Freshers week. The time renowned for getting drunk and partying. And I’m sure to most people 50p drinks and and a new club everynight sounds amazing, and if that’s the sort of thing you are into then you should absolutely do it. But the thing is, I’m not one of those people. I barley drink alcohol and I don’t enjoy clubbing.
The reason I don’t do those things is because I have anxiety, no I don’t just feel stressed, I have anxiety, and actual diagnosed mental health condition. For me personally, and everyone is different, my anxiety gets really bad and I can have panic attacks when doing things like dancing, singing, being in a crowded area, not feeling in control, feeling like I can’t breathe, public speaking and feeling isolated. But it’s not solely limited to that, I may feel particularly bad in those situations, but I can also start to extremely anxious for no apparent reason. Just the other day I almost had a panic attack simply walking back from uni and I have no idea why.
I’m quite fortunate in the sense that my anxiety isn’t very sever compared with what it could be, and I can still do most of the things I need to do. But it does still have a big impact on my life and that frustrates me quite a lot. As an example we’ll take freshers week, which as I mentioned before is famous for its parties, and as I also mentioned a lot of the things that I know are triggers are involved in partying/clubbing. Before uni the fact that I felt anxious in these situations didn’t bother me to much, I would just avoid the situations. But then I got to uni and my flatmates wanted to go out partying, and I didn’t want to be left out so I went.
The first time I went I felt fine, not fine in the sense that I actually enjoyed it, but fine in the sense that I didn’t feel overly anxious, but did still feel very uncomfortable . But the next time we went to pre drinks at another flat and it was fun at first, but then they started to play drinking games and I thought if I didn’t drink I’d be left out, so I drank. And it was still fine up until the point where people started dancing and all of a sudden it was like I had hit a brick wall and I was just swarmed with anxiety, so I left.
I then proceeded to spend a good hour that night, and a few hours the next morning sitting on my floor just crying. I was just so upset with myself, I hated the fact that I couldn’t join in and have fun with my flat mates, because even though the idea of dancing and singing makes me feel anxious, part of me also just wants to join in. I then proceeded to get even more upset because I thought I was being pathetic for getting so upset over something I viewed as superficial. So yes, that was a fun evening…
The rest of the next day I was still really upset and one of my flat mates noticed and asked me if I was ok and if I wanted to talk. The thing is, for me I find it really hard to open myself up and talk about the way I feel, so I pretty much just avoided the topic for most of the day. But then something changed, I don’t know why, but I decided that if I didn’t talk to him now, then I wouldn’t at all, and that would just make me feel even worse.
So we had a little heart to heart, well really it was just me sitting their cry talking to him, and then me just keeping on apologising because I had only known him a week. But he didn’t seem to mind and I am so thankful that I did manage to talk to him because now I feel so much better about the whole situation. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a cure for my anxiety or anything, but I defiantly feel reassured knowing there is someone here who I feel able to talk to about the way I feel, which can only be a positive thing.
I would just like to say that no, my freshers week was not terrible. I still had a lot of fun just talking with my flat mates and exploring the city, it just wasn’t what people imagine when they thing of freshers. And thats ok. Because my anxiety does affect me and is part of my journey as a person, and everyone’s journey in life is so different, we just have to embrace people as they come and try our best with the situations we are given.
Disclaimer: This is my own unique experience with my anxiety, everyones anxiety and their triggers will be different sots bear this in mind if you yourself,or anyone you know has anxiety or any other mental health condition.