Mental health and A Levels

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Anonymous #1
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I’m so Nervous about starting school again for sixth form and my mental health has deteriorated during lockdown. In lessons during GCSEs, I always panicked when teachers picked on me to answer questions and the thought of going to school made me so anxious. I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety or anything, so I can’t say that it’s anxiety, but it made me dread school. I’ve always had good grades and that’s something that I really care about, so I don’t want my A level grades to be impacted by this.

During lockdown I’ve been able to avoid the things that made me anxious, like going out, seeing people etc, so it feels even harder to start at a new school.

I don’t feel like I can talk to my parents about this because they really don’t understand and they often make fun of it
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sofiamchugh
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coming from someone who had it big time during GCSE year, that sounds like anxiety. it's not easy to deal with, and even worse if you don't have your parents' support, but I can say a few things that helped me out.

1. when you're feeling anxious, the most important thing is to very carefully analyse exactly what's making you anxious and why. what is it about going to school or answering questions that makes you anxious?
here's an example train of thought:
why am I afraid to get called on in class? -> because I'm afraid that I won't know the answer.
why am I afraid of not knowing the answer? -> because I'm worried that my classmates will judge me.
why do I care about their opinion of me? -> etc etc.

anxiety tends to have you catastrophising a lot. when you break down your train of thought into very logical steps and consider what you're afraid will happen vs what's likely to happen, how bad the worst case scenario really is, that sort of thing, it seems a lot less extreme and easier to manage.

2. it sounds from your post like you're more anxious about the social aspect of school than the academic aspect, although maybe I'm misreading that. social anxiety is a b-word, but the best thing for me was a) to realise that my peers aren't actually focused on picking apart everything I do wrong, and that b) their opinion of me doesn't actually matter. which is easier said than done, obviously, but it helps to consider the fact that two years from now you won't see them ever again and it won't matter what they thought of you.

3. if crowds at break/lunch make you anxious, it's easy to redirect yourself away from them. I spent all of my lunchtimes in different classrooms doing extra work during my GCSE year - which meant that I had more time to study, and that I didn't have to be in the lunch hall, so it killed two birds with one stone.

Let me know if there are more specific things making you anxious and maybe I can give more advice.
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wastedcuriosity
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hey, I really struggled with anxiety during my a-levels and what got me through it was going to see a counsellor once a week, as well as mindfulness (the app 'calm' is really good!)
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by sofiamchugh)
coming from someone who had it big time during GCSE year, that sounds like anxiety. it's not easy to deal with, and even worse if you don't have your parents' support, but I can say a few things that helped me out.

1. when you're feeling anxious, the most important thing is to very carefully analyse exactly what's making you anxious and why. what is it about going to school or answering questions that makes you anxious?
here's an example train of thought:
why am I afraid to get called on in class? -> because I'm afraid that I won't know the answer.
why am I afraid of not knowing the answer? -> because I'm worried that my classmates will judge me.
why do I care about their opinion of me? -> etc etc.

anxiety tends to have you catastrophising a lot. when you break down your train of thought into very logical steps and consider what you're afraid will happen vs what's likely to happen, how bad the worst case scenario really is, that sort of thing, it seems a lot less extreme and easier to manage.

2. it sounds from your post like you're more anxious about the social aspect of school than the academic aspect, although maybe I'm misreading that. social anxiety is a b-word, but the best thing for me was a) to realise that my peers aren't actually focused on picking apart everything I do wrong, and that b) their opinion of me doesn't actually matter. which is easier said than done, obviously, but it helps to consider the fact that two years from now you won't see them ever again and it won't matter what they thought of you.

3. if crowds at break/lunch make you anxious, it's easy to redirect yourself away from them. I spent all of my lunchtimes in different classrooms doing extra work during my GCSE year - which meant that I had more time to study, and that I didn't have to be in the lunch hall, so it killed two birds with one stone.

