A teenager who struggled with stress during her GCSE exams is encouraging other youngsters not to bottle up their emotions.
Bethan Workman, from Llandrindod Wells, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety earlier this year after sitting her GCSEs at Builth Wells High School.
Wanting to help others in her situation, Bethan, 16, teamed up with national charity Fixers to produce a booklet tackling teen stress.
“I was diagnosed about three months ago,” said Bethan.
“It was just an accumulation of everything, but school was a big factor.
“There were often times when I would try and revise for exams, but other worries would be on my mind.
“To be faced with something like exams – which can affect the rest of your life – puts a lot of pressure on young people.”
Bethan, now a sixth form student, volunteers at Llandrindod Youth Centre and is also a carer for her mum who has Fibromyalgia. Because of this, she often found it difficult to talk to anyone about her anxiety because she didn’t want to cause added worry for her family.
She said: “It was difficult to open up because I didn’t think my issues were as important. I felt angry at myself that I couldn’t get my emotions out.
“Also, with my mum being unable to work, I felt like her hopes were focused on me doing well and being successful, which was an added stress because I didn’t want to let her down.”
Bethan’s booklet, which she intends to share in schools and youth centres, includes real life accounts from her friends who have dealt with stress at different times in their lives.
It uses a sloth to illustrate how living life at your own pace can be the best approach, and along with exam pressure tackles issues like mental health, being LGBTQ+, and teen pregnancy.
Bethan added: “It’s been a really eye-opening experience. As well as creating something I’m really proud of, doing the project has also allowed me to process what I’ve been through.
“I wish I’d have had a resource like this when I was feeling low.
“Hopefully, people who read the booklet will take inspiration from the stories in there and understand that there is nothing abnormal about what they’re feeling. There is help out there.
“And when it comes to exam results, what’s written on a piece of paper doesn’t define who you are.”
See full story in the County Times