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Mental health and fit to sit policy at university watch

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    Hi all,

    I'm currently going through a really really rough time with my mental health at the moment. As a bit of background I have suffered with anxiety and depression for most of my teenage and adult like, in fact, all of it....most of the time people are surprised if I am ever brave enough to tell them as in their own words 'you seem so normal' and I do a good job of hiding it, but inside I am a mess and live constantly on the edge. However, I manage to 'function' generally in the eyes of the world.

    Over the last couple of years I have gone through a lot personally and especially the last 6 months have been extremely traumatic and have in the last few months manifested in some quite difficult and distressing behaviours. I believe that I am suffering from some form of PTSD and OCD. I have been trying to get to see my doctor for a few weeks when it become impossible to 'hide' these symptoms and have finally secured an appointment for this week. Before anyone worries they are not self harmful or suicidal tendencies.

    On top of all of this I have exams this week and don't feel I can cope with them. The circumstances of the last 6 months meant I was not attending university regularly and whilst I was relatively mentally well I made a conscious effort to study when I can. It's been impossible recently due to everything else going on in my head. My university operates a fit to sit policy and I am now torturing myself as to whether I should just get it over and done with and then spend months beating myself up knowing I wasn't in the right place to sit or to risk a fit to sit concession. If it is rejected then I am deemed to have failed and my overall result would be capped. I have previously submitted a concession due to physical problems as the time (waiting outcome of board decision) and fear this will be held against me when submitting another.

    So on top of trying to deal with the issues effectively causing my poor mental state, I am trying to deal with the exam worry.

    I don't know what to do. I can provide medical evidence for my mental health and the circumstances that have caused it to deteriorate but worry it won't be enough.

    Any one else ever been in the same or similar situation?

    Sorry for such a long post. I don't have anyone else I can talk to or that understands.

    Thanks in advance.x
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    PTSD is potentially a very long road to recovery and you do not have the time to deal with that before the exams. your time restrictions dictate your priorities right now so i would be talking to the university as soon as you can. get it on record and get the support that they have in place. mental health is a big thing and they have a whole department full of people who are doing research and possibly therapy so take advantage of the facilities that are right there next to you. you have recognised a problem but it will not be dealt with overnight so deal with what you can and ask them for help. you have a lot riding on this so do something to help yourself by asking for help.
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    Hi both,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

    I haven’t been formally diagnosed with PTSD but feel this is where a diagnosis will lead.

    I want to reach out to the University but I feel afraid that they will think I’m not well enough to study with them which currently is somewhat true but at the same time is something I’ve been studying for for such a long time and is so important to me. I just feel like the events of the last months have culminated in my current state of mind and I’m making steps in dealing with them by seeing the GP and also arranging some private therapy. I’ve suffered with anxiety, panic and depression for a very long time now and managed to successfully complete my undergraduate degree and make it to postgraduate so I can ‘normally’ cope (it’s not just exam stress which I also fear they will assume) but struggling terribly at the moment.

    I’m so sorry to hear you are suffering too Foresteri. I will send you a private message shortly.x
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    Have you got access to a support worker at university? Do you receive DSA?
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    (Original post by Pathway)
    Have you got access to a support worker at university? Do you receive DSA?
    I have contacted my university DSA who were lovely and very helpful. I need to submit medical evidence to them which I will do and then they can help me be it temporarily whilst I deal with the current state of affairs or long term if necessary.
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    (Original post by sally_1986)
    I have contacted my university DSA who were lovely and very helpful. I need to submit medical evidence to them which I will do and then they can help me be it temporarily whilst I deal with the current state of affairs or long term if necessary.
    If you have DSA and access to a specialist MH mentor they should be able to help you with regards to time off/exams/etc.

    I was able to get a resit sat as a first sit (that's a mouthful lol), in other words uncapped due to my MH declining significantly in my third year (one of my best friends killed herself and my mum was diagnosed with cancer), so there are ways round things if your health is impacting your studies significantly. Really hope you're able to get something put in place for the longer term as well. Are you under a MH team?

