A teenager who suffered with crippling anxiety has turned to performing arts to help turn his life around.
James Bennett was 13 when he first noticed himself getting anxious. As a carer for his autistic older brother, James found going out in public with him difficult.
‘I would get anxious that he would run off and I wouldn’t be able to stop him,’ James explained.
Then when he was 14-years-old James’s father died from cancer.
‘I would not leave the house for a long time,’ he explained.
‘Anytime my friends asked me to come out I would stay inside. I did not socialise outside school for a long time.’
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear. It can be mild or severe and affect anyone regardless of age, background or social group.
Recent research suggests as many as one in six young people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives.
James, 17, lives in Louth, Lincolnshire, and wants to change people’s understanding of anxiety and encourage them to see it as a genuine struggle.
He has created a video with Fixers to show people what it is like living with anxiety.
‘I want to show people the signs of anxiety and what they should do to help people get through it,’ he explained.
‘Anxiety isn’t easy to live with but you can cope and live a normal, happy life.
‘Friends have massively supported me. I don’t think I would be here today if it wasn’t for my best friend.
‘I wasn’t going to school or college for a while because I was feeling bad and my anxiety was bad, he knew I was struggling, and he spoke to me and realising we were in the same boat it really helped.'
The performing arts and media student explained how performing on stage allows him to forget his anxiety.
‘When I am on stage I do not get anxious at all; I am never anxious when I am acting,’ he said.
This project was funded by the Lincolnshire Community Foundation.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.