The Anxiety Box Young People's Experiences of Education

By the students of Asphaleia Training

The Anxiety Box

Why I left: Anxiety

Why I’m back: I want to try and get some sort of education. I want help with my anxiety. I think I have that now.

“What’s your excuse?” My body speaks more than my mouth: I stumble, I stand still. All they did was put me at the back of the classroom. I can’t speak. My mind has made its decision – I need to get out. I need to know that the door is open. If I know it is, I’m more likely to stay. But they don’t understand that. Even if I could speak, what would I say? I look it up online – there is a word that I can’t pronounce – is this another box to be trapped in? If I can’t even say it, how can I face it?

I feel trapped.

I need to know that I can get out.

I know I need to calm down – but no one helps me to try.

Breathing becomes bumpy.

I am panting pathetically.

I am making childish noises from my supposedly adult mouth.

I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

There are rules – I can’t leave whilst people are looking at me. Sometimes I feel that people trap me. My transparent box sees the eyes are staring in. I don’t even know how I got into the box, but somehow I keep going back in. I look it up online – there is a word that I can’t pronounce – is this another box to be trapped in? If I can’t even say it, how can I face it?

By HB, 17

Another Door Opens

Why I left: I found it difficult to talk to people and make friends. I don’t feel I was helped enough.

Why I’m back: I am back because I want qualifications, a good job, and to work hard.

I have anxiety I become nervous in social situations. I want to make friends.

I’ve always found school hard and I want to change that by coming to Asphaleia and become the best I want to be, and I really want to achieve my best and work hard and not give up my goals and ambitions.

I used to feel so isolated and alone in myself and in general at school and I feel like I was not helped enough but Asphaleia will help me with my general anxieties. And, by me coming here will really help me with my issues and hopefully make friends.

I’m going to be attending Asphaleia now regularly. And I want to feel brilliant.

I feel like a brilliant person. I’m not weird I just have unique ways of doing things and I am kind and smart and helpful.

I want my door to open wide and I want to achieve my best goals possible. I reckon with Asphaleia they can help me enough to achieve my goal as a manager and make friends in a positive environment like Asphaleia and I feel confident and comfortable enough coming here every Monday and Tuesday as per my timetable.

By Abi, 16


Why I left: No one helped.

Why I’m back: I feel that I have the support I need now. I chose to take this picture of a phoenix because I think it stands for what I am doing here. I am trying to start again, I think I can do it now.

I was angry

There’s not really much good I can say about school

It was boring

I couldn’t understand when they explained

They stopped trying

I was angry

I burst into flames

I left

No one helped me

I had to help myself


Out of ashes

I’m in a new place now


Learning life skills

They help me

One to one

I am going to get my qualifications

I am reborn.

By SM, 16

Asphaleia provides training, alternative learning opportunities and specialist support for children and young people


Created with images by Momentmal - "chest treasure chest middle ages" • Mario Azzi - "untitled image" • Mat Reding - "untitled image" • skylarvision - "phoenix photoshop adler"

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