By Sanusi Grace
As a Counseling Psychologist in training, I observed my practicum in a secondary school setting. During my practicum, I cared for secondary school students, within the ages of 15-18years, that were experiencing anxiety.
There was a particular female student amongst those I cared for who had an intense and persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. She was experiencing social anxiety and showed physical symptoms like trembling, increased heartbeat, trouble catching her breath, dizziness, muscle tension, and sweating.
As her caregiver, I was looking for ways to help and support her. One way I was able to do this was by learning everything about anxiety, listening to her without judgement, encouraging her to talk openly about what was happening, motivating her to set goals and revisit those goals to acknowledge the progress that was being made. I made sure I developed a relationship with her based on empathy and trust. I also promoted her engagement with social and support networks.
One difficulty I encountered during my relationship with my patient was her growing dependency on me. In a bid to ensure she achieved independence, I helped her build social skills and basic life skills. It was emotionally draining, but I had the love and strength to support her.
I also cared for a friend of mine experiencing exam anxiety. Whenever exams were approaching, she would become extremely nervous, restless, tense, and overcome by an intense moment of fear or panic.
I cared for her by supporting her, reassuring her with words of encouragement, and helping her to study well. Also, I helped her practice mindfulness; putting things in perspective, reminding her of past successes, and counseling her that a test does not define her. I helped her visualize completing the test successfully despite her anxiety, as well as reminding her that a certain level of anxiety aided good performance. I encouraged her to rest adequately, as having sufficient sleep before exams improved one’s ability to think clearly and deal with anxiety.
Caring for people with anxiety was a rewarding journey for me and an amazing learning opportunity. The satisfaction of knowing you have helped someone who needs you, appreciation from the person you care for, and the opportunity for personal growth and to develop new skills is equal to none.
I am Grace Sanusi, a Counseling Psychologist in training. Living with anxiety propelled me to write for Anxiety UK, as I am deeply passionate about showing people how they can care for their loved ones, friends, and people experiencing anxiety. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and playing the Violin.
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