Finding Relief in Rough Waters

by Teen Line Volunteer, Sloan

I’m often asked what the difference is between stress and anxiety. The difference between the two seems quite blurred in today’s society, as there are some overlaps. I differentiate the two by viewing stress as a reaction to a situation, while anxiety as a response to the stress itself. Anxiety impacts me, personally, in a magnitude of ways. It can be socially, where I am uncontrollably worrying about what others think of me, it can be obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, and sometimes even worse, it can be phobias. Of course, each person has their own experience, but I want to try to explain what anxiety feels like to me.

When there’s a mishap, whether it be a poor test score, a fight with a friend/parent, or a misplaced item, it feels like I am being held beneath waves, swallowed by the current. I can’t escape. All I can see is one wave after the next, no smooth shellac of calm waters in front of me. I feel stuck in this place of darkness.

As I have begun to journal more, talk with friends and a therapist, I have found some life preservers. I plan something every day, whether that be a walk, watching a movie, or making plans with a friend–anything that I enjoy. Having something to look forward to can lessen my anxiety and offer an outlet for conversation. If you ever find yourself in this tumultuous place and don’t know who to turn to, Teen Line is there for you.

Teen Line is for teens by teens. This means that when you call, email or text us a trained teen will be there to listen to you, without judgement. We are open every night. Call 800-852-8336 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm or text “Teen” to 839863. To email us, please visit:


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