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The Mighty mental health community makes a list of phrases they said when they were kids that were code words for “I’m anxious.”


Phrases Kids Said That Were Code Words for “I’m Anxious”

We asked our Mighty mental health community to share things they said as a kid that were code for: “I’m anxious.”

What’s wrong with me?

  • “My parents just thought I was being dramatic when I would burst into tears crying, ‘What is wrong with me?’”

I have a headache.

  • “It was easier to explain that something physical was going on as opposed to something that was invisible.”

I’m sorry.

  • “I constantly apologized for things that weren’t really an issue.”

Can’t we stay home?

  • “I hated going out places because the noise bothered me.”

You do it.

  • “I had such a hard time placing an order for food, I would tell whoever I was with what I wanted and have them place the order.”

Don’t leave me.

  • “I was very anxious about being abandoned. I believed people would leave me if I wasn’t good enough, and it would be my fault.”

Can you turn on the hallway light for me at night?

  • “I lived in fear for a few years that someone was going to come into my room and kidnap me. The light didn’t help.”

Don’t make me.

  • “I’d tell my parents this when I didn’t want to go to school in the morning.”

My body is uncomfortable.

  • “I used to say, ‘My body is uncomfortable, my body is uncomfortable!’ I didn’t know what it was at the time.”

As children, it can be difficult to communicate what we’re feeling.

A kid might not say the words, “I’m anxious” – but listen.

They might be communicating in other ways.

Originally published: January 11, 2018
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