Let me know if there are more specific things making you anxious and maybe I can give more advice.
thank you, that helped a lot! I think my main problem is being around so many people. I was definitely a lot more comfortable in the lessons where the class sizes were smaller. There was one class in particular, where I was panicking every lesson and I always dreaded going into that lesson, despite enjoying the subject, because the class was so big and the teacher always called on people, so I was always panicking about being called on and on the occasions where I did get chosen to answer questions, I froze and looked like an idiot
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by wastedcuriosity)
hey, I really struggled with anxiety during my a-levels and what got me through it was going to see a counsellor once a week, as well as mindfulness (the app 'calm' is really good!)
Thanks, I’ll try out the app
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Caroline92
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m so Nervous about starting school again for sixth form and my mental health has deteriorated during lockdown. In lessons during GCSEs, I always panicked when teachers picked on me to answer questions and the thought of going to school made me so anxious. I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety or anything, so I can’t say that it’s anxiety, but it made me dread school. I’ve always had good grades and that’s something that I really care about, so I don’t want my A level grades to be impacted by this.

During lockdown I’ve been able to avoid the things that made me anxious, like going out, seeing people etc, so it feels even harder to start at a new school.

I don’t feel like I can talk to my parents about this because they really don’t understand and they often make fun of it
Hello there,

I am sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Have you got a support/well-being team at School you could approach? Most schools will have a sabbatical support team where you can go and seek guidance/emotional support. If not, perhaps you could go and see your GP and seek advice from them? It could be you are experiencing anxiety. Sixth form is an age where we are trying to make decisions about possibly what we want to do/study also, so can prove challenging and stressful at times. Do you think this has an influence on how your feeling? E.g. do you want to be in sixth form or do you have other goals?
I would definitely get some advice as you don't want to be alone in your feelings. There are also helplines available if things get worse and you need to speak to someone.
Best wishes & take care of yourself.
Caroline
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Caroline92)
Hello there,

