Anxiety and How It Feels

Anxiety is a strange feeling. When I first started to get anxiety the only way I could explain it was that it felt like excitement, yet I wasn’t excited. Quite frightened, actually. It was like nothing I had ever felt before, and not in a good way. I wasn’t quite sure what the feeling could be until a month or so afterward, when I began to figure it out, and my sibling helped me to understand what it was.

Anxiety is something that happens when your fight or flight reflexes kick in at random times, for no particular reason. When you aren’t in any trouble at all, it can act up, and cause huge damage to your mental health. It isn’t something you are born with. In fact, it is something your brain makes up, and with the right help, you can find the right way to make yourself feel less anxious. This has to do with methods that work for you.

While I won’t go too deep into methods, since my friend Liam is going to be talking mostly about what helps him with anxiety, and what he does to get rid of it, I will share two of my methods that have greatly helped me. The first of these is called a worry stone. It’s something you can buy online, in stores, or simply find on the ground. It’s a smooth stone that you can carry in your hand and rub whenever you begin to feel anxious. One of the reasons this works is because often touching objects will help get you out of panic mode. Another thing I would suggest is drinking water. You will often get dehydrated when you are in fight or flight mode, so although it may not completely take away your anxiousness, it should help to steady your breathing and get you back on the right track!

Anxiety is usually the cause for panic attacks. There are three stages—from my experience—that happen when a panic attack is coming on. The first is regular anxiety, the second is an anxiety attack, and afterward it spirals into a panic attack. Often, when you are having a panic attack, you can feel numb, dizzy, shaky, and your heart will be racing. Of course, there are more extreme symptoms as well, but those are the main ones that most people will experience. Though the methods are ways to make sure you don’t have a panic attack, just remember that if you ever do, they will pass. They don’t last forever. Stay strong and positive, and remember that you will get through this!

Take care!

~ Georgia, Young Adult Advisory Board Secretary 

This post is part of a series “Mental Health: Teen to Teen,” written by teens in the library’s Young Adult Advisory Board.

The Young Adult Advisory Board is made up of teen volunteers who desire to help with and be a part of the library’s events and services aimed at middle and high school students. Interested in joining? Fill out an application here.

How to Help a Friend with Depression

Unfortunately, depression is a huge problem among teens these days, with about 20% of people experiencing depression before adulthood. In teens, the rate of depression and anxiety is five times higher than in the 1930s. One of your friends could be dealing with depression, which can sometimes lead to them taking their own life.

First, here are some symptoms:

  • They seem hopeless about the future.
  • They are unusually sad, angry, or irritated.
  • They seem low-energy or unmotivated.
  • They care less about or can’t concentrate on their interests or their friends.
  • They don’t seem to care as much as usual about their appearance.
  • They talk about being worthless or letting people down.

If your friend fits some of those, they may have depression. But what can you do if you suspect they may be dealing with it? 

  • Depression can be a hard thing to talk about, so make sure you are ready to listen. Encourage them to seek help or therapy. Let them know you’re there for them, and don’t sit down to talk about it if you only have a few minutes to spare.
  • Don’t take it personally if they don’t seem to want to hang out or if they act cold or angry towards you. Don’t act the same way to them, and make sure to give them some space.  
  • Learn about depression yourself. Do some research, and try to understand what they’re dealing with. Some important things to know are causes, symptoms, and common treatments.
  • Offer to help them. Depression can often come with a lack of motivation, so they might not feel like doing certain tasks, and everything can pile up. You could come over and help them clean their room, or just keep them company. 
  • Check in with them. Ask them how they’re feeling, and if they need your help. Even if it’s just a text, it could help them not feel as lonely to know someone cares.
  • Don’t act as if depression isn’t a problem or as if you can fix it yourself. Depression is a serious illness; you wouldn’t ask someone with a cold to just “get better”. You need to remember that treating it requires time.
  • If they start to show signs of being suicidal, it’s time to intervene. These signs can include giving away belongings, buying a weapon, showing dangerous behavior, talking about death, or feeling hopeless. You should talk to them alone, and ask them if they are contemplating suicide. Encourage them to talk to a therapist about it, and make sure to tell an adult. 

No one wants to lose someone important to them. Suicide is one of the top ten causes of death in the USA, and it’s preventable if you take the right steps. Make sure to take depression seriously, and to help your friends if they’re struggling.

– Eva, Young Adult Advisory Board Emperor

This post is part of a series “Mental Health: Teen to Teen,” written by teens in the library’s Young Adult Advisory Board.

