Having anxiety at uni doesn’t mean I have no friends and never leave my room

First seminars are not fun

As someone who’s had anxiety for years, the idea of coming to university utterly terrified me. I’d had the same good old small group of friends since year 7 and I was never really open to meeting or getting to know new people. I already had at least four friends which is more than enough, is it not?! I didn’t think I’d be able to talk to new people and I doubted they’d get along with me.

Having anxiety does mean that sometimes I have to use beta blockers to stop myself from having panic attacks, lucky for me all they do is keep my heartbeat nice and normal so I can stay chill and unstressed all day.

It means that some days I end up chilling in my room alone with no intent on replying to that text or group chat but, everyone needs days like that do they not? Yet it can also mean that I stop myself from doing stuff I know I’d enjoy like joining a society, purely to avoid any stressful situation that could possibly happen. Not good.

Beta Blockers.

Beta Blockers.

It can mean that unless I’m drunk, the first time I meet you I will probably avoid all eye contact and not speak to you, which can make people think I’m just being a bitch, whilst this might be the case sometimes… I promise I’m not!

It may mean I don’t always do the best work, if I struggle to make it to a few seminars before I know it I’m lacking behind. By far however the worst grade I’ve had is all down to group work. I’m sure my group are great people and I doubt they enjoy working with me either,  seriously who actually likes group work? For me its my worst nightmare, no I don’t want to come back to your flat and discuss what to do, we can do everything over text surely?

Having anxiety doesn’t mean I never go out, in fact I’m out a little too much for my poor bank balance to bear because like everyone says you can’t miss Love Dough, or Union, or Quack, Entourage, Super bull and Propaganda. It’s not like they’re the same event on every week or anything…

People might think this is unusual for anxiety sufferers and in some cases it is, but there’s nothing my nervous self loves more than being blissfully drunk and uncaring in a club.

It doesn’t mean I have no friends, although it may have took me a while to speak up around everyone I’ve got amazing friends at Uni. Helped no doubt by how Lincoln is full of friendly faces, there’s definitely no other place I’d have rather gone.

The squad and I looking faf.

The squad and I looking faf.

People always find it hard to believe I struggle with anxiety, mostly because 80% of the time I’m fine, which makes me and others like me lucky. It manifests at uni sometimes, particularly in seminars. My first experience of a seminar was not a pleasant one. Anyone would get stressed stuck in a small room with complete strangers and expected to discuss aloud. Especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have sat next to that person who keeps replying “yeah” and nodding enthusiastically as if they’re having a private conversation with the tutor.

For me however this was too much, I ended up having a panic attack which although not great, is not as dramatic as it sounds. The room suddenly became boiling hot and with my heart beating super-fast I began breathing like Darth fucking Vader, all I could concentrate on was getting through the next few minutes then legging it back to my halls and trying to forget about it all.

Others experience anxiety in a much worse way, with 10% of all students at university now seeking counselling and other forms of help.

However that percentage could be a lot higher as not all students are willing to seek that help or are even aware that their university offers it. This is why universities need to do more, because what’s the point of coming out with a first (or let’s face it a 2:1 at best) if you’re going to be unhappy and unable to function out in the real world.