Parenting the Mental Health Generation

Real Talk: Essays from Real Life, "Dear Anxiety"

May 31, 2022 CATCH, Community Action Together for Children's Health Season 1 Episode 0
Parenting the Mental Health Generation
Real Talk: Essays from Real Life, "Dear Anxiety"
Show Notes Transcript

Do you ever wonder if you’re the only one struggling with bumps and pitfalls on a daily basis? Listen to Real Talk: Essays from Real Life, straight from the CATCH Journal at

We’re recording those heartfelt and honest stories from parents and others for those who’d rather listen than read. When you hear people share their most vulnerable moments, you’ll know you are not alone. 

So put in your earbuds and listen to Real Talk: Essays from Real Life.

You can read this In Real Life Journal post here.

If you’d like to write an In Real Life, email

Music provided by FlorewsMusic/Pond5
© CATCH 2022

To find all of the resources CATCH provides to caregivers of young people struggling with their mental health, go to

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CATCH, Community Action Together for Children's Health, is a 501(c)3 that provides support and education for families around mental health topics. Original content and materials from CATCH and its collaborators are for informational purposes only. They are provided as a general resource and are not specific to any person or circumstance.

When someone is struggling with anxiety, it's often hard to understand what they are truly experiencing. In this brave and personal poem, Shawn Oberholtzer offers a glimpse of what it feels like to live with this relentless mental illness.

Frozen on the couch, eyes locked on the floor

a bouncing leg waits for the psychological war

eyes shut and heart rate begins to climb

her head is clutched in her hands

she doesn’t want to spend another second in her mind.

Continue to breathe they say

just wait for the abuse to subside 

but no one seems to understand how painful that plan is when applied.

Her heart pounds against her chest

and her forehead bleeds of her anxious sweat

and yet

her presence is quiet

for the battle is inside

her mind decides to attack its own breath

It’s the moment where emotions and logic don’t coincide

this isn’t something I’m saying to flaunt

or to tell you I’m not fine.

I’m trying to tell you that anxiety

is not as pretty as implied

Everyday I try to learn why it haunts

or the reason it goes at me with drive

if you know then tell me

tell me why on some days,

I barely feel like I’m alive.

Imagine the moment when nervousness and dread seems to thrive

my pinched out tears fall in a vine,

clenched fists just to survive.

Dear Anxiety;

Do you ever rest?

Will you ever go to bed?

Will I ever not be stressed?

trust me, I know I’m blessed

blessed with a great school

blessed with great friends

blessed with love that has no end

but I have one request,

to be free of this mess

so I can finally put this matter to rest

‘cause my mind needs to calm.

I know I need to open my palms

and release all these emotions I can’t place

but it’s the times I seem to be lost in space

that’s when my eyes glaze over

when my thoughts have taken over

hands start to shake

and reality begins to break

logic and reason are long in the wake

distractions aren’t the solution.

But is there any resolution?

Face it, they scream

but I’m down on my knee

begging for a break

or my logic to wake.

I’m not trying to be selfish,

I don’t want the attention that this makes

it’s not just for my sake

but the people around me who worry.

Unfortunately anxiety makes it all blurry

but I know they care

because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be there

every time I swear

or grow my blank stare.

I want to just run away from it......

but it will always be with me.

Dear Anxiety;

you and me

we are like a sailor and the sea.

There are brutal storms with moments of clarity

although they can seem long and weary

we must remember the sun rises every morning

and decides to shares its light with 

the souls struggling to just simply live.