Do I Struggle with Anxiety?

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Learning traditional drum songs can be a good way to relax and decrease anxiety. (Drum crafted and painted by Lory Lynn Shipman-Ellingburg, Shoalwater Bay Tribal Artist)

Anxiety is an uncomfortable, oftentimes panicked feeling of fear or imminent disaster, and is a normal response to danger. What makes one person anxious may not trigger the same response in someone else. Events like break-ups, exams, or family tension may cause you to feel worried or scared.

Everyone feels some anxiety at different times during life, however, it becomes a problem if you become so anxious that it interferes with your normal day-to-day activities. If this occurs, a long talk with an Elder, a heart-to-heart with a parent or mentor, or a trip to a Wellness Center may be a good place to start.

A few physical symptoms of anxiety are: dry mouth or difficulty swallowing, nightmares, difficulty getting to and staying asleep, sweating, trembling, and even flare-ups of pre-existing health conditions such as asthma or dermatitis.

Some mental symptoms could include: irritability or perpetually being in a bad mood, feeling worried, or a constant concern that something bad is about to happen, being pessimistic and easily able to identify what may go wrong in any given situation, or not answering questions and rarely volunteering to speak in school.

There are things you can do to combat anxiety. Changing your lifestyle to decrease stress may improve symptoms. Eating right and exercising regularly is important as well, as those who struggle with anxiety may neglect themselves. Finding time for relaxation is also a must. Some ways to relax could include crafting beadwork, learning drum songs, singing, drawing, or going for a walk. Playing basketball with your cousins, hanging out with good, supportive friends, and finding holistic activities to do in your community may also help with anxiety. You can also seek a doctor or mental health professional, and there may be medications which will help you on the path to wholeness.


Special Thanks
Misty Lynn Ellingburg (Shoalwater Bay) is a student at Seattle Pacific University, majoring in English (concentration Literature) and minoring in Professional Writing. She has two brothers and two sisters--Brandt, Shana, Hope, and Hunter. Her mom, Lory, is a Tribal artist, and her dad, Todd, is becoming fluent in Salish, a local Tribal language. Her favorite Native writers are Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, and Sherman Alexie. She even met Mr. Alexie in Seattle at a book reading where she got his autograph and a picture taken together.
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