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Anxiety since start of uni - should I commute? watch

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    I'm in my third year of uni and since the beginning of second year for some reason I've been suffering from quite bad anxiety - I won't go out out anymore because I don't like the large crowds and I feel out of place regardless of where I go/who I'm with. Sometimes I don't want to get out of bed because of the sheer fear I don't know what the day has in store. Most of all the pressure of uni work has finally got to me - as I got a 60 in an essay in a module I thought I was doing OK in, which has really knocked my confidence because I usually get 66-68, and I am concerned the second essay from that module will have a bad mark (I'm yet to have it back, so I worry about it constantly). Everyday is a daily struggle because I don't want to let myself down as I achieved far more in second year than I could've imagined.

    My mum and dad are aware of these problems, and although they are slightly old fashioned and have a 'get on with it' approach they realise I'm trying to get on with it, but still really struggling. I've got an appointment with a doctor next week, and I'm going to attempt to try and make an appointment with a uni counsellor (however, I hear they're really overstretched). Because I only have 6 contact hours a week on a Thursday and Friday my mum has suggested that I could commute to uni by car (train journeys really trigger my anxiety) however I had this idea before she suggested it, but thought it would probably be more detrimental to my studies as I couldn't immediately access resources/tutors. When I am at home over holidays my anxiety is far less, but I think if I were to be at home during term time there'd still be the worry of uni pressure and perhaps it would be more because I wouldn't be near uni. I've never been homesick at uni before but now in this final semester I just want to be at home doing nothing all day rather than working. I keep telling myself it's only 12 weeks (15 including Easter hols) but at the minute I don't seem to be feeling any better.

    Any help from anyone who has suffered this kind of thing/been in a similar situation would be ideal. I know it doesn't sound like there's that much going on, but I used to be a really confident, out-going person with lots of groups of friends and since uni began something clicked and I became shy, nervous and constantly worry.
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    I've suffered anxiety since I was 17. It affected me really badly during A Levels and in my first semester of uni got so bad that it got totally out of control. I was hallucinating and having multiple panic attacks everyday. It was totally exhausting, and it soon turned me paranoid so i wouldn't leave my room until everyone went to bed. I stopped going to lectures in the second semester and my brain's crazy way of dealing with the problem was developing an obsessive compulsive disorder. I eventually dropped out.

    I'm not telling you this as some kind of horror story. I'm telling you because you're going to a doctor and counselling, which is absolutely the right thing to do; you're looking for help, not letting it get the better of you. Think of that. You have already done the most difficult thing there is on the path to recovery. Commuting wouldn't take away all of your problems, as you already said. But it might be that being home would serve as kind of a holiday from uni. What I mean is, when you're away from home uni encapsulates your entire life but at home you're in your comfort zone. And as you said, pretty soon it will be over anyway. You might even find commuting makes you more focused rather than the work freaking you out because if you do need to see tutors and access resources you will feel a sense of purpose to get to what you need rather than a sense of pressure. I understand you're worried you might be demotivated but this would really only be for a short time, and you'd be at home where your parents can look after you and you might find it easier to do what they want you to which is to 'get on with it', as you say.

    The thing is with anxiety that's really the only thing you can do, but day to day I would recommend you just take baby steps. Every task will seem like climbing Mount Everest to you right now, but just take everything one thing at a time. One assignment at a time, one decision at a time, one day at a time. You just need to get through this last hurdle and then you will be free to rest for a while and recover. Don't be too hard on yourself.

    As you can probably tell from what I've said, I'm more in favour of the commuting idea but it is really up to you. What it really comes down to is what you think is more important, your grades or your mental health.
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    • Thread Starter
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    (Original post by geebeeiii)
    I've suffered anxiety since I was 17. It affected me really badly during A Levels and in my first semester of uni got so bad that it got totally out of control. I was hallucinating and having multiple panic attacks everyday. It was totally exhausting, and it soon turned me paranoid so i wouldn't leave my room until everyone went to bed. I stopped going to lectures in the second semester and my brain's crazy way of dealing with the problem was developing an obsessive compulsive disorder. I eventually dropped out.

    I'm not telling you this as some kind of horror story. I'm telling you because you're going to a doctor and counselling, which is absolutely the right thing to do; you're looking for help, not letting it get the better of you. Think of that. You have already done the most difficult thing there is on the path to recovery. Commuting wouldn't take away all of your problems, as you already said. But it might be that being home would serve as kind of a holiday from uni. What I mean is, when you're away from home uni encapsulates your entire life but at home you're in your comfort zone. And as you said, pretty soon it will be over anyway. You might even find commuting makes you more focused rather than the work freaking you out because if you do need to see tutors and access resources you will feel a sense of purpose to get to what you need rather than a sense of pressure. I understand you're worried you might be demotivated but this would really only be for a short time, and you'd be at home where your parents can look after you and you might find it easier to do what they want you to which is to 'get on with it', as you say.