I am sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Have you got a support/well-being team at School you could approach? Most schools will have a sabbatical support team where you can go and seek guidance/emotional support. If not, perhaps you could go and see your GP and seek advice from them? It could be you are experiencing anxiety. Sixth form is an age where we are trying to make decisions about possibly what we want to do/study also, so can prove challenging and stressful at times. Do you think this has an influence on how your feeling? E.g. do you want to be in sixth form or do you have other goals?
I would definitely get some advice as you don't want to be alone in your feelings. There are also helplines available if things get worse and you need to speak to someone.
Best wishes & take care of yourself.
Caroline
Hey, I do want to be in sixth form, but I don’t know what I want to do after. I have done so much research, but I still haven’t found anything that I’m passionate about and I think my subjects are quite limiting, which is adding to the worry. Last year, I was thinking of asking my school for help when I was panicking a lot over really insignificant things, but I found it too hard to ask, so I never did. I almost felt like none of the teachers cared either. In one lesson in particular that sparked a lot of anxiety (because of the class size and the teacher randomly calling on people), I was panicking and almost crying, and everyone was looking at me, but I was panicking so much that I couldn’t talk, so I couldn’t ask to leave the lesson, but the teacher completely ignored me
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Caroline92
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hey, I do want to be in sixth form, but I don’t know what I want to do after. I have done so much research, but I still haven’t found anything that I’m passionate about and I think my subjects are quite limiting, which is adding to the worry. Last year, I was thinking of asking my school for help when I was panicking a lot over really insignificant things, but I found it too hard to ask, so I never did. I almost felt like none of the teachers cared either. In one lesson in particular that sparked a lot of anxiety (because of the class size and the teacher randomly calling on people), I was panicking and almost crying, and everyone was looking at me, but I was panicking so much that I couldn’t talk, so I couldn’t ask to leave the lesson, but the teacher completely ignored me
Hi there. I am very sorry you feel you have not had the necessary support. Is there anyone else on the staff team you can approach if you have found your teacher isn't too supportive? As I said in other message, there is usually, in most schools nowadays, a support/well being team. Do you think you could go to anyone here and ask? What subjects are you taking? If you feel stressed about what to do after sixth form, I wouldn't worry too much yet as you are just starting, you have plenty of time, so some ideas may come to you as time progresses. Plus,I have just finished my 1st year of Social Work at University and I'm 28... so there really is no timescale/rush in life to decide your calling.
However, you could also book a careers guidance appointment? You can chat about what subjects you are doing, what you're interested in/passionate about, and they may be able to help suggest some ideas for you to look into. This may help put your mind at ease a little if you are feeling anxious about it. Hope you get on okay and remember if you need to reach out to discuss further with someone then there is support out there for you
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Anonymous #2
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Hey there I’m going into my second year of college and I feel like exactly like you. Ever since I could remember, the few days before school opens up after a long holiday I would always feel super super anxious and almost have breakdowns. I just usually feel like going to the bathroom and crying. And I don’t know why. I guess it’s because I’m just so scared of the idea of going back to school. Especially after such a huge huge holiday, the longer the holiday, the more anxious I get when we return. But then the day we return I forget all about my emotions and realise it’s not that bad. No matter how hard I try to convince myself that 1 more year of college is not bad at all and college is a lot better than secondary for introverts, I still feel equally as nervous as I did in secondary school. So yeah I’m just super nervous right now haha
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hey there I’m going into my second year of college and I feel like exactly like you. Ever since I could remember, the few days before school opens up after a long holiday I would always feel super super anxious and almost have breakdowns. I just usually feel like going to the bathroom and crying. And I don’t know why. I guess it’s because I’m just so scared of the idea of going back to school. Especially after such a huge huge holiday, the longer the holiday, the more anxious I get when we return. But then the day we return I forget all about my emotions and realise it’s not that bad. No matter how hard I try to convince myself that 1 more year of college is not bad at all and college is a lot better than secondary for introverts, I still feel equally as nervous as I did in secondary school. So yeah I’m just super nervous right now haha
I can completely relate with the breakdowns. I’ve had a few days this year, where I was panicking too much to go to school, so I faked being ill. I’ve heard that class sizes for A Levels are much smaller, so I’m hoping that might help. I’m dreading September - not because i don’t want to do A Levels, but because I get so anxious about school
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I can completely relate with the breakdowns. I’ve had a few days this year, where I was panicking too much to go to school, so I faked being ill. I’ve heard that class sizes for A Levels are much smaller, so I’m hoping that might help. I’m dreading September - not because i don’t want to do A Levels, but because I get so anxious about school
Yeah me too I just don’t know what to do about it. I love smaller sized classes and I hate hate large classes with like the popular loud people. I’m just dreading it cause times going so fast and I just wish I can have a few more months off. Plus I’ve come to a conclusion that I’m going to try and go therapy cause my sibling says this feeling isn’t normal at all
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Yeah me too I just don’t know what to do about it. I love smaller sized classes and I hate hate large classes with like the popular loud people. I’m just dreading it cause times going so fast and I just wish I can have a few more months off. Plus I’ve come to a conclusion that I’m going to try and go therapy cause my sibling says this feeling isn’t normal at all
I completely agree. I really want a few more months off too. I hope the therapy goes well I really want to ask for help, but I’m too scared
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Caroline92
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I completely agree. I really want a few more months off too. I hope the therapy goes well I really want to ask for help, but I’m too scared
Don't be afraid to reach out and seek advice if you are feeling this way (worried, anxious etc). Please do get in touch with someone as I am sure you will find it helpful to discuss it and get some support. Do you need any help on where to seek necessary support? There will be local organisations to where you live I'd imagine, or your GP, college well-being support team etc. Let me know if you need guidance
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Caroline92)
Don't be afraid to reach out and seek advice if you are feeling this way (worried, anxious etc). Please do get in touch with someone as I am sure you will find it helpful to discuss it and get some support. Do you need any help on where to seek necessary support? There will be local organisations to where you live I'd imagine, or your GP, college well-being support team etc. Let me know if you need guidance
I really want to, but at the same time, I’m worried that everyone will just think that I’m overreacting. I think it’s starting to get a bit out of control - I’m panicking about everything and I have no confidence at all. I don’t know how I would ask without sounding silly and my parents will probably make fun of me for everything
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Caroline92
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I really want to, but at the same time, I’m worried that everyone will just think that I’m overreacting. I think it’s starting to get a bit out of control - I’m panicking about everything and I have no confidence at all. I don’t know how I would ask without sounding silly and my parents will probably make fun of me for everything
Hi there. You would not sound silly to open up about your feelings at all - it is very important to do so. People often may worry how someone will react when talking about mental health etc, but you must seek advice if it is getting worse as you say. Don't keep your feelings to yourself. Do you think you could make an appointment with the welfare team at school/college? I am sure your parents would be supportive of you. In the meantime, if you are struggling, then please do remember there are helplines such as the Samaritans where you can speak to someone if you feel overwhelmed. Best wishes, Caroline
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