Anxiety, panic attacks and university

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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 3 years ago
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Hi guys,

I'm going to be starting my final year of university in September and I'm already anticipating an issue arising.

I've suffered from General anxiety disorder and panic attacks for about 6-7 years now and generally, I've managed my anxiety largely on my own, without help from my GP or a medical profession. My anxiety and panic attacks have been relatively well controlled during my time at university, but recently I went through a very traumatic family experience that has set me back years and triggered my panic attacks.

One of the things my panic attacks are triggered by is public transport. I've driven to uni throughout my time there, but re-calculating my finances, I'm going to struggle in my final year. I was thinking about asking my university for access to campus parking so I don't have to pay for it and therefore (hopefully) won't be forced onto public transport. My uni allows parking for disabled students, but from what I've seen, it's physical disability and I don't know that they'd take me seriously.

I feel like I need to go to my GP anyway but an issue would be evidence. I've had a few bad experiences with mental health and "professionals". A few times I've brought it up its been brushed off as a teenage thing (although I'm now in my 20s). The last time I went to my doctor about it (well, I asked to be booked in with my doctor but as soon as I mentioned anxiety they made the appointment with a nurse without telling me) and all she did was offer me yoga and anti-depressants. I declined the medication.

So my question is how do I get taken seriously by both my doctor and my university?
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FireExit
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Report 3 years ago
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Anxiety is a real problem that can really negatively affect ones life. When you go to gp you have to make it clear that it is affecting yout life and most importantly your studies. Anxiety that is left untreated can cause so many problems you must seek help. Talk to your university and be honest tell them how it affects you. Anxiety is so common. Counselling does help but in your case because you had anxiety for such a long time the combination ot medication and talking therapy would be best suited. Don't be scared of medication it is not addictive and you won't need to take it all your life. Antidepressants does not cure anxiety and panick attacks but it helps the recovery process and makes counselling more effective.
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All in the mind
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Keep pestering your doctor to get anything done. You would need to follow their treatment protocol however, which usually involves having medication and seeing how you get on. If it isn't helping, then other options would be explored.

With your recent family issues and prospect of needing to use public transport in the future, you are back on the high alert. Management of your anxiety can involve a degree of avoidance, but the deeper associations will usually force their way back into your life without actively confronting them.

Anxiety with using public transport usually involves a mix of social anxiety and claustrophobia. Is your panic exclusive to situations that are "crowded" and relatively "confined"?
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 3 years ago
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(Original post by All in the mind)
Keep pestering your doctor to get anything done. You would need to follow their treatment protocol however, which usually involves having medication and seeing how you get on. If it isn't helping, then other options would be explored.

With your recent family issues and prospect of needing to use public transport in the future, you are back on the high alert. Management of your anxiety can involve a degree of avoidance, but the deeper associations will usually force their way back into your life without actively confronting them.

Anxiety with using public transport usually involves a mix of social anxiety and claustrophobia. Is your panic exclusive to situations that are "crowded" and relatively "confined"?
No, the first panic attack I ever had was when I was about 14 and someone threw a firework which went off near to my feet. I've had a fear of fireworks for a long long time stemming from one being posted through my letterbox when I was 3.

I can't say what exactly it is that triggers them, but mostly I feel like it's fear of the unknown (which I know sounds hugely dramatic). Buses and trains trigger panic attacks but strangely, trams do not. Unfortunately I cannot get a tram to university, the only options are driving or getting a bus.

I've also experienced panic attacks when I've got lost. A few months ago I went for an interview and couldn't find the office. I was scared of being late and had a panic attack. I found myself a doorway to stand in, rang the office and managed to get there fine.

I'm not necessarily against medication, but I am wary of the side affects and the stigma that the term "anti-depressants" has. I also felt like medicating me was the only option given - I've never been referred for any kind of therapy or CBT.

I'd definitely say I'm not someone that hides from my anxiety. I confront it but I usually confront it on my own. I force myself into situations that I know trigger me but weirdly by doing that, I've overcome a hell of a lot.

My concern is I really don't have time to confront the public transport thing right now and I can't risk not going to university out of fear of panic attacks. It's taken me years to get the the place I was in pre-traumatic experience which was an extremely good place.
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All in the mind
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What do you "know" about trams that you don't know about buses or trains?

Google maps can certainly help with getting lost, but the interview situation would have increased your anxiety in that situation anyway.

You may not get side effects. The stigma is yours to change; you tell who you want to tell. Are the "side effects" of untreated panic worse?

It's good that you can confront anxious situations, but it does take time. Until you know your "enemy" (your core anxious beliefs), it will seem like you are chipping away at a huge iceberg.
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 3 years ago
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I honestly don't know why I'm fine with trams. Perhaps it's because I've only had access to them for the past 2/2 and a half years so by the time I was using them, my anxiety was a lot better and so there was no "fear" there as such.

Thanks for your responses Allinthemind. You've helped me to put things into perspective a little better.
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