Anxiety is manifested by a wide range of symptoms, some of which are quite confusing, particularly in children. This is the reason why a huge percentage of children with anxiety go untreated.
If your children have used some of the phrases below, it might be a good idea to start talking to them about anxiety.
11 Phrases Kids Might Use to Tell You “I’m Anxious”
1. “What’s wrong with me?”
If your child expresses self-doubt often, be on a lookout for other signs of anxiety.
“I didn’t realize I had anxiety and my parents didn’t either. They just thought I was being dramatic when I would burst into tears crying, ‘What is wrong with me?’” said one user from The Mighty.
2. “I don’t feel well.”
Sometimes, a complaint about a stomach ache or a headache could be that.
Sometimes, a complaint about body aches could be just that.
“Or more specifically, ‘My stomach hurts.’ Even now, my gut and my feelings are still greatly connected,” said one commenter.
3. “My body is uncomfortable.”
The chances are your kid thinks mental and physical health is the same!
“I used to say, ‘My body is uncomfortable, my body is uncomfortable!’ I didn’t know what it was at the time. Years later, I finally figured it out!” added another user.
4. “Can you turn on the hallway light for me at night?”
There is a huge difference between being afraid of the dark and being overwhelmed about it.
“I lived in fear for a few years that someone was going to come into my room and kidnap me,” explained one user. “The light didn’t help. I would lie in bed for two hours just waiting. I still don’t sleep well.”
5. “Don’t leave me.”
If your child refuses to leave you even for a very short time, it is likely that it exhibits separation anxiety.
“I was very anxious about being abandoned as a child,” said another commenter. “I believed people would leave me if I wasn’t good enough, and it would be my fault.”
6. “Is it time to leave yet?” or “I want to go home.”
Although huge and loud parties can be unpleasant for anyone, they can be extremely troubling for children with anxiety.
“I always said this because crowds of even more than two people would trigger my anxiety,” noted another commenter. “I couldn’t wait ’till said events or functions were done.”
7. “Can’t we stay home?”
If your child prefers to stay at home over new and fun experiences, the chances are it exhibits signs of anxiety.
“I hated going out places because the noise bothered me. Now as an adult, I try to balance things, but it’s still a challenge,” confessed one participant.
8. “You do it.” or “I don’t want to!”
Is your child avoiding even a minimal social interaction? If yes, it means that it could be suffering from severe social anxiety.
One commenter recalled “I had such a hard time placing an order for food that I would tell whoever I was with what I wanted and have them place the order.”
9. “I’m sorry.”
Saying sorry too often is not a good thing.
“I constantly apologized for things that weren’t really an issue, or I just wouldn’t interact,” said another participant. “I still have issues with constantly saying I’m sorry for non-issues and being very quiet in hard situations.”
10. “I have a headache.” or “Don’t make me.”
Generally, children are not too excited about going to school. However constant refusal could indicate something more serious than disliking certain classes.
“I used the excuse of feeling ill plenty of times to avoid going to school,” one participant said. “I didn’t realize I had anxiety at the time, but everything makes sense when I look back on it now. I wasn’t just being ‘lazy’ back then.”
11. “I’m tired.”
Maybe your child is worn out of anxiety-related problems.
“When I was a kid, I experienced sleep disturbances for a very long time,” another user said. “The whole process of going to school, getting through the day, trying not to be bullied and coming home was always mentally rehearsed the night before.”