My struggle with anxiety first started back in sixth form, but at the time I did not know it was anxiety. At sixth form I had decided to do four A levels, which were Health and Social care, Mathematics, Biology and Psychology. Right from the beginning I was struggling with three out of the four subjects that I had chosen and this is where I feel my anxiety began as up until now I was confident with myself academically as I had achieved good grades at GCSE level.
Throughout my first year at Sixth form I was continually struggling, getting more stressed about the upcoming exams and even froze and began to panic in my first AS Mathematics exam which I failed (I did pass this the second time round though!). My attendance at sixth form was slowly decreasing also, as well as my attendance at my part time job. The first big blow that really set my anxiety off was the loss of my grandad. This was the first person in my close family that I had lost and I dealt with the bereavement very badly. I was very emotional for a long period of time, but often pushed it aside or hid it in order to prevent others around me getting upset. I had also failed my AS levels and so had to do an extra year at sixth form. This drastically through me off as I had never failed anything academically before.
During the next two years at sixth form, which I then spent doing a BTEC in Health and Social care, my attendance still lacked but I was still able to keep up with the workload. However, there was another big blow when I lost my nanny from the same side of the family which again I found difficult to come to terms with and often got very upset. As time went on I learnt to deal with the two family deaths and go on to get the highest grade possible in my BTEC which I was very proud of. After completing my BTEC I was due to go to University in Brighton in the following September which meant moving away from home… but you can read about that in my previous blog post ‘my experience at uni…’.
The past year had been the worst so far as I lost yet another grandparent, which was my grandad on my mum’s side. However, I saw this one coming more than the previous two as he was suffering from prostate cancer. This still didn’t make the loss any less painful though as I had grown very close with my grandad. I gradually got better with dealing with the bereavement and now take my nanny on days out so that she has some company at least once a fortnight as she now lives alone since the loss of grandad. It does get easier as you learn to deal with bereavements more as you get older, but it is always there in the back of your mind. Especially when certain things remind you of that person you lost.
Over the past four or so years I have jumped between jobs as I either do not enjoy it, it does not fit around my academic schedule or (the main reason) because my anxiety stops me from going. Most people will say ‘just go and you’ll feel so much better’ or ‘you are letting people down if you don’t go’ or even ‘just get on with it’ but in reality people with anxiety have already thought about every possible outcome, even those that seem the most unlikely. We know that we are letting people down and that if we go we will probably feel so much better for it, but unfortunately people with anxiety like me will create a problem or reason as to why they cannot go and will even start to believe the stupid reason themselves.
Since leaving my most current job and beginning university for the second time (thankfully in my home city) I have seeked help from my local doctors and GP, as well as the wellbeing service. My doctors have been a great help and it took me a few different doctors and a several separate trips but I finally got the help and advice that I was looking for! The wellbeing service is also amazing and if you also feel like you are suffering from anxiety I would recommend them so highly. They may take a while to get back to you, but once you have that first initial meeting it gets the ball rolling and they are able to provide you with plenty of advice and options as well as there to listen to you and not judge. I am currently on medication and completing webinars (meetings set up over the web through the wellbeing system so you can stay anonymous and do it from the comfort of your own home) which I feel has helped me so much over the past four or so months.
My anxiety causes me to think that I am a disappointment to those I love and are closest with, as well as the feeling sometimes that I would be better off dead and out of their lives as I feel as if I am just a burden when I am frustrating and not just ‘getting on with it’ like most people would do. However, my GP, the wellbeing service, my family and friends have all helped in me getting more of a hold and becoming more in control of my anxiety, some more than others. I still have bad days but nowhere near as bad as what I had before I got help, and now I am able to just get up and carry on with what I had planned for my day without my anxiety disrupting it too much.
I hope that this has opened people’s eyes into how anxiety can affect someone and actually how serious it can be. I am so grateful for those who have been there to listen or been my shoulder to cry on when i’ve reached my lowest points, but I really hope that this post will help people to feel that they are not alone and there are many people going through the exact same thing as them!
love your little alien xoxo