Day 22 (of 183) Anxiety Night Live!

Day 22 (of 183) Anxiety Night Live!
A series of thoughts based on the Oct 8 Youth & Anxiety Presentation at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre
Psychiatrist Perspective – Dr Russell G Williams
Worried about time but aware his amygdala may make him run off stage (I like him already) frequent shoutout to UofW as well! (likely the reason the Huskies upset USC tonight – go dawgs!)
Normal anxieties: afraid of the dark, storms, separation, peers thoughts
Prevention (names after jazz musicians and female tennis players seem pretty good)
There are physical connections (headaches to be the start)
There is a genetic contribution – risk factors:

Big 4:

Separation (impacts youngest) – #1 in 12 year olds and younger (sustained & causing disruptions)

Specific Phobia (clowns et al) out of proportion for a object or situation
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – the “what if” wonderers. (1-3%)

Social Anxiety Disorder – more chronic and resistant to treatment.




(Both best – placebos sucked)

Family involvement very good

Samantha – parent with living anxiety
Some days really hard

“Behaviours” can look like shut-downs. Disinterest. Defiance.
“Sometimes you have to ride the storm out…..With them.”
Everyone had opinions…for the parent…
“It’s like a war zone in my head”

Lisa L (school counsellor perspective – 4 in Vernon school district)
Common symptoms of anxiety in elementary school:

Physical: stomach aches / headaches ; fidgety/shaky/sweaty; sleep pattern/difficulty; lack of appetite; panic attacks
Cognitive: negative self talk; Unwanted thoughts/obsessive thinking; fearful thoughts; perfectionist in tendencies; inflexible (stuck) thinking
Behavioural: fight/flight/freeze;

Fight: aggression (physically and verbally aggressive; aggressive play; self harming (hair pulling, head banging, finger biting)

Flight: Avoidance (school refusal, leaving school, avoiding specific people, clinging, crying, dependent on parent/adult) confirmed: once permission to leave school is given it can be very hard to get them back in

Freeze: non participation; crying
In classroom:

Inability to focus or complete task


Test/mark anxiety

Social connections

“Behavioural problems” (but behavioural modifications don’t work…)

Michelle (secondary perspective)
Normal level of anxiety exists. It’s okay. But….

Can be “seen” in many ways:

Excessive texting/calling

Out of context emotions

Skipping (no ropes) classes

Entire day absences
Stomach/head aches

Walking around school / going to bathroom
Irritability/non-compliant in school

Confrontation and angry


Disengaged and indifferent (in appearance)


Hyper thinking

Paediatricians office (Lia)
Hmmmm guess what comes into her office (fake examples)

Emma: fear of weight gain, compulsive exercise, fatigue (due to lack of nutrition)

eating order and needs Multi team approach

Liam: eczema in hands. Washes 40 times a day

Sophia: focusing in school problem. Failing. Never happened before. Worrying about sister her friends etc.

Ava: Classic migraines. Started competitive dance class…..

Clinician Perspective (children youth mental health)
As parents – it is a complex issue. Sometimes too much information is available. It can be confusing and overwhelming. Parents have huge role in knowing your kid

To be alive is to have anxiety. Survival of the skittish!
Managing Anxiety – some techniques


Crying. Really. Honest. Would you go for years without going to the bathroom??


Write/paint/dance/draw etc


Cultivating positive relationships

Chores. Really. Routines can be good.

Breath work/yard work

Gardening (ugh)


Self talk – anxiety provoking

Pet. Horse or dog. Touch is important.


Visualization/music/water sounds…



Connectivity. Technology – a factor in recent anxieties. Book: alone together.
Screen time – built up energy; brain “on”; less sleep
(Personal note – I know tech can be frequently ‘blamed/connected’ but I see a LOT of characteristics that were talked about tonight in the students I went to school with….until they stopped coming to school…)
We are in our heads so often – top heavy – it can be hard to get out of your heads. Be present. Be mindful but not fully in your mind.
A good night confirming a lot of information. Still more work to do – especially looking at “Now you k ow – what next?!”
As a reminder – my recent ignite share on anxiety:
My “rant” on anxiety:
How my son said “it feels” (courtesy of Warner Bros)
And when ‘a dark barks’ here is the amount of possibility my sons brain is trying to process:

About technolandy

Educator in BCs Sunny Shuswap Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback
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One Response to Day 22 (of 183) Anxiety Night Live!

  1. Great write up about your evening out! I especially appreciated you including this: “(Personal note – I know tech can be frequently ‘blamed/connected’ but I see a LOT of characteristics that were talked about tonight in the students I went to school with….until they stopped coming to school…)”

    I wonder if sometimes the conversation gets sidetracked because we want to find out a definitive WHY for something happening. It seems easy to blame technology, when perhaps it is the anxiety itself that drives the behavior *with* the technology. correlation does not always equal causation.

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