    I have complex PTSD, depression and anxiety and am in the process of being assessed for an eating disorder which, at the time, was undiagnosed (I've had MH issues for a long time). If you need someone to talk to, you're welcome to PM me,
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    i guessed that you hadn't been diagnosed with PTSD yet but as a psychology student who is studying psychology to deal with PTSD (among other things), i am advising you that it will take a long time.

    i cant see them kicking you out for mental health problems for a list of reasons. inequality, the papers would have a field day, discrimination laws etc and aside from anything else, you have shown that you can handle it already.

    right now i am more concerned about you giving in to fear. you are clearly anxious about the consequences (which is understandable) but your thought processes seem a little off. the reality is that kicking you out of university for mental health reasons would be very bad for them
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    (Original post by Richard0328)
    i guessed that you hadn't been diagnosed with PTSD yet but as a psychology student who is studying psychology to deal with PTSD (among other things), i am advising you that it will take a long time.

    i cant see them kicking you out for mental health problems for a list of reasons. inequality, the papers would have a field day, discrimination laws etc and aside from anything else, you have shown that you can handle it already.

    right now i am more concerned about you giving in to fear. you are clearly anxious about the consequences (which is understandable) but your thought processes seem a little off. the reality is that kicking you out of university for mental health reasons would be very bad for them
    Hi Richard,

    Thanks.

    My thought process (if you can even call it a process, more like a jumble) is off. It’s all over the place. I try to deal with one issue and then become completely overwhelmed with everything waiting to jump in on the background.

    The last visit to my doctor ended with a ‘wait and see approach’ with reference to potential PTSD (was suffering with avoidance of anything relating to the traumatic events, nightmares, insomnia, and a few other symptoms). Since then it’s escalated and also there are some definite obsessive behavious becoming evident, all when I try to put some perspective on them, relevant to the traumatic events that have resulted in my current state.

    Everyone I’ve spoken to has said it’s good I am recognising signs and unhealthy behaviour and patterns and it’s positive I’m seeking help, so that suggests some form of rational thinking. Although I know I’m going to have to be escorted to the doctor as it’s likely I will have a panic attack about and talk myself out of it.

    I think you’re right about the university. This is what my anxiety does to me though.....it’s take me to the worst case scenario. It does it with everything, in the scheme of things the university one isn’t bad considering the other worst case scenarios my anxiety takes me to, but in terms of studying it is the worst case for me.

    Good luck with your psychology degree! Are you hoping to go into working in Mental Health? Thanks again for your replies.
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    (Original post by sally_1986)
    Hi Richard,

    Thanks.

    My thought process (if you can even call it a process, more like a jumble) is off. It’s all over the place. I try to deal with one issue and then become completely overwhelmed with everything waiting to jump in on the background.

    The last visit to my doctor ended with a ‘wait and see approach’ with reference to potential PTSD (was suffering with avoidance of anything relating to the traumatic events, nightmares, insomnia, and a few other symptoms). Since then it’s escalated and also there are some definite obsessive behavious becoming evident, all when I try to put some perspective on them, relevant to the traumatic events that have resulted in my current state.

    Everyone I’ve spoken to has said it’s good I am recognising signs and unhealthy behaviour and patterns and it’s positive I’m seeking help, so that suggests some form of rational thinking. Although I know I’m going to have to be escorted to the doctor as it’s likely I will have a panic attack about and talk myself out of it.

    I think you’re right about the university. This is what my anxiety does to me though.....it’s take me to the worst case scenario. It does it with everything, in the scheme of things the university one isn’t bad considering the other worst case scenarios my anxiety takes me to, but in terms of studying it is the worst case for me.

