He’s Not Lazy, He Has Anxiety—And We Should Talk About It


It was a simple email.

“He won’t be coming back and finishing the camp.”

The response email from the camp was, “Why?” But I just couldn’t bring myself to write the word I loathe.


I feel like everyone these days has anxiety. What does anxiety even mean?!

Don’t we all have anxiety?

I do, but I just “soldier” on and get it done.

This thinking of, “Just do it, you’ll be fine, or just soldier on” is a scary phrase for someone who just can’t.

But why can’t you? What’s the matter? What are you afraid of? I know you can do it! I’ve seen it! Why can’t you just do it?

I love answers, I love solving problems.

But after 10 years I still don’t have answers.

I have observations.

I see an extremely talented child who is beautiful, caring, smart, funny, extremely compassionate, and empathetic.

This same child is paralyzed at the thought of trying new things.

This child is overwhelmed at transition.

This child is overwhelmed by the fear of failing and not being the best.

He’s so overwhelmed he shuts down. He puts in zero effort and he looks like a lazy kid.

He’s not lazy. He has anxiety.

When he was younger, shutting down came in the form of tantrums… wild, sometimes violent, temper tantrums.

Now that he’s matured, the self-awareness of others watching has shifted his behaviour from tantrums to half-ass attempts, excuses, usually minimal effort, sick stomachs, and a lot of tears.

Inside you are screaming: I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS!! YOU’RE NOT EVEN TRYING!

You try discipline and consequences, but it only adds fuel to the fire. If he didn’t think he couldn’t before, he definitely doesn’t think he can now, because you’re punishing him for something he cannot control.

He needs confidence. If he would just try he would see how great he is.

But he doesn’t.

And it is the most frustrating and painful thing to watch.