Anxiety doesn’t have to limit you

Recently I came across the topic of anxiety in school and it really caught my eye. A person had suggested that students should not be obligated to do presentations if they happen to be suffering with anxiety. Well, I disagree. Presentations help better one’s communication skills and also prepare them for the world outside of school.

This increasing epidemic of anxiety associated with school actually happens to be the No.1 reason why high school students seek out mental health therapy. I wasn’t aware of how prominent anxiety disorders actually are, but I am aware that there needs to be change on how mental health is approached in school.

I myself have experience with anxiety. I actually suffer from it to this day. Yet, I refuse to let it constantly stop me from doing what I need to do whenever I need to accomplish something.

Usually whenever I am assigned a presentation I get extremely excited. I love presenting and I have never been the type of person to get nervous when talking in front of a big crowd.

However, when I first started experiencing anxiety and I was assigned a presentation, a terrifying feeling took over me. I started to sweat, my heart was racing, and I started to overthink everything. The weirdest thing was that I didn’t feel like I needed to be nervous. Presenting had always been a piece of cake for me, why was I worried about it now? And it didn’t stop there, I get this way when I have to go anywhere or do anything. Sometimes I get like this when I don’t  even have anything to be remotely worried about.

I had refused to bring it to anybody’s attention because I thought I was just crazy or something. I thought it wasn’t common because I was never told it was.

Mental health is not prioritized as much as physical health, but it should be.

I realize how much of a complex issue anxiety can be. It’s insensitive to oversimplify the issue. I have researched alternatives such as presenting to the teacher individually rather than the whole class and even students just failing instead of presenting due to their social anxiety, but at the end of the day who is this helping? Is there supposed to be an alternative for everything somebody might face? The answer is no.

So what can be done to help students relieve their social anxiety? What can be done to help students feel better about presenting rather than just getting rid of presentations altogether? The best solution would have to be schools providing some sort of help for social anxiety. Just making people face their fears doesn’t work, especially when it comes to anxiety.

The solution is not to stop presentations or to exempt students from them. The solution lies in making mental health more known to students.

Fortunately, we have the resources and if anybody is struggling with social anxiety and it happens to be affecting their school work they should utilize what’s available to get the support they need.

I’ve been to Healthy Start numerous times yet I didn’t even think to ask if we had a therapist, let alone book an appointment with them. It turns out our campus’s Healthy Start includes two licensed therapists. Simple things like letting students know that there is somebody they can talk to, especially a trained professional, can help them open up to potentially overcome their anxiety.

Class presentations about mental health in addition to some counselling could be very beneficial. There could be so many questions and concerns that students have but never even think to mention since it seems to not be important. In this presentation for mental health awareness there could be strategies to help overcome anxiety rather than just avoiding different social interactions altogether.

Once an informative class presentation on what Healthy Start offers is completed, students could then have that leverage to help better their anxiety.  It may also help them with other mental health issues that can be applied to all aspects of their life, not just presenting in school.

At the end of the day you’re going to have to face social interactions whether it’s presenting a project in front of a class, getting interviewed for a job, or any other thing you’ll need to do in order to get from point A to point B in life.