At least once in our lives we’ve all felt anxious whether that was for a test or waiting for some news, it’s scary, our nerves are shot and it soon passes but, sometimes it doesn’t. With exams and coursework deadlines approaching I thought it was important to talk about mental illness, focusing specifically on anxiety. There is a stigma when talking about mental health, this is something we need to start more conversations about to help end the taboo. Especially as students, we are more likely to suffer with mental health especially during stressful periods and instead of feeling like we can’t talk about it, even to our friends, we need to make the conversation louder.
Anxiety is a general feeling of fear, worry, unease and some sufferers even have panic attacks. You’re not ‘weird’ or ‘strange’ for feeling anxious or for suffering with anxiety disorder – it’s so much more common than you think with some studies reporting that 1 in 4 people will report feeling anxious at some point in their life.
But suffering with anxiety can be hard, especially if you feel like you’re dealing with it alone but that’s where you’re wrong! You’re not alone – so many people suffer from anxiety (including me) and understand what you’re going through. Anxiety isn’t something we can ‘just get over’ it can stop you from doing the things you love such as going out, seeing friends and even doing simple things such as going shopping. Things that aren’t a big deal to someone else may be a big deal for you – and that’s perfectly okay! Of course, there are varying levels of anxiety but that doesn’t mean your anxiety is less real than someone else who suffers with it more severely.
For a long time, I hid behind my anxiety and let it rule my life and I’d be lying if I said it still doesn’t sometimes but, I decided that I’m the one in charge and took action. Don’t let anxiety take over your life – speak to someone about it, even though it seems and IS difficult to seek help it’ll be worth it at the end. We’re lucky that the university offers a great mental health team and we have our very own GP surgery on campus – not only are they approachable and lovely but they will offer you support and advice.
For more information about anxiety please check out the NHS website or mind.org.uk, to get in contact with the mental health team email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and to make an appointment with the GP surgery ring 01509 222061.
Illustration by Lizzie Poole