What students with anxiety want you to know
Don’t be offended when we do some of these things
Last minute cancellation? Don’t be offended
The day starts off with you being excited to go out, nervous but still looking forward to seeing your friends. Closer to the time, you start to get this butterfly/ heart pounding feeling, a lot of what ifs later you decide to text your friend an excuse.
“I’m so so sorry I can’t make it today, something came up. Again sorry!!!”
If your friend cancels at the last minute it’s not because they’re pissed off with you. They’re probably sitting in their room worried about letting you down, so think before you text back – reassuring them “no worries, next time x” always works better than telling them “you’re such a party pooper.”
Not replying to your message? We’re still friends
Third year student Fatima wants you to know that not replying to messages straight away is because you think and over think what to say, some people think you’re airing them or being rude. That’s just not the case.
When I walk in late, don’t stare at me
We know the drill, someone walks in late and all eyes follow them to their seat. I remember someone walking in late during a lecture and the lecturer stopped talking, eyed the person until they sat down. Having anxiety means you want to be unnoticeable, stay invisible. I remember there would be times where I would have rather missed the entire seminar than walk in late and feel humiliated.
Speaking to The Tab, second year English student Rose Fatherazi said: “For me it was the the fear of being noticed. From the sheer terror of arriving late to a lecture/seminar to something more extreme like not ever wanting to leave my room. This constant need to protect myself by hiding.
“Rewarding myself for the little things, constant checking how I feel, and taking it one baby step at a time is what finally got me out of my horribly dark bubble.”
If I don’t talk in class, it’s not because I have nothing to say
I found seminars very nerve-wrecking in my first year. Most of the times I couldn’t talk – imagine having a frog in your throat and then whenever you wanted to make a point your heart would start beating fast. My anxiety makes me paranoid, in my head I have good points but I just worry too much about what classmates will think. Did they give me a look? Did I embarass myself? Was my point stupid?
It doesn’t stop there, I will most likely spend the rest of the day asking these questions in my head.
I want to be friends, I’m just scared
Again, your mind has a way of crippling self-confidence.
Second year student, Sarah said: “My anxiety prevented me from developing real friendships last year. I think that I can count on my fingers the times that I spoke with someone during a lecture or outside a seminar. I was terrified by the idea of introducing myself to other people, because I had thoughts like ‘they won’t find me smart, funny, nice. So it is useless that I try to speak with them.
“I can easily compare my anxiety of talking with people to the same feelings that you can have before performing on a stage. Consequently, I was always feeling bad because I was sure that people were thinking that I was snob or strange, and this was making me feel really frustrated because I’ve just wanted to say: I am just too scared to talk with you guys.”