to right now, the following services are there to listen and help you out. They are confidential and available 24/7.
Lifeline – Call 13 11 14, Online Chat (7pm-12am), Visit lifeline.org.au
Kids Help Line – Call 1300 659 467, Online Chat, Visit kidshelpline.com.au
The views, experiences or comments shared on this website are not medical advice and may not reflect opinions or beliefs of Cystic Fibrosis Community Care. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions regarding your health.