The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

Follow us on:
Share Youth Communication Follow Represent on Facebook Follow Represent on YouTube Follow Represent on Twitter
Follow Represent on Facebook Follow Represent on YouTube Follow Represent on Twitter
Teacher Lesson Return to "Invader in My Brain"
Invader in My Brain
horizontal rule
Coping With Anxiety

Pre-Reading Discussion: 5 minutes
Ask everyone to write down a situation that makes them nervous [like asking someone out or talking to a stranger] and a few phrases about what “nervous” feels like [your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing]. Then ask for volunteers to share with the class. Ask the volunteers what they do to try to calm themselves down when they feel that way (or solicit ideas from the group). Write these ideas on the board.

Reading, Discussion, and Role-Plays: 40 minutes
Have the group read Victor’s story, “Invader in My Brain: Living With Anxiety,” out loud. Afterwards, ask them to list ways that Victor’s anxiety keeps him from enjoying his life and doing everything he wants to do. [It keeps him from being able to do his homework; it makes him angry at himself; he avoids social situations; he stays silent even with his close friends; it keeps him isolated when he wants to be close to people].

Then ask them to list the ways Victor has tried to cope with his anxiety. What were some strategies that didn’t work out? [Smoking marijuana; avoiding people.] What were some that worked? [Drawing; watching TV; running track; talk therapy; medication; deep breathing; mindful thinking.] Write the strategies that worked on the board. Finally, ask what were some things he plans on doing? [Forcing himself into scary social situations; talking to people in his classes; making friends.]

Split the group into pairs and have them role-play for the group. Have one be Victor and the other be a student sitting next to him in class. Have the one playing Victor strike up a conversation with the other one. Tell the “non-Victors” that their goal is to boost Victor’s confidence by being friendly and showing him it’s worth it to reach out. Keep the role-plays short, a minute apiece, unless teens want to go longer.

Wrap-Up: 5 minutes
Ask everyone to look at the “calming down” ideas and strategies on the board, and then write down one new way they’d like to try to handle their own nervousness or anxiety. Also ask them to share ways they would make others feel more at ease. Ask for volunteers to share with the group.
horizontal rule
[Other Teacher Resources]