    The thing is with anxiety that's really the only thing you can do, but day to day I would recommend you just take baby steps. Every task will seem like climbing Mount Everest to you right now, but just take everything one thing at a time. One assignment at a time, one decision at a time, one day at a time. You just need to get through this last hurdle and then you will be free to rest for a while and recover. Don't be too hard on yourself.

    As you can probably tell from what I've said, I'm more in favour of the commuting idea but it is really up to you. What it really comes down to is what you think is more important, your grades or your mental health.

    Thanks, that's some really helpful stuff. I forgot to mention in my original post that it's 3 hours between home and uni so it would be quite an effort, but what with only having contact hours on Thursday and Friday it is plausible. Another difficulty is that I don't want my housemates at uni to think they're a problem, as I'd rather not have to explain my entire life to them. I'm hoping once I properly get back into the swing of things when uni work starts I'll start to feel like I have more purpose but at the minute because I feel like I'm not doing anything productive worrying thoughts regarding whether I'm going to do well or not start swarming my head and I can't do anything but worry
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm in my third year of uni and since the beginning of second year for some reason I've been suffering from quite bad anxiety - I won't go out out anymore because I don't like the large crowds and I feel out of place regardless of where I go/who I'm with. Sometimes I don't want to get out of bed because of the sheer fear I don't know what the day has in store. Most of all the pressure of uni work has finally got to me - as I got a 60 in an essay in a module I thought I was doing OK in, which has really knocked my confidence because I usually get 66-68, and I am concerned the second essay from that module will have a bad mark (I'm yet to have it back, so I worry about it constantly). Everyday is a daily struggle because I don't want to let myself down as I achieved far more in second year than I could've imagined.

    My mum and dad are aware of these problems, and although they are slightly old fashioned and have a 'get on with it' approach they realise I'm trying to get on with it, but still really struggling. I've got an appointment with a doctor next week, and I'm going to attempt to try and make an appointment with a uni counsellor (however, I hear they're really overstretched). Because I only have 6 contact hours a week on a Thursday and Friday my mum has suggested that I could commute to uni by car (train journeys really trigger my anxiety) however I had this idea before she suggested it, but thought it would probably be more detrimental to my studies as I couldn't immediately access resources/tutors. When I am at home over holidays my anxiety is far less, but I think if I were to be at home during term time there'd still be the worry of uni pressure and perhaps it would be more because I wouldn't be near uni. I've never been homesick at uni before but now in this final semester I just want to be at home doing nothing all day rather than working. I keep telling myself it's only 12 weeks (15 including Easter hols) but at the minute I don't seem to be feeling any better.

    Any help from anyone who has suffered this kind of thing/been in a similar situation would be ideal. I know it doesn't sound like there's that much going on, but I used to be a really confident, out-going person with lots of groups of friends and since uni began something clicked and I became shy, nervous and constantly worry.
    If you have limited contact hours, presumably you can go and stay at home for most of the week anyway, and just come back for Thursday and Friday? You're on the home stretch and if you discount easter and exam period you only have what, 10-15 contact weeks left? I would keep your room, but just split your time differently according to your feelings - commute when you're feeling pressured, or sleep over when you're feeling okay.
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    If I were you, I would probably spend most of my time at home, and then come back for the Thursday and Friday, using your room on the Thursday night.

    One thing about anxiety is that you start to associate it with things that you believe to be causing it - at one point for example I felt like my partner's flat was causing my anxiety, when that wasn't the case - it just so happened that I had felt anxious while I was there, and created the association.

    As difficult as it is, I find that the worst thing you can do is to give in to your anxiety and stop doing things because of it. Because it isn't those things causing your anxiety - it's just you trying to find a reason for it, and thinking that things would be better if you didn't have to do them anymore. So if you commuted from home, you might find things were better for a while, but then something else would make you anxious and you'd avoid that, and then this would continue until your 'safe' bubble was so tiny that your life would be very limited.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh but I have experience of it.. and you just can't give in. Accept all the help you can, talk to people who make you feel safe, comply with treatment, but try as hard as you possibly can not to start avoiding things.
 
 
 
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