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Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

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Awhina24

Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

For the last few months I've been finding myself becoming increasingly anxious about climate change. I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past which I'm sure just adds to my heightened emotions. It's at the point where I have nightmares most nights, wake up shaky and feel incredibly anxious all day, sometimes to the point where I cannot eat.

I have a 3 year old and keep asking myself why I was so foolish to bring a child into this world. My son wasn't planned but at the time I didn't want to have a termination. For context I'm a New Zealander and live in Australia with my husband (also from NZ). We live in a smaller town outside of Melbourne. Whilst we haven't been directly affected by extreme weather (yet) in my son's short life we've had bush fires, flooding and more flooding all nearby... as far as I'm aware things will only get worse from here. I'm so scared about what my family will have to face in the future, I feel like life is going to get very hard and very quickly (like in just a few years). I'm terrified that humanity is doomed and my son will have a future in some kind of kill or be killed world, that's if he has a future at all.

I'm desperate to move back to NZ to be closer to my family but my husband doesn't want to. He doesn't see climate change as some imminent threat and is mainly focused on his job (pretty much the only reason we live here). I'm currently in therapy but I've only just started with a new therapist and we've mainly talked about my homesickness. I've started doing things like consuming less, trying to buy local and plastic free products, growing some vegetables (although we don't have much space and only grow enough for a couple of salads per week) and biking to the train station but I can't help thinking it's not enough and none of it matters. We can't vote in Australia so I can't do much politically. I'd love to get solar, a rainwater tank and an electric car but my husband seems hesitant to spend any money.

Every news article makes it sound like it's too late and humanity is doomed to die out in anywhere from 5-100 years. I'm so scared and I'm struggling to function. I realize that climate anxiety is a privileged thing which makes me feel guilty for feeling this way (as in those directly effected don't get the luxury of worry about what may happen) Is there any hope? Do any other parents feel this way and how do you cope? How can I protect and prepare my son for life in a burning and flooding world?

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Taylor-RO

Re: Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

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Hi @Awhina24,

Thanks for sharing. I am really sorry to hear that you are going through this and that it is having a significant impact on your wellbeing. You aren't the only one and it makes sense that you are feeling this way. It is important to focus on what you can control as climate change is an issue that affects us all, and some play a way bigger role compared to others. It sounds like you are doing all you can to be eco conscious which is a really important part of fighting for a cause that means a lot to you. We have an article here on climate change and while it is geared towards parents supporting their children, there may be some helpful tips for you in there. We also have an article on our youth website which might have some relevant advice for you too. 

It is also really great that you're seeking support. It might be worth talking about how climate change is impacting you, whenever you get the chance. Based off what you know now and the actions that you are taking to be kinder to the environment, how do you think you could prepare your son for the future? 

Casual scribe
Awhina24

Re: Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

Thanks for your reply. I'll definitely talk to my therapist about this. I'm wondering if maybe I'll need to try medication as I'm having some pretty awful obsessive thoughts.

Honestly I don't know how to prepare my son for the future, being as upset as I am I keep thinking maybe he doesn't have a future at all :-(
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Dem--RO

Re: Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

Hi @Awhina24,

I'm so sorry that these thoughts are overwhelming you, and causing you so much stress. Speaking with your therapist is a really good starting point to help you try to navigate these difficult feelings, and the concerns you are having.

I have a lot of faith in the younger generations because they are very much more environmentally aware than previous gens. With the influence of activists like Greta Thunberg, there are actions being taken for environmental improvements and more innovations.

It's great that you've started growing your own veggies! I'm wondering if there is a community garden in your local area that may appreciate you volunteering your green thumb Smiley Happy

Also, have you checked to see if there is a Facebook group for your suburb/area? As sometimes people like to do swaps or give-aways of fruit and veggies, or household bits and pieces which can help to reduce the amount that ends up in landfill Heart

With your idea about getting solar, have you looked to see if you're eligible for a rebate scheme?

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Ninja234

Re: Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

Hi @Awhina24, I personally have no children but I am feeling you still very much and would like to express my empathy with you. I am 39 and have decided against children, because of climate change. But there is one child of a friend of mine, he is 8 years old and we have a very special bond. We can sit in the kitchen and talk for hours and I simply love this kid so much. I feel a similar anxiety and sadness when I think of his future, but I also see that he is very mature on this topic and he is already becoming a little climate activist, which somehow gives him a sense of purpose, so much more than me when I was his age.

What has helped me with climate anxiety is informing myself and becoming active and also having honest, child-friendly conversations on the topic with my 8 year old friend as well as his parents. We need to create hope within ourselves, but should also allow for the sadness and grief that comes with this situation, those are such valid feelings which should not be oppressed.  

There is one documentary that I can recommend, it is called "Living in the time of dying". One of the people interviewed in the documentary is an elderly Native American named Stan Rushworth. His viewpoints are beautiful and calming despite the sadness of the situation. One of his quotes are: “I don’t know where things are going, I can’t predict that, but all the elders that I know of say that we have a sacred obligation towards how we are going to be here, at this moment.” He talks about learning to slow down and being present in the moment. 

Also, even though I have decided to stay childfree due to climate change, I really think that your child is NOT in danger. I think it is rather the generation(s) after that and sadly especially the people in the poorer countries that will pay the highest price if we don´t manage to turn this around now. In my eyes there is no reason to believe that your child will not have a good live, he will experience a lot of happiness I am absolutely sure of that. Some people (like me and my little friend) even find purpose in moments like this, which can feel very empowering and it can create hope and a sense of community.

It´s a journey, but you and your child can do it too! Best wishes...

 

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Courtney-RO

Re: Any other parents with eco-anxiety?

Hi @Ninja234 and Welcome to our Online Community!

Firstly, I just want to say thank you for dropping in and supporting other community members. It can be really helpful to hear from someone else in a similar situation and really appreciate you sharing part of your journey with us.

Reading through your post, I can hear just how much you care for your friends and their child. It sounds like they are incredibly lucky to have someone like you who not only cares enough to learn about the current climate, but who also educates and shares their knowledge too. That is so lovely to see!

We look forward to hearing more Smiley Happy