Anxiety at uni, I'm having panic attacks most nights

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    I have only been at uni 2 weeks ( and 4 days of that I went home for!) being so far away from home made me feel instantly worried and I have a horrible feeling in my gut all the time, but I still tried freshers but after one night of failing to fit in with the I went back to my room and cried all night. Now I constantly feel on edge, every time I hear to door to our flat open I feel like dying because I think they might knock on my door, and when they do I ignore it as I don't want to face anyone. It's got to the stage where I won't leave my room apart from lectures, not even to go to the kitchen for food. I have panic attacks regularly and have come to expect that as part of my evening, but I don't feel like I can even tell my parents because I called my mum during one and then when I visited her that weekend she looked so ill with worry, I don't want to put her through that, so I put in a brave face at home! I honestly don't know how I am going to get through the year and as I am undiagnosed I feel like no one would believe me if I told them. I just want to go home all the time
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    I think this is relatively common. I had anxiety throughout uni and I hated the first few weeks. I sat in my room and cried. It got a lot better though.

    I'd recommend you go to the GP (I did and it helped). They see students with anxiety all the time and they can reassure you and offer you support.

    Is there a nightline or other number you can contact when you feel anxious? Is there a university counselling service? Don't be afraid to reach out and use these services. That's what they are there for - to assist students who are struggling. They can really supportive.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I have only been at uni 2 weeks ( and 4 days of that I went home for!) being so far away from home made me feel instantly worried and I have a horrible feeling in my gut all the time, but I still tried freshers but after one night of failing to fit in with the I went back to my room and cried all night. Now I constantly feel on edge, every time I hear to door to our flat open I feel like dying because I think they might knock on my door, and when they do I ignore it as I don't want to face anyone. It's got to the stage where I won't leave my room apart from lectures, not even to go to the kitchen for food. I have panic attacks regularly and have come to expect that as part of my evening, but I don't feel like I can even tell my parents because I called my mum during one and then when I visited her that weekend she looked so ill with worry, I don't want to put her through that, so I put in a brave face at home! I honestly don't know how I am going to get through the year and as I am undiagnosed I feel like no one would believe me if I told them. I just want to go home all the time
    Hey! I'm sorry things are so difficult right now. A good move would be to visit your GP and see what they say. There are a number of services and treatments that may be available to you. It would also be worth contacting your university's student support services. You'll likely be able to get counselling, and they'll be able to really help you. If you find yourself struggling in any way at uni, they're there for you. I use these services at college at the moment and they're amazing. There are a number of ways they can help you. You just have to get in touch In the meantime, try finding something to do in your room, and make your room as homey as possible! You could even bring a couple more things from home if you feel homesick. Of course you still need to eat, so definitely try and get out into the kitchen when you can, but look into whether you can have a mini-fridge in your room or something so at least you don't go hungry! Make your space as comfortable as you can, so if you're struggling to be anywhere else then you have that. You might enjoy art, music, television etc to do when you aren't working, even if just to take your mind off things. When I'm worried about ignoring the door at home because I can't face anyone, I find wearing earphones with music helps. If I can't hear the door, it doesn't worry me. I hope some of this helps! There's plenty of people around here to talk to when you need, including myself and the mental health support society, so don't be afraid to use us!
    #2

    I'm in the same position as you, with just less severe symptoms. Fortunately I've received help in the past, so was semi-prepared for starting uni. Don't try and fit in if partying/ drinking isn't for you, you'll only make yourself feel worse. Do activities you know calm your anxiety down. For me thats going for a wander in a local park where there aren't lots of people around.

    Definitely contact your GP tomorrow and try and get some counselling sessions booked in. As the above post suggests, search online to see if there is a Nightline number offered by your uni. I hope your symptoms improve soon, good luck
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    Hello sweetie,
    I'm in a similar situation to you: finding the first few weeks of uni almost unberable due to panic attacks. Like you I'm also reluctant to let my parents know that I'm struggling. I've found that several things can help:
    1. A routine. This was hard for me at first because I come from a family where everything is very structured: there are set mealtimes and bedtimes and my Grandma is always there to get me out of bed on a morning and make sure I don't accidentally sleep in! But honestly, a solid routine will really help to focus your mind so there's less idle time where you can just lay on your bed and cry. As part of this, joining a society that meets every week or going to a fitness class might help. If the gym isn't your thing, there are less intimidating options like yoga. The endorphins released from excercise are a brilliant antidote to depression and anxiety. I feel really self conscious about excercise int in public so I like to go for a run around the back streets at night time so I don't bump into anyone, but my uni is in a location that makes this possible- don't put yourself in any danger!! I know the idea of joining a society or a fitness class may be very daunting at first, but sometimes you've just got to pluck up the courage and do it- you can't continue in the state that you're in. If you go and don't like it, fine! Don't go again. If you go and make a fool of yourself, again that's fine! University is a big place and chances are you'll never see those people again. In reality, you'll more than likely meet with people who share similar interests and are more 'on the same wavelength' to you than your housemates are.
    Just for the record- my housemates are awful and all they ever talk about is sex!!

    2. You must try and eat regular meals- feeling hungry will only lower your mood and make you feel worse. Why not try preparing your meals in advance or cooking in the kitchen early in the morning/late at night when the rest of your housemates are in bed? Try to avoid caffeine it you can: Morrissons sells excellent decaf tea... and you can get 10% off all food there with your UNIDAYS ID!

    3. Get in touch with your GP, they can prescribe anti-anxiety medication and complimentary therapies. Some people are very anti-medication but in my experience it really has helped, I struggle to function properly when I haven't taken my Sertraline! If the prescription charge is off putting then they can point you in th direction of financial support from the NHS.
    As part of this, contact your university counselling service. They're used to seeing students in your position and can offer advice and a sympathetic ear so you're not worried about burdening your parents. Get in quick before the waiting list starts to fill up! In addition, the accessibility/disability department may be able to help by giving you a bursary/ a separate room to sit your exams in/ a seat in lectures near the exit and the like. Please don't worry about not being 'diagnosed' with anxiety. There's not really much of a formal diagnosis procedure anyway (Or at least there wasn't in my case). If you're struggling with your mental help then you're entitled to support: there is no such thing as 'faking it'. You're not the first student to struggle and you won't be the last!

    4. Try mindfulness. If you haven't heard of it before, it's a type of non religious meditation. There are various different apps (Headspace is a good one- they initially have a free trial and then you can pay something like £30 for the whole year via Anxiety UK's student concessionary rates. The disability service may also be able to give you money towards this) and YouTube videos to guide you through the process of relaxing and breathing. At first I was very sceptical of mindfulness but it has really helped me!

    5. Sleep is important. Try to get just the right amount- not too much or too little- by relaxing before bed. Have a warm shower (or a bath if you're lucky enough to have one in your halls!!!!) with some lavender scented soap then get nice and warm under your duvet with a blanket or a teddy from home. Some people swear by chamomile tea but I hate the taste!!!

    6. Masturbation. I won't go into too much detail, but it's a factor which is often overlooked in tackling anxiety. It's a great way to relax before bed and help you explore your body in a healthy way. If porn does it for you, then great! Most uni servers don't block it. If not, then go for whatever works for you! Just prepare for a massive rush of serotonin...

    7. As a last resort, you could always swap halls if your housemates are that intolerable.

    8. Finally, there's a wealth of other resources on the Internet: I find reading other people's experiences of anxiety and panic attacks strangely soothing so I know I'm not alone. Matt Haigh is amazing.

    Things WILL get better for you soon, I promise. Until then I'll be sending you strength in my prayers tonight. xx
 
 
 
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