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    Hi, I've been suffering with general anxiety and panic attacks which have been diagnosed by a doctor, since the age of 6. I've had CBT three times as well as counselling which has not worked at all. I have been told numerous times that I should go on medication for it however I don't want to, in my opinion I'd like to be able to know how to deal with my anxiety without medication. But each to their own, I'd just like to find my own way. And I'm not too fond of the stories I have heard.

    I always overthink everything little thing and make a huge problem out of nothing. When I have my panic attacks I feel violently sick to my stomach, stomach cramping, feel like I am going to pass out, jelly legs, can't breathe, lump in the throat, gagging feeling, heart racing and feel like I'm not in my body.

    However I have got better, I have a great support system at home as well as at my school. I've been learning my triggers for example heat. I'm in year 12 and the Univeristy talk has begun; I so badly want to go to university but I'm not exactly the most confident person nor independent. It's embarrassing to say that I struggle ordering a meal; just doing simple things like asking where an item in the shop is.

    I'm worried about the university lectures as I've struggled with all my school assemblies. I feel like I can't escape. My schools support has been amazing, I'm allowed to sit on the very end seat near the door during our assemblies however it doesn't seem to make me feel better. I tend to have my assemblies on a Monday so I tend to worry about them on a Sunday, which is really silly I know. I also tend to have these problems during exams and for GCSEs I was put in a separate room with other people who could not be in a large theatre for their exams. I was allowed to have a see through bag of chewing gum as I get a really bad gagging feeling when I feel anxious and it doesn't help that I have a phobia of sickness. I was also placed next to a window due to one of my triggers.

    I feel like I am slowly improving but I'm so worried that I won't cope moving out and living on campus as well as coping with lectures filled with a lot of people. Sorry it's so long, I just wanted to see if anyone could suggest any coping measures they use.

    Thank you x

    I think you've identified quite a few coping measures that you could also implement at university. The exam arrangements you have received at school are also able to be arranged if you get a doctor to agree that you have anxiety. I used to also have pretty bad anxiety (like you I used to have trouble with even simple stuff like asking where things in shops are I would never do that, using a phone, answering questions in class, talking to other students) but going to uni helped quite a bit and I got a lot better at doing those things. Lectures are very, very scary to start with but I would sit at the front on a row to myself near the door and that made me feel more at ease. Seminars I really struggled with and skipped loads of them until I asked my mental health support worker to have a word with my seminar professors and ask them not to randomly pick on me in class - I've always struggled with answering questions in class so I never went to the seminars because I was too scared that I would get asked a question. The professors were fine with not asking me stuff and by the end of 3 years I actually sometimes, albeit rarely, would contribute of my own accord! Living by yourself forces you to do things. You said you've had CBT 3 times, that's a lot of therapy, I think with anxiety you do need to force yourself a bit and leave your comfort zone; if you're living on campus there are resident tutors living in halls to make sure people are ok and usually everything is nearby and convenient - if you stay with your parents and only move out when you get a job things will be much harder. University isn't really 100% independence ime, it's still a few more years to practice before being a full adult. I took/take medication for anxiety which, along with quite a few years of forcing myself and therapy, I would say I've improved more than I ever thought possible. You said you don't want to take medication and that's your decision but I think you would be selling yourself short if you let it stop you going to uni.
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