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Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hi guys So Im in yr 12 I have achieved nothing in my whole life so I decided to get more involved in extra curricular's this year (mainly volunteering) and I volunteered for this program called CARA camp so I go with a bunch of other people to the the bottom of Mount Remarkable for 4 days and help out and engage and interact and look after kids with disabilities (mental and physical) who wouldn't be able to go on a 'normal' camp and do activities, however Im very anxious about it and I keep worrying about not being able to sleep, there being spiders (I have panic attacks and have OCDish tendencies and obsessions about spiders, Im not allowed to take bug spray to camp and I sleep with a can of bug spray so i don't know what ill do) Im worried something will happen to one of the kids and its my fault, Im extremely health anxious (i'm never not health anxious) and im worried ill get sick or something will go wrong and ill die or the ambulance wont make it in time (it will take at least 20 min) or something similar, im also worried about the bus trip because its long and i get travel sick and i'm really scared and don't want to go but I fell bad for backing out. Also the next bit may be TMI - i have issues with my bowels and digestive system so I elevate my legs on a stool when I do a bowel movement but I cant take a stool with me so Im worried about that. I also have so much homework and so many assignments to do that i'll probably die and Im worried I wont get them done if I go on camp. I wanted to go it seemed like a good idea but now i'm really unsure, if I go im worried and stressed the whole time, but if I dont i feel like im disappointing everyone and that i'll regret not going. I have 2 days to decide, what do I do?

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hi @Alec29, your volunteering sounds like such an amazing gesture for you to put your hand up for and it's certainly a fabulous idea to engage in some extra-curricular activities and gain new experiences. It's such an amazing thought for you to try and help kids with disabilities have a camp experience that so many other school children take for granted.

You mentioned how you're worried about insect bites and can't bring a bug spray. Is there anything in particular about the bug spray that means you can't bring it? I remember when I was on school camps, we couldn't bring spray deodorant because the dispersal in the air can cause coughing or asthma with people who have allergies. If it's a similar reason, would you be able to bring a roll-on one, like Bushman's?

You also mentioned your health anxiety. Is this something that the camp directors are aware of? Maybe it may help to let them know so that they can help you out in case something may trigger you. I don't know a lot about health anxiety but when I had depression and went on school camps it helped me a lot to let them know incase I needed some time off

I remember when I was in grade 12, camps would scare the shit out of me because I was worried that I would fall behind on school work. I don't know your predicament with how you are going with school work at the moment (or exactly how the camp works) but I found that bringing some work along when I could and making sure my teachers knew if I was feeling too stressed would really help, as they can help with deadlines and consultations and such

Let me know how it all goes Smiley Happy



Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hi @Alec29! I agree with @basketofmonkeys, you volunteering is a really great and brave gesture and I think it's really cool that you're doing it Smiley Happy


I'm sure the directors also want you to have a good time and enjoy your job, so would it be possible to speak to them about your health conditions in regards to bringing some bug spray? With travel sickness I've found that having menthol like Vicks and rubbing it under your nose can really help control it; would it be possible for you to nap during the time as well?


In regards to the bowel thing.....this might seem silly but would it be possible for you to squat on the toilet seat for bowel movements? That's what a lot of Asians do and it's basically the same effect as using a stool.


You have a lot of worries and it's understandable that they are causing you a lot of distress, especially since they are over things you can't really control or predict. It might be useful to look at each of them and regard them as helpful (e.g. can I do something to alleviate this worry? Is this worry helping me achieve my goals and what I want) or not. Sometimes I've found that when I evaluate my worries as unhelpful, it's easier for me to sit with it and pay attention to other stuff because I know I've done everything I can.


Lastly, if you do back out it won't be the end of the world. I think best case scenario is that you do go, because in that way you will probably enjoy yourself and also get to spend fun times with the kids and other people, but you shouldn't have to put your health at risk just to do so. And remember that if you do go and find it's too distressing, you can also speak to a director and go home early. 

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hey @Alec29. I see that @DirtWitch and @basketofmonkeys have made a few brilliant suggestions. What do you reckon about trying some of those?

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

hey @Alec29, I know the organisers of these camps are extremely grateful to have generous people like you volunteering their time, and so I think they are very understanding and supportive of any needs, and want their volunteers to be as happy and comfortable as possible Smiley Happy Do you think you'd be comfortable to reach out to one of the organisers, and tell them about some of your concerns? 

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hey @Alec29, it's been a while since we've heard from you. How are things going? Smiley Happy

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hi @basketofmonkeys @Autumn23 @letitgo & @DirtWitch thanks for the replies, sorry for not replying I have been really busy, iv had a bunch of school work to do and organising and getting ready for my formal/prom (which was last Sat). I unfortunately decided to back out of going on camp I couldn't stop worrying and I just felt like it was better for me to not go than to stress about going for 3 weeks and stress while i'm there. I feel kind of weak for backing out Smiley Sad but i felt like it was best and I am now relieved thats one last thing I have to worry about. 


In other news I went and saw my GP today and got a diagnosis (anxiety/possible OCD) and a mental health care plan, I also was prescribed medication for my anxiety, but my main anxiety is health related and medications have side effects which I am extremely anxious about. I have always been against taking the medication but its gotten so bad that i'm willing to try it just to make it go away, I was prescribed ... (i think its the same as ...) but im really worried about taking it what if I feel sick or i get kidney failure or something. It also didnt come with a sheet inside with all the info which I thought was strange, so I googled it but then it came up with reviews and one of them said something about kidney failure etc. and now im even more worried about taking it. Im supposed to go back in a week to check how the meds are going because I started on a real low dose and she's going to put together all the refers for psychologists and psychiatrists etc. 

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

hey @Alec29! Good to hear from you! I'm so happy to hear that you were able to get a GP and a mental health plan; that's a really huge step in the right direction. I know that you have a lot of health anxiety regarding your medication; I don't know if this helps but I was on the same medication as you for over 5 years and I've never had any health problems associated with it. 


With camp I'm glad you were able to decide what was best for you. I don't think you're weak for backing out; it's a really good show of strength to prioritise your own health and well-being and in the future when you feel up for it maybe you can try again!

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hey @Alec29, hope your formal went well!


Totally not weak for backing out of the camp. I think you recognised that you needed to prioritise your own wellbeing, and you did that, which is super important. Well done!


Also, just letting you know I've had to edit your post a little bit because we try not to post details/names of specific medications in case it is triggering for other users. You can find more info about this in the forum guidelines here. Smiley Happy    

I'd say if you can avoid Googling the specific medications, even though it might feel like you're getting more information about them, avoid Googling. Just because the internet often shows us the rarest, worst case information. If in doubt, definitely discuss your feelings and the possible side effects with your GP.

Do you reckon you could do that? 

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Anxious about volunteering for camp. I dont want to go anymore Help?

Hi @letitgo Yeah Im trying to avoid googling the medication, and at the moment im not anxious because im about to fall asleep, i'm pretty sure its the medication i sleep for 11 hours and I have been awake for 4 hours and i'm so tired Im falling asleep while watching youtube. Im assuming its the medication iv been like this for the last few days and i feel kind of weak but after a few hours i start to get anxious again other than that Im doing ok