Severe anxiety in sixth form

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
Hi all, I’m reaching out because I realise, I need help. I have just started sixth form this academic year and it has really changed me. I’d say I used to be someone who was never really anxious even when I had my GCSEs. Everyone would come to me with their worries and I would happily listen and I’d say I performed very well as a dyslexic student in my GCSEs.

Fast forward to sixth form and things have really taken a toll for the worst. I keep questioning whether what subjects I have picked are right for me (even though they are ones I performed best at GCSE) which has led me to get jittery and start getting panic attacks. They also cause me to overthink everything leading me to be even more anxious. Most of my overthinking I’d say is questions that usually start with “what if?”. I wouldn’t say the panic attacks are severe but on the basis that I’ve never had them before, it’s just scary.

I’m doing Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Applied General Business at school and I constantly question whether picking these was the right choice. At the start of the year I kind of wanted to do something medicine based, but it wasn’t a burning desire or anything, i just had nothing else there. Now I have progressed a little through my A levels I would like to study Psychology at uni (or maybe criminology) as this is just something I find interesting. Chemistry is my constant cause of anxiety as I am really struggling with the maths side of it, the theory is fine, it’s just the long worded maths ones I find difficult to process with my dyslexia. I want to drop this but the Applied A level is basically a BTEC so my parents aren’t very happy about it and I don’t want it to hinder my chances at university. People keep telling me to contact individual universities, which I will do eventually, but I know that if even one of those universities comes back and says “sorry we don’t accept a BTEC” I will panic again.

I have exams after half term and I feel like I constantly need to be working. Doing so well at GCSE has turned me into a big perfectionist so I am never happy. When I’m not studying I panic because I feel that I should be studying and I’ll fail if I don’t study. I’ve tried taking more time to myself and I recently picked up drawing again (which was originally ruined for me because of the pressure of GCSE art) but when I draw I feel I need to be studying. The same if I’m watching something on TV in the evening with my family. School work (especially working for chemistry) has really taken over my life and I feel that if I don’t get A*s at the end everyone around me will be disappointed, but yet my motivation to do things is lower then ever. I struggle to get up in the morning because my whole life just revolves around school. I just feel exhausted because I overthink in bed so then I don’t sleep. This means I get tired, which triggers the panicking and overthinking more and it’s just an endless cycle.

To add to this stress, I haven’t had a period since July and so am being tested for all sorts by the doctor which also increases my anxiety because I tend to see the worst outcome. Just last night I only got 2 hours of sleep because my thoughts were crowded with the idea that I could have early menopause or something else really bad. I’ve started seeing the worst side of things and if anything goes wrong I panic. I tried confiding in my mum but she just tells me to “get a grip”, so I no longer try to ask for help. I have started to see my school counsellor every Wednesday and even though this I’d say, helps a little, it doesn’t help me to stop any panic and overthinking when it gets bad. I just feel that when I do panic I have nobody to confide in. I also see my school Chaplin twice a week to help with mindfulness but again, it only works on some occasions. It doesn’t stop my overthinking or my panicking once it’s arrived.

I just don’t know what to do. I have a meditation app called Insight timer but I only use it before bed to try and distract myself, it never addresses the underlying issue.

If you’ve read this far I really appreciate it, and I appreciate any feedback anyone has to offer. I know I need help and I don’t know how much longer I’ll last under all this pressure.

(I think I managed to get everything off of my chest, but I may edit/ add things later to the thread as I am working on 2 hours sleep and I feel exhausted).
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catastrophe—
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#2
Report 2 years ago
#2
I know how it is to feel like you have to be achieving A*’s because you set yourself a precedent at GCSE, and anxiety around A levels is really widespread - almost everyone in our year was really worried about whether they’d chosen the right topics. i’m in year 13 and still find myself questioning my choices sometimes. Having said that, it sounds like things are a lot worse for you, and id really urge you to go to your chem teachers for help - i know the maths is prettt difficult (i’ve been there), but it starts to make more sense with practice. Have you talked to the school chaplain about panic attacks specifically?
please give yourself a break, i know it’s teally hard right now but i’m sending love and hoping things look up for you
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thatunistudent
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#3
Report 2 years ago
#3
First of all you just need to breath! There’s nothing wrong with you at all. I think this stage in life is probably the hardest stage because you have to decide essentially your life and jumping into the “unknown.” I was in the same position as you a year ago. I constantly asked myself if I was doing the right subjects or if I was going into the right career. I used to jump back and forth between each career all the time and cry and miss sleep over it. I also used to say I had to get into a Russel group etc. looking back I realized it was all overthinking. I think when you care too much it becomes a burden because you have no idea how to know what’s the “right decision” so you overthink. In the end, I ended up liking my career choice but I didn’t get into my top uni choice. That was my worst fear but guess what? I love my uni now! I’ve made friends and everything. So I often look back and feel bad about the time I wasted overthinking things. I think you’re in the same bubble a lot of people are but you’re better because you actually acknowledge it. Let me just say, the fact that you picked what your good at isn’t wrong and just push through high-school. Spend a bit more time on chemistry just to at least get a decent grade. But don’t ever fall under the pressure of school because trust me it isn’t worth it! If you put so much pressure on yourself you won’t be able to focus with declining mental health. Not to mention the fact that overthinking really does honestly create problems that aren’t there. I know this seems cliché and I hated when people said this to me but, just let the future go with fate. All you can control right now is the ability to pass your exams and how you can balance your life without being exhausted. The rest (career, grades, uni etc) are all things that fall into place by fate so overthinking just creates unnecessary fear. Hope this helps a little to hear it from someone who went through the same thing. Everything works out even if it seems impossible, just please relax because it isn’t the end of the world.
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