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Autism and anxiety

Anxiety is when you experience feelings of worry, unease and or fear.

Anxiety is something that many of us experience from time to time.

We can get anxious about different things, for example, you may feel anxious about school, homework, or a special occasion.

Feeling a little bit anxious now and then can be normal, but sometimes these feelings can make it harder to cope.

Anxiety can affect people in different ways. If you have noticed you are feeling different to how you normally feel, or you are doing more of something than usual, you could be experiencing some anxiety. Here are a few signs of anxiety:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart beating faster than usual
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Feeling scared, worried or on edge all the time
  • Feeling shaky and nervous
  • Having (more) trouble sleeping 
  • Needing lots of reassurance
  • Feeling sick or having a funny feeling in your stomach
  • Avoiding situations, people, or things; like refusing to go somewhere you previously enjoyed going
  • Overthinking things (more than usual)
  • Feeling agitated or distressed 
  • Increase in need for routine or distraction
  • Increase or starting to use repetitive behaviour, like rocking and flapping

Every person is different and may experience anxiety differently.

Sad teenager sitting at the window and closes his face with his hands.

There are many things that can cause or trigger anxiety in a person, some of these include:

  • Changes to your daily routine
  • Uncertainty about a situation or something in particular
  • An upcoming event or situation
  • A fear or phobia, for example a fear of animals
  • Sensory triggers, such as a certain sound or smell
  • Expectations, pressure or demands, from others or yourself

If you are feeling anxious and it is affecting your day-to-day life, it’s important to talk to someone you trust. This could be a parent or caregiver, teacher or friend, and you should tell them how you are feeling.

If you would prefer to talk to someone anonymously, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123. Calls this number are free of charge and the service operates 24 hours a day.

Click here for more advice on looking after your mental health.

If you’re having thoughts about harming yourself or suicide, it’s important to speak to someone; here are a few places that can help;

  • SHOUT, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text service, provides free, confidential, 24/7 text message support in the UK for anyone who is struggling to cope. Text SHOUT to 85258. This service is free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis, anytime.
  • Childline– for children and young people under 19. Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

Cross Hatch

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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