    Good luck with your psychology degree! Are you hoping to go into working in Mental Health? Thanks again for your replies.
    if you want to talk then feel free to pm me. unloading tension is crucial for everyone and sometimes it is easier to chat online since the other person is unable to act on anything which leaves you fully in control.

    i am seeking a whole new direction in life and my aim is to work with the Armed Forces as a therapist. I served 7 years in the Army so i at least understand the people and culture which is half the battle. building a rapport can be skipped which saves time since ex forces form an instant bond and trust relationship upon discovering each others' service background.

    there is a PTSD forum if you wish to talk to other survivors. they seem to find it quite helpful for chatting and seeking advice
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    I have c-ptsd as one of my dx and I reset my entire 2nd year as first sit. I only handed in one essay for the entire year.

    This year I’m asking for special circs on 2 essays and will see on the outcome. They can’t kick you off the course but they might suggest taking a study break and it would be worth looking at your options for this. Rather than overloading yourself with work
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    (Original post by ~Tara~)
    I have c-ptsd as one of my dx and I reset my entire 2nd year as first sit. I only handed in one essay for the entire year.

    This year I’m asking for special circs on 2 essays and will see on the outcome. They can’t kick you off the course but they might suggest taking a study break and it would be worth looking at your options for this. Rather than overloading yourself with work
    Hi Tara,

    Glad to hear that your university is accommodating to your circumstances.

    Hope you are managing well! Thanks for sharing your issues and experience.

    When I spoke to my university disability support yesterday they mentioned it as an option. It is something I want to avoid doing but will take advice from my GP and I've booked in for some psychotherapy and see what they say.
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    (Original post by Richard0328)
    if you want to talk then feel free to pm me. unloading tension is crucial for everyone and sometimes it is easier to chat online since the other person is unable to act on anything which leaves you fully in control.

    i am seeking a whole new direction in life and my aim is to work with the Armed Forces as a therapist. I served 7 years in the Army so i at least understand the people and culture which is half the battle. building a rapport can be skipped which saves time since ex forces form an instant bond and trust relationship upon discovering each others' service background.

    there is a PTSD forum if you wish to talk to other survivors. they seem to find it quite helpful for chatting and seeking advice
    Hi Richard,

    Best of luck in your new direction. It sounds like you are very well suited to helping servicemen/women having been through similar experiences whilst serving!

    I've spoken with a local psychotherapist today and am seeing her this week as she wants to see my asap. From the time we spoke she thinks there is definitely OCD at play here, probably stemming from some post traumatic stress and my anxiety disorder. She believes the doctor will up my dose on my anxiety tablets and probably want to prescribe something like Diazepam to generally calm me down (although I don't like the feeling Diazepam).

    I've had a terrible throbbing in my ears all day today. It's driving me mad. But in my head it was obviously something threatening and sinister going on in my body when in fact it's probably tension related as I know I am grinding my teeth and constantly clenching my jaw. I had a single random pain in my chest earlier (muscular I think as trying to remember I'm sure I moved quickly at the time) but for about half an hour after I managed to convince myself I was going to die with a heart attack or something. Like I said yesterday, this is what my heightened anxiety does to me....always worst case scenario. I didn't sleep last night either. I have this issue with dying and death currently (not that I want to die, I've developed an unhealthy fear of it...I know it's normal to be afraid of it but this is a really unhealthy obsession with me or someone close to me passing....it makes me feel sick just writing it) and the nightmares seem to take it in turn as to which loved one it will be. Had only been in bed an hour and that was it, I was up for the night. The lack of sleep is definitely not helping obviously.
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    (Original post by sally_1986)
    Hi Richard,

    Best of luck in your new direction. It sounds like you are very well suited to helping servicemen/women having been through similar experiences whilst serving!

    I've spoken with a local psychotherapist today and am seeing her this week as she wants to see my asap. From the time we spoke she thinks there is definitely OCD at play here, probably stemming from some post traumatic stress and my anxiety disorder. She believes the doctor will up my dose on my anxiety tablets and probably want to prescribe something like Diazepam to generally calm me down (although I don't like the feeling Diazepam).

