Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

The Monster On My Shoulder

The Monster On My Shoulder

Abi Shilkin

Year 8, Carine Senior High School

I have a monster that sits on my shoulder and whispers lies into my ear. It doesn't tell me things like they are and it twists the truth. I know lots of others who have a monster. People will tell us that the monsters aren't real. But we know better than anyone that they are.

My monster likes to stop me from doing things. It stops me from sleeping, enjoying myself and getting things done. Sometimes it even stops me from doing my school work. I don't know where my monster came from or when it will go. All I know is that it's on a mission; to make me miserable and scared.

My monster makes me feel alone, like I'm trapped and there is no one that can help me. It makes my heart beat fast and my mouth go dry. It gives me butterflies in my stomach. Sometimes it feels unbeatable. It feels like it's taken over, like I no longer have control. It tells me that I'm not good enough and makes me feel bad about myself.

But what if the monster was actually anxiety? Would people say that it's not real? Would it make any difference? I'll tell you something. Whether it is a monster or anxiety, it makes no difference to the people that suffer from it. We still feel the same way and endure the same situations. It doesn't matter what we see it as.

Anxiety can be caused by many different things. Some of these things include, genetics, the environment people live in and medical reasons. There are also different types of anxiety. These including generalised anxiety, social anxiety and many more!

I would say that most people suffering from anxiety, whether child or adult, would feel the same way that I do.

Did you know that some people do not regard anxiety as a real mental illness? When someone with anxiety is worried, the WORST possible thing for someone to say is: Don't worry about it! It's not that simple! Someone with anxiety can't just not worry about it! Anxiety is hard enough work as it is, without someone telling you not to worry about it or that it isn't a real mental illness.

While there are people out there that take anxiety seriously, there are just as many people out there that don't! You may be thinking, this is not such a big deal, or, what is she worried about, but that's precisely the sort of thing that doesn't make us feel great. So take a moment to put yourselves in our shoes. Think about everything you've just read and imagine what it would be like having a monster on your shoulder!

So in the end, what matters to me is that anxiety be taken seriously. Regard it as a real and proper mental illness. Don't think for a second that it isn't! A large number of our population has monsters sitting on their shoulders, whispering lies into their ears.