The way I am thinking and feeling

Your feelings and emotions are your body's way of letting you know what is on your mind. As a young person, learning to understand and value your emotions can be confusing, leading you to feel alone and different from those around you, but you're not. Everyone will experience some sort of emotional difficulty at some point in his or her life. Whatever the issue, seeking help from others is the first step in achieving the change you want.

Anxiety
Depression
Anger
Mood Swings
Body and Looks
Eating Disorders
Sexuality
Self-Harming
Drugs and Alcohol
OCD
Psychosis
ADHD
Autism

What's happening inside you can be affected by what's going on around you.

See 'What's happening around me?'

Anxiety

Anxiety describes our feelings when we are uncomfortable or frightened. Lots of things can cause anxiety, such as pressures at school, problems getting on with your family or friends, or anything else that happens that causes you stress. Anxiety is a feeling that we will all experience at some time; but if you feel that anxiety starts to affect your daily life by causing you to:

  • worry a lot
  • have problems sleeping
  • feel tired
  • have difficulty concentrating
  • feel irritable
  • avoid things you used to like to do

then it is important that you ask for help.

Depression

There are things that can cause us to have strong feelings of sadness, such as pressures at school, parents splitting up, or someone we are close to becoming ill or dying. But if these feelings don't improve and they start to affect your daily life by causing you to:

  • not want to see your friends or do things you used to enjoy
  • sleep too much, or not enough
  • not feel like eating, or eat too much
  • cry a lot
  • have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • use alcohol or drugs

then it is important that you ask for help.

Anger

As a young person, you might have different pressures that cause you frustration; this might be to do with school, friends or family; and at this stage in your life, your hormones are changing, which can cause mood changes. Anger is a feeling that we will all experience, but some people can find it hard to control their anger because they're having difficulty dealing with their emotions. If you feel that your anger is getting worse, or that it's affecting your daily life by causing you to:

  • have problems with relationships
  • get into trouble
  • use alcohol or drugs
  • choose to be alone a lot
  • break things and hurt people

then it is important that you ask for help.

Mood Swings

As a young person, you might have different pressures that cause you frustration; this might be to do with school, friends or family; and at this stage in your life, your hormones are changing, which can cause mood changes, you might feel really up and happy one minute and sad and low the next. If you feel that your mood swings are becoming more extreme, or they are affecting your daily life by causing you to:

  • have problems with relationships
  • get into trouble
  • use alcohol or drugs
  • choose to be alone a lot

then it is important that you ask for help.

Body and Looks

During puberty your body will go through lots of changes and this can affect how you feel about yourself. How you think and feel about the way you look can affect your confidence and how much you like yourself. It is usual to have some feelings of awkwardness as you adjust to these changes; but if these feelings continue, become more extreme, or start to affect other parts of your life, then it is important that you ask for help.

Eating Disorders

Controlling your eating and body shape might be a way of coping with painful and difficult feelings such as anger, sadness, guilt, loss or fear; but an eating disorder is a sign that a person needs help in dealing with things that are happening in their life. Anorexia, Bulimia and overeating are all eating disorders. Without help, an eating disorder can be dangerous to your physical health and well-being.

If you have any of these difficulties, it's really important that you speak to your doctor or school nurse, they will make sure that you get the right help.

Sexuality

Being unsure about your sexuality, or seeing yourself as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender, can leave you feeling:

  • different from the majority
  • unsure how people will react
  • under pressure from homophobic attitudes
  • isolated and unable to be yourself

Struggling with such feelings may have an effect on your mental health. Talking to someone that you can trust about how you feel can really help; speaking to a CAMHS worker can give you chance to talk in confidence about your sexuality without anyone finding out until you feel ready.

Self-harming

Self-harming is when someone injures or harms themselves on purpose. It might involve:

  • Cutting, burning, picking or scratching
  • Head banging, hitting or pulling out hair
  • Taking personal risks or neglecting themselves
  • Eating disorders
  • Misusing drugs or alcohol
  • Trying to end their life

All of which could cause serious injury or accidental death.

Self-harm is not about enjoying pain; instead it is often used as a way to cope with very difficult thoughts and emotions, allowing individuals to believe they have regained some control when they can't see any other way of dealing with the things that are happening in their life.

Harming yourself, or thinking of harming yourself, in any way, never really deals with the causes and so can't help things to change. Though much of self-harming is done secretly and can be followed by feelings of shame and embarrassment, self-harm is a sign that you need help. It is extremely important that you urgently speak to an adult you trust, so that they can support you to get the right help.

Drugs and Alcohol

There are many different types of drugs that people use. All drugs, whether they're 'legal' such as tobacco and alcohol, or 'illegal' such as cannabis, cocaine or heroin, can be very addictive and cause serious harm. Even prescribed medicines can be very dangerous if they're used in the wrong way.

People might misuse drugs and alcohol for many different reasons, it might be to help them cope with difficult feelings or situations or to help them 'fit in'. Although the immediate affect might make you feel good, using drugs and alcohol comes with many serious risks, including:

  • Addiction
  • Lack of motivation to do your normal daily activities, such as go to school or college; and the consequences of this
  • Cause problems in your relationships with friends or family
  • Accidents and incidents - when the drugs/alcohol cause you to do things that you wouldn't normally do
  • Criminal record (or prison) if found with an illegal drug
  • Damage to your physical health; including overdose
  • Causing serious mental health problems such as psychosis or depression

You should never feel pressured into using drugs or alcohol; and if you do have difficult feelings that you're finding hard to cope with, then it's important that you get the right kind of help, drugs and alcohol won't make them go away, chances are they'll actually make it worse.

If you find that drugs or alcohol are affecting your life, or if you feel under pressure to use drugs or alcohol for whatever reason; then it's important that you ask for help.

OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has two main features:

  • Obsessions - which are thoughts that keep repeating and won't stop; such as thinking you didn't lock the front door.
  • Compulsions - which are things that people believe they have to do, even when they don't want to; such as checking the front door is locked 5 times before leaving the house.

OCD is a widespread problem that is often linked to anxiety and can leave you feeling distressed. If this type of behaviour is affecting your life, then it is important that you tell an adult you trust who can help you get help and advice from your doctor.

Psychosis

Psychosis describes a number of conditions that affect the way you think, feel and understand things. These may cause you to:

  • hear and see things that aren't there
  • think things are real, when they're not
  • think you are being controlled by others
  • think people are out to get you, when they're not
  • have extreme mood swings

Psychosis can be a very scary experience, but it can be successfully controlled through medication and other treatments; if you're at all worried that you might have Psychosis, it's very important that you get help as soon as possible by speaking to your doctor.

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that causes you to have lots of energy, making it difficult for you to concentrate for long periods of time; it may also cause you to do and say things without thinking.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is also a condition that causes you to have difficulty concentrating; but it doesn't cause you to have lots of energy like ADHD.

Signs of having ADHD/ADD include:

  • feeling restless and needing to always move or fidget
  • talking a lot and interrupting others
  • finding it hard to focus and follow instructions
  • saying and doing things without thinking, which can cause you to get into trouble

You may notice these signs and not actually have ADHD or ADD; but if you're worried at all, then speak to someone that understands these conditions, such as a doctor or school nurse.

Autism

Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) is the name for a group of similar conditions including Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

There are differences in these conditions, but they can all cause difficulties with:

  • making friends
  • language and communication
  • behaviour
  • imagination and flexible thinking

You may notice these signs and not have Autism; but if you're worried at all, then speak to someone that understands these conditions, such as a doctor or school nurse.