    I've had a terrible throbbing in my ears all day today. It's driving me mad. But in my head it was obviously something threatening and sinister going on in my body when in fact it's probably tension related as I know I am grinding my teeth and constantly clenching my jaw. I had a single random pain in my chest earlier (muscular I think as trying to remember I'm sure I moved quickly at the time) but for about half an hour after I managed to convince myself I was going to die with a heart attack or something. Like I said yesterday, this is what my heightened anxiety does to me....always worst case scenario. I didn't sleep last night either. I have this issue with dying and death currently (not that I want to die, I've developed an unhealthy fear of it...I know it's normal to be afraid of it but this is a really unhealthy obsession with me or someone close to me passing....it makes me feel sick just writing it) and the nightmares seem to take it in turn as to which loved one it will be. Had only been in bed an hour and that was it, I was up for the night. The lack of sleep is definitely not helping obviously.
    we do have evolutionary fears (heights, spiders etc) and i agree that fearing death is natural but i still find that to be interesting because unlike other evolutionary fears, it is not something that can be avoided. what is it about death that you fear?
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    (Original post by Richard0328)
    we do have evolutionary fears (heights, spiders etc) and i agree that fearing death is natural but i still find that to be interesting because unlike other evolutionary fears, it is not something that can be avoided. what is it about death that you fear?
    It’s difficult to put into words and something that has quite slowly developed over the last year or so, but has recently erupted into a recurring theme in my mental health. I believe the more recent and overwhelming fear is a reaction to the past few months. It’s not that I want to live forever though....I just don’t know what it is. I’m assuming it’s a fear of death as it features in my anxiety responses frequently and it forms most of my nightmares.
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    (Original post by sally_1986)
    It’s difficult to put into words and something that has quite slowly developed over the last year or so, but has recently erupted into a recurring theme in my mental health. I believe the more recent and overwhelming fear is a reaction to the past few months. It’s not that I want to live forever though....I just don’t know what it is. I’m assuming it’s a fear of death as it features in my anxiety responses frequently and it forms most of my nightmares.
    have you tried dream interpretation? dont believe all the nonsense on the internet about certain things meaning this and that. the symbols are very personal and so the manifest content (what you dream) is different for everyone. the key is to figure out what the latent content (the real meaning) is by looking at the content of your dreams and working together (or by yourself) to figure out what the hidden message is. Sigmund Freud says that it is impossible to interpret your own dreams but i disagree. i had some really disturbing dreams last year that made me fear sleeping because of the dreams that i was having. i looked at the dreams and figured out the meaning then they stopped. it might be worth trying that on your own or with your therapist. it might not solve everything but stopping the nightmares would be helpful
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    (Original post by Richard0328)
    have you tried dream interpretation? dont believe all the nonsense on the internet about certain things meaning this and that. the symbols are very personal and so the manifest content (what you dream) is different for everyone. the key is to figure out what the latent content (the real meaning) is by looking at the content of your dreams and working together (or by yourself) to figure out what the hidden message is. Sigmund Freud says that it is impossible to interpret your own dreams but i disagree. i had some really disturbing dreams last year that made me fear sleeping because of the dreams that i was having. i looked at the dreams and figured out the meaning then they stopped. it might be worth trying that on your own or with your therapist. it might not solve everything but stopping the nightmares would be helpful
    I will definitely mention it to the therapist.

    Well, today my anxiety is at an all time high. It’s exam day and I think you got it spot on that I am caving into fear. I’ve been sick repeatedly....I will be glad when the start time has come and gone as at least by that time it will be too late......although I don’t know who I’m trying to kid as I know I will spend weeks, months even torturing and beating myself up about missing the exam and waiting to hear the outcome of a concession application. Although by tomorrow I will be obsessing over something else, in addition to the things already obsessive in my head.

