Understanding Anxiety

We all have had to visit the toilet that one last time before an exam…but what if this nervousness goes further? You start worrying about the kind of pen you’re […]

We all have had to visit the toilet that one last time before an exam…but what if this nervousness goes further? You start
worrying about the kind of pen you’re taking in for instance, or that items in your stationary set with completely harmless writing on them will be deemed as cheating. Has your mind ever run away with an idea, making you feel worried or stressed?

I have always been a person of compulsive nature who wants to do well, and university was no exception to this. I wanted to succeed in my studies. As much as we protest that all we need is a pass, I think that we all secretly want to do the best we can. Added to this, other pressures mounted in my life, including first adult experiences of relationships. A friend once said to me that I would burn myself out, and in the end maybe he was right.

After a while, everything became too much and something triggered in me. My mind could no longer relax; I was in a constant state of fear, which progressively built up until I finally reached breaking point. A conversation home to my mum one Sunday evening, awash with tears, resulted in her recommending me to try out some counselling. The dawning reality that my anxiety had taken over my life and counselling needed to be the case was the beginning of a personal journey for me.

Fortunately, being a student isn’t just handy when visiting the cinema. Open to me was a world of help that was easily
accessible and free to boot. I visited the centre and completed a form about why I was there and what I thought I needed, but following my first session I am sure the counsellor knew immediately what was happening in my life.

All of a sudden, I had a place that I could go to weekly and talk. At first this didn’t come easily, and the questions I was asked at times seemed abstract, hard to answer or too personal to comprehend replying to with anything other than a nervous chuckle.

However, you get used to opening up to another and allowing someone else to help you see how others perceive you. I learnt to understand what was going on in my mind and why I was experiencing these thoughts and feelings. I completed a course of counselling treatment, which I continued until I could confidently say that I am happy to no longer attend. Even then it was totally open for me to return if I thought necessary.

Self-discovery sounds very cheesy and counselling isn’t some brainwashing process. It is someone giving you some tools to step out of the craziness and look at what’s going on; something that I truly feel is invaluable to anybody.

Being a student is no easy ride, despite what people might think. The pressures we place upon ourselves are huge, not only with study but also in terms of friends, activities and relationships. It is hard sometimes to step back and look with perspective, allowing ourselves a little leeway. Give eighty percent and keep that remaining twenty for yourself!

‘What if. A fresh look at my anxiety’ is available on Amazon Kindle. It is short, and will only cost you 98p.