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Support for mental health at university

coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 596 Incredible Poster
Hi! 

I was going to talk about this on a one-to-one chat but I thought any responses might be helpful other people too so decided to make it into a discussion. 

I'm in my final year of university at the moment (kinda, I am staying on for a one year masters degree but this is my final year of my undergrad) and I am struggling. I enjoy the content and I have previously enjoyed university, however since around November time I have been feeling so anxious all the time. This makes it difficult for me to concentrate on my work, and although I still get it done, I am then left worrying about whether it's a good piece of work or not (I haven't had any grades back yet to know). My friends say I am probably overthinking and that my work is fine, but it's hard to switch off from these worries, and it also just adds pressure for upcoming pieces of work because I feel like I need to do extra well to 'make up for it'. I know grades aren't everything, but I really would love to do well as I have worked so hard throughout this whole degree and I would love to graduate with a grade that reflects that - they're not everything, but it is important to me. My boyfriend and best friend are both at my university so I do have support, but sometimes I feel guilty because they too are in their final year so of course they are going to be feeling stressed too...but this just feels different. 

Alongside the feelings of anxiety, I have been having a few panic attacks. This is actually more normal to me as I have experienced panic attacks for around three years now, however that doesn't really make them easier to manage as they leave me feeling exhausted. For example, I had one yesterday morning as soon as I woke up, but I couldn't give myself time to get over it afterwards because I had a shift, followed by uni and then uni work to do. 

It just feels like my mind never switches off, even when I make sure to give myself relaxing time before I go to sleep. So, I'm wondering what advice anybody has for this please? I visited the uni counsellor but they referred me to a short online course which to be honest didn't help too much. 

Thank you so much in advance x 

Comments

  • JordanJordan Posts: 233 Super Moderator
    Hi @coc0mac, currently halfway through my third year of University. I'm glad you have support at university through your boyfriend and best friend, it's really  helpful to have a good support network around us.

    It sounds like you are anxious about grades. It's always awful waiting for results day so I hope it goes well for you. It sounds like you've put a lot of work into your University course, so I hope results go as expected. It sounds like you also understand that grades aren't the be all and end all, although I understand it can be hard to focus on that. Have you tried anything to take your mind off the wait for results?

    I understand that you feel like your mind can't switch off. I'm not sure how you study or work but I had a similar problem last year. I was constantly being reminded about essays and work. I've heard it can be helpful to separate your "study" area from your "home" area. So for example whenever you are going to study or write part of an essay make sure you do it outwith your home, for example at a library or a coffee shop. I'm not sure if it will help for you, but I found it partly helpful to create these two distinct areas.

    I know you mentioned seeing a uni counsellor and I'm sorry the course didn't work. Have you tried getting in touch with them again? They might have other solutions, ideas, or things to try out that could help you. 

  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 596 Incredible Poster
    Hi @Jordan

    Thank you so much for getting back to me :smile:

    I've tried to get into a few more relaxing activities to distract myself from uni and grades, such as reading and colouring. They're working quite well, but the biggest struggle is when I first wake up and my mind goes into overdrive. I'm wondering if I maybe need to introduce it into my morning routine to see if that helps

    That's a great idea about separating my study and home areas. I will for sure give it a try! 

    I haven't got back in touch with the uni counsellor, but you are right it may be worth a try. I will contact them and let you know what happens when I have updates. 

    Thank you so much!
  • Lucy307Lucy307 UKPosts: 813 Part of The Mix Family
    Hey @coc0mac

    Thanks for making it a discussion as hopefully it will help everybody <3

    Really glad you have the support of your best friend and boyfriend - please don't feel guilty about reaching out to them when you are struggling, it's what they are there for, and I'm sure you'd do the same for them. 'Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend' :smile:

    As for the anxiety and panic attacks, well done for going to the uni counsellor in the first place, I did this in my final year of uni too so know how daunting that is. Wholeheartedly agree with Jordan's advice of going back to them to tell them that the online course wasn't helpful. Different things work for different people so they should be able to help you in a different way. Take care and let us know how you get on. 

    - Lucy
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
    Mike
  • MikeMike Screen addict 🎮 LondonPosts: 2,921 Community Manager
    edited February 8
    Just to build on @Jordan's point about separating work/relax spaces...

    This is a super important thing. And it doesn't necessarily only mean spaces - it can help to separate even the things you wear or the accessories you have on. Having something physical that you can take off and leave in your study space can have quite a big mental impact. For example, I wear a watch at work and take it off when I leave. That's actually one of the big upsides to work uniforms - in the same way being in sports gear helps you get 'in the zone', the same can be said for relaxing or for other types of work.

    I also want to add that you're doing well @coc0mac. We try and make out like all this is normal - choosing a single life path as a young adult, living independently at the same time, studying for long hours, and all the other challenges that come with being a young person in the education system. But it's not - it's bonkers. I have a lot of respect for anyone in your position.

    Some great words of wisdom from @Lucy307 above too. :)
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 596 Incredible Poster
    Sorry for the delay in replying @Lucy307, I didn't realise you had commented :smile: 'Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend' is one of my favourite pieces of advice ever, I definitely need to remind myself of it more often! :heart: Thank you so much. 

    And that is a really great idea, thank you @Mike! I'm definitely going to give that a try. And thank you, your support really really means a lot :heart:

    In terms of updates, I have started doing all of my uni work in coffee shops and at the students union. I typically go there in the morning and in any breaks I have between lectures/going to work etc I will be there doing my uni work, so that when I go home I can get straight into cosy clothes and relax. I am findings this so so helpful. I have also started getting into reading again. I decided to follow Zoella's book club, so at the beginning of each month they let us know which book we are reading that month, everyone reads it and then we all share our reviews at the end of the month using their hashtag so we can all see what people thought. I am really enjoying it and it's definitely helping my mind to switch off a bit more so I'm grateful for that. I have also gone back to the uni counsellor and feel much happier about the support moving forward. I'm by no means 'better', but I'm moving in the right direction so I'm really pleased about that. 

    Thank you so much for your support everyone, it means a lot! :heart:
    Jade09
  • Jade09Jade09 EnglandPosts: 590 Moderator
    Hey there @coc0mac

    Thank you for the update on how things are going! 

    It all sounds really positive, and you've taken some awesome steps to try and help yourself and your university experience.  :)

    Keep us updated  <3
    coc0mac
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