    I just want peace!!!!!! From myself more than anything else. I hate myself so much.
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    (Original post by Richard0328)
    i had some really disturbing dreams last year that made me fear sleeping because of the dreams that i was having. i looked at the dreams and figured out the meaning then they stopped. it might be worth trying that on your own or with your therapist. it might not solve everything but stopping the nightmares would be helpful
    Sorry to hear you also suffered with disturbing dreams. Glad you managed to get to the bottom of them and they stopped!
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    (Original post by sally_1986)
    Sorry to hear you also suffered with disturbing dreams. Glad you managed to get to the bottom of them and they stopped!
    oddly enough my dreams involved people dying. one was located in a place that i was brought up in but has long since been knocked down. giant lizard type beasts were eating teenagers who were provoking them. i was there visiting a retired psychologist but i didnt find out why i was visiting him. my college classmates were there too.
    the next night i dreamt that i was in a container docks (i have worked on docks but not this specific one) and someone had a car crash which set his car on fire. he could have got out but chose to burn to death in his car and nobody could get close enough to pull him out. there was a police officer nearby who was clearly traumatised and i went over to comfort the guy.
    in both dreams there was a link to reality even though there were unfamiliar things too. the common theme was psychology and at the time i was still finding my feet. i would say that those dreams supported the wish fulfillment theory by Freud. this is why i disagree with him when he says you cant analyse your own dreams. it is a puzzle and there is no set rule regarding symbols.
    once i figured it out they stopped!
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    (Original post by sally_1986)
    I will definitely mention it to the therapist.

    Well, today my anxiety is at an all time high. It’s exam day and I think you got it spot on that I am caving into fear. I’ve been sick repeatedly....I will be glad when the start time has come and gone as at least by that time it will be too late......although I don’t know who I’m trying to kid as I know I will spend weeks, months even torturing and beating myself up about missing the exam and waiting to hear the outcome of a concession application. Although by tomorrow I will be obsessing over something else, in addition to the things already obsessive in my head.

    I just want peace!!!!!! From myself more than anything else. I hate myself so much.
    these things that you obsess about, are they actually important to you or could they be a distraction from the real issues? that could be avoidance (where you deal with something other than the real problem) or it could be transference (you transfer your emotions from something difficult to something easier).

    i hope you dont hate yourself because of this behaviour. this is the result of a disorder and does not change who you are, only what you do. none of this makes you a bad person or anything like that so dont be too hard on yourself. your behaviours may be unusual but having anxiety is not. everyone suffers mental health problems at some point so we are all on the scale somewhere at any given time
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    (Original post by Richard0328)
    these things that you obsess about, are they actually important to you or could they be a distraction from the real issues? that could be avoidance (where you deal with something other than the real problem) or it could be transference (you transfer your emotions from something difficult to something easier).

    i hope you dont hate yourself because of this behaviour. this is the result of a disorder and does not change who you are, only what you do. none of this makes you a bad person or anything like that so dont be too hard on yourself. your behaviours may be unusual but having anxiety is not. everyone suffers mental health problems at some point so we are all on the scale somewhere at any given time
    I do hate myself due to the behaviours and reactions. Otherwise I am a generally good person with a good heart and the very best intentions always. I’m guilty of allowing people too much and normally always end up hurt when what I give isn’t reciprocated.

    I’ve just got out of the doctors and have some temporary relief having had a really good talk with him and feeling supported by him under the current circumstances. He witnessed a near on panic attack just entering his room when my legs started uncontrollably shaking and the inability to voice reared its ugly head but he put me at ease and we soon got to having a chat. He said he is treating this episode as post traumatic and there are unhealthy OCD tendencies at play. He has increased my dose of my usual meds and prescribed me some panic tablets to take as necessary. I can’t have beta blockers due to asthma so quite limited on medications for the physical symptoms but hopefully the increased dosage and new tablets will calm everything down.

    Thanks for your support. It really does help just having somewhere to say the things you might not otherwise say out loud.
 
 
 
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