The Young Adult Advisory Board is made up of teen volunteers who desire to help with and be a part of the library’s events and services aimed at middle and high school students. Interested in joining? Fill out an application here.

Stress Reduction Techniques

I’m so pleased to introduce a new post series for December on teens and mental health, written by local teens in our Young Adult Advisory Board. First up, Bridget, our Young Adult Advisory Board President, talks about stress and how to deal. Enjoy!  – Andria

Stress can be brought on by almost everything whether it’s work, school, or just things in your personal life. Stress is something that everyone has and it’s so important to find ways to help us reduce stress in our lives.

I’ve personally struggled with stress from school and things in my personal life. I’ve listed some ways that have helped me, hopefully they can help you too.

  • Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep can go a long way, 7-9 hours is great! Be careful not to sleep too much more than that though.   
  • Take a breather. Sometimes a break for a bit from the things that are stressing us out can really make a difference in the way you’re thinking about things. 
  • Exercise. Taking walks and moving around can be really helpful to get the mind thinking. 
  • Doing things you enjoy. Everyone has things that they do to help them stay calm and grounded. Sometimes those things are art, reading, and many many more. Just do what makes you happy. 
  • Talk with someone. Talking to a friend or family member about the things that are happening in your life can be very relieving to the mind and body. 
  • So, you didn’t follow step one and now you’re running on 5 hours of sleep? Don’t overdo the caffeine! Caffeine  is a stimulant and can actually increase your anxiety and make you feel shaky and agitated causing your stress to increase.
  • Look in a mirror and tell yourself three positive things about yourself, here are some ideas: “I am valuable”, “I am beautiful”, “ I am kind”. Remember you are valuable and you are special!
  • If a big school project is stressing you, get out your pen and paper or handy planner and break that huge, overwhelming project into smaller chunks. Monday do a portion, Tuesday do another small part. If you are able, schedule a break night on Wednesday and keep going from there.  
  • Remember, even though things feel really tough right now drugs and alcohol are not the answer. If you are thinking about using drugs to cope. STOP. Remind yourself you are more valuable this and reach out to a trusted adult, maybe a parent, a teacher, or a family friend. 

You are valuable, you are kind, you are important. Hang in there, follow these steps or reach out to a trusted adult to talk about your stress. It will subside, this is not permanent. You got this!

-Bridget M., Young Adult Advisory Board President

This post is part of a series “Mental Health: Teen to Teen,” written by teens in the library’s Young Adult Advisory Board.

The Young Adult Advisory Board is made up of teen volunteers who desire to help with and be a part of the library’s events and services aimed at middle and high school students. Interested in joining? Fill out an application here.

Dang, the library’s closed?! Now what?

Yes, it’s true. Due to pandemic concerns in the Chippewa Valley, library leadership decided to close the doors for a few weeks. You may be asking, “Now what?”

You may not realize it, but the library offers numerous online resources, including e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming music, magazines, and even movies – all free with your Eau Claire library card! Don’t have an Eau Claire library card? Get digital access now with an e-card.

Online Resources

Hoopla: E-audiobooks, E‑books, Graphic Novels, Music, VideoInstant access to popular materials. Login or create account with your library card information, and you can download three titles each month. No waiting lists=instant access.

WI’s Digital Library: E-audiobooks, E‑books, Graphic Novels, VideoMassive catalog of books and audiobooks available. Some items are available 100% of the time, but some popular items do have wait lists. Check out up to ten items at a time, no monthly limit.

Freegal: Music, VideoDownloadable music and music videos. Unlimited streaming. Tried of ads on Spotify or Pandora? Give Freegal a try!

Freading: E‑books, Graphic Novels—Great for a variety of e-books, including teen fiction and nonfiction!

Flipster: Magazines—Popular magazines: anytime, anywhere. Print magazines may be super old school, but digital magazines are a hit.

BONUS: The library is still offering online programming. Teen Game Night, Among Us Game Night, and Teen Litwits Book Club are all still happening over the next month. We meet over Zoom, and it’s always a fun time. Shoot us an email to find out more.

Strike a pose! Mummy Supermodels are here

Halloween may be over, but November is the perfect time to craft your own Mummy Supermodel! The second Teen Take & Make kit is here and ready for you to pick up.

Fill out a request form here. Call Youth Services at 715-839-5007 to arrange a time to pick it up with one of our many Browsing Appointment slots. It’s SUPER easy to pick up your Mummy SUPERmodel. ;)

Questions? Send us a note.

Don’t want to pick up the kit, but still want to make a mummy? Take a look at the directions here.