In my last post I mentioned that at the beginning of the uni year I began to get major panic attacks to the point they were waking me up in the middle of the night. If any of you have suffered from panic attacks before or had one you will know, they are not pleasant. They make you feel scared, almost as though you feel like you are dying, as dramatic as it sounds and really makes you feel so on edge.
I was getting them more and more and decided it was enough. I couldn’t do normal things such as go to bed to sleep properly in the fear that I was going to wake up in a panicked state, enough was enough. I love sleep, although I cannot remember the last time I slept the whole night through without waking at the very least three times. If anyone has got any tips they use to when they need to sleep but cant sleep I will 100% appreciate them!
I hadn’t told my family about this and still only told my dad literally two weeks ago. I go to uni over 100 miles away from home and theres nothing worse than the feeling that your parent(s) are worried about you. I told close friends and thats it. I didn’t even tell the people I am living with, so if you’re one of them then I’m sorry. I kind of like to keep this stuff to myself but its about time I helped another person out who may also need it and are afraid of whats happening to them. I’ve been so open about things on my blog recently and honest so, nothing is going to change there.
I went into my universities student hub. I knew where it was and I knew they were there to help but never actually went. Now was the time. After all, I pay fees to go uni, I may as well use their services. I emailed them first, I didn’t feel confident enough to go in face to face and talk about whats going on, things are just so much easier through email, for me anyway. The replied pretty quickly with an email back basically saying I would benefit going to their counselling sessions.
This was a pretty scary thought to begin with. Counselling? Am I worth it? Are my problems worth their time just sitting listening to them? Would the counsellor think I’m being silly? You know, all the questions that fly round your head. I however replied with I would like to try them out. I was put on a waiting list and within a few weeks my first appointment rolled around.
At first we had a twenty minute appointment where we literally sat and spoke if it was going to be beneficial to have these appointments. It was the typical environment, a little room, chair opposite each other and not much else. She talked me through how she would be there to help me find strategies to help with these panic attacks and to get right down to what was causing them. To me this sounded perfect and she put me on a course of eight sessions – if I needed more they would be available. They were an hour session fitted around my already existing university commitments and once a week. I was lucky to have mine on a day off so I didn’t need to worry about lessons.
When I went to my first session I expected it to be awkward. I never knew the woman and to just open up about life problems and all that was quite difficult. I don’t have a major issue with trust but somethings I’m like – errrrm. You know many things I have just kept to myself and not really spoke them out loud. I’m quite a closed book unless you know me. I’m working on it everyday which is why I’m writing more about this on my little space on the internet. Not everything, but enough to help people out if they need someone to know they’re going through a similar thing.
I didn’t open up as much as I could of done on my first appointment, I briskly went over what I thought was giving me these panic attacks and major anxiety, and getting me down. We figured it was more likely balancing uni work and work together along with life. I was working as much as I could through a very busy uni semester with work thrown here there and everywhere. I had to take a step back and think, why was I down in Southampton and not back at home, and that was for my degree. I have to work to pay bills, rent etc just like everyone else, but overall university, my degree was the number one reason I am at uni.
I began to make plans/schedules. Scheduling time out for me time. Time I can go and enjoy myself and not think about university or work. Just time to chill out, watch my favourite TV show and not feel guilty. That was another thing on the list, feeling guilty if I was doing something that wasn’t university work. I would feel like whilst I was sat binge watching Netflix episodes I could be doing this, this and this for my degree. Together, with the counsellor we decided a few hours a day I could have me time. It felt a lot better writing it in a diary than just doing it spontaneously.
I managed to do this in the week that I wasn’t seeing her. I then went back and said how I thought the schedule really seemed to help. Although, I didn’t stick to it everyday it was still there as a basis. I was honest and told her. I wasn’t going to keep things back and was 100% honest the whole time. We talked through the schedule and how it was working which was fab. There was something though that wasn’t making me feel – right. I still felt pretty down most of the time and whilst I was there I wanted to address that too, find some sort of strategy. I knew I’d find it difficult because I always find it hard to speak out unless I know that person.
I just wanted to get things fixed as much as possible. The counsellor asked questions and more questions and as much as I wanted to answer them I just couldn’t. I stuck to the schedule however for this week and I was getting better at it the more it went on. I was feeling a little more better about balancing everything.
Overall, university counselling was so beneficial. The fact they fit around your already existing timetable is so good, and that (mine) was based in university. So convenient. I’m grateful for my counsellor for helping me out the most when I needed it. I just wish I had opened up more, maybe sometime soon.
I hope this post gives you some confidence, if you’re struggling with anything to go out and get help. You are not alone. You may feel it in the dead of the night when you’re awake trying to forget these thoughts, but you’re not. There are people that can help you, willing to help you. You don’t have to go it alone.