Hello, I'm hoping that sharing some things on here will help me to feel a bit better. In the last few weeks I've been experiencing some really intense and frightening anxiety symptoms, which in turn has made me feel very depressed. There's so much to say I don't really know where to start.

I've been taking medication for depression for the last five years but have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. When I was in school I had very bad anxiety which often prevented me from leaving the house, I was terrified of all social situations and found it very difficult to talk to people. To cut a long story short, I very slowly started to overcome my problems with anxiety after leaving school. When I went away to uni I made friends with a group of girls and moved into a house with them. This was a massively BIG DEAL for me to have asserted myself enough to be included into a group of friends and I felt as if I'd come so far since my school days.

I've just finished my last year at uni during which everything seems to have gone wrong. My boyfriend moved into the house this year and the dynamics totally changed. The other girls started leaving me out of everything, arguing with me and being really nasty. It completely broke my heart to find out how little they actually cared about being friends with me. I spent most of the time either trying to stay out of their way to avoid confrontations or desperately trying to please them. I was always overhearing them bitching about me. I started to have panic attacks and felt constantly on edge. I absolutely dreaded going back to the house after uni because just being there made me so anxious. My boyfriend didn't really settle in very well because of the girls and because his new job doing night shifts was so demanding. He got stressed out and angry very easily and I found myself doing everything I could to avoid this happening because it upset me so much. This usually took the form of cleaning the house obsessively every day to keep him happy. I slowly lost all of my confidence and became more and more depressed.

On top of all of this I was in my final year of uni and found it really hard to cope with the work. The first lecture of the year was about how important the final year and dissertation are. I started having a panic attack in the lecture and had to leave and I've felt really stressed out for the whole year. Even now I've finally finished everything I'm wondering if it was worth it and whether I would have been better off dropping out because of the effect the whole experience has had on me.

I finished about three weeks ago now and I've felt awful ever since. I've had lots of panic attacks, I constantly feel really out of it and detached, I'm having really vivid dreams and often can't remember if I've dreamed something happening or not. I often feel freezing cold and can't stop shivering. My mind seems to be always racing and I'm convincing myself that I'm going crazy. I feel exhausted all the time but I'm sleeping a lot more than I should. I keep feeling faint and dizzy and have a constant ringing in my ears. The thing that's upsetting me the most though is vision problems. I've been to the doctor about it before and she said its just anxiety. I have been having these problems for months and months and it is constant everyday. I can't deal with bright lights and constantly have the effect of looking at a bright light and then seeing it everywhere, except that it happens with everything I look at. It really scares me. I can't concentrate on anything. Its especially bad with computer screens. Right now I have the brightness on my laptop turned all the way down and it still looks really weird. I've also become obsessed with measuring my pulse and now just do it instinctively I'd say at least every 15 mins. I'm also experiencing the worst depression I think I've ever had, at times I feel completely suicidal, often when I wake up and it seems impossible to find the strength to face another day of trying to tell myself I'm not losing my mind. I can't picture the future as being anything other than bleak. I should be happy that I've managed to finish uni and I'm now moving into a new house with my boyfriend but I don't feel any sense of achievement and I can't remember the last time I felt genuinely happy about anything.

I should also mention that for the past month I've stopped smoking cigarettes and weed. I didn't really want to give up either but both were giving me panic attacks. When I was working on my final essays for uni I was smoking a lot of cigs because I was stressed out and I think the fact that was was able to go from that to smoking nothing over night shows how frightening the panic attacks were for me rather than any will power. As I said I didn't particularly want to give up. I've avoided talking about the weed until now because to be honest I'm scared that I've done permanent damage with it. That probably sounds silly. I smoked it everyday for several years and until this year it was never anything but fun and enjoyable for me. The best times of my life have been when I've been smoking with my friends. I didn't want to give it up but felt I had to after a massive panic attack that lasted for over an hour. I think if I tried to smoke it now I'd be too on edge and would make myself panic. I'm worried that the weed has caused my vision problems which show no sign of going, and the foggy head I seem to always have. Its actually five weeks today since I smoked. I think about how I might have messed myself up constantly.

The other thing that plays on my mind all the time is my anti depressants. I've been on mirtazapine for about a year now. I want to come off of it because I feel lower than I ever have before but I'm terrified about stopping it. I'm on a high dose (45mg) and I'm scared that I won't be able to cope with the withdrawal and will end up hopelessly suicidal. I already have a constant sadness as if someone has died. I just worry a lot about what the meds are doing to me and I want to know how it feels to not be on anything. Maybe I'll feel normal. Last year I came off of sertraline and it was a horrible experience. I had 'brain zaps' and just felt really weird for months. Now that my anxiety is so much more intense I don't know if I'd be able to cope with changes like that. Maybe the mirtazapine has contributed to my anxiety... I don't know. Whenever I go the doctors they never seem to take these things seriously. They will either up my dose or say 'try this one' like they're offering different flavor sweets and don't seem to realise how powerful the effects can be.

So if you've read this far thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I didn't intend to write this much. I feel pretty hopeless at the moment and would appreciate knowing I'm not alone.

4 Replies

  • Hello

    I've just finished my final year of university too, my anxiety returned real strong in the last few months...I think I finished o.k, lucky I already banked the credits to get the degree I wanted in the second year...I also had a sucky experience with other students in this time, I did all the work I was meant to but never made it to group meetings, come presentation they had written me out completely - and did not tell me...that experience really helped m yconfidence, NOT...Some of the symptoms you mention sound like withdrawal symptoms, I gave up caffine recently and I've been so tired, angry and constipated it is stoping me from getting the anxiety under control...as for ramblings, it's good to get it all down on paper (so to speak..) I think I might do the same soon

    Good Luck :)

  • Hi Lady,

    Well done for finishing your degree, that is certainly something to be proud of, and especially with the hassle you've had during your uni experience.

    Drugs known to not help anxiety are definately the smoking, caffiene, any recreational drugs, alchohol especially.

    Then there's food, its imporant to try and have a low salt, sugar, and fat diet, with lots of fresh fruit and veg, be aware of anything that upsets and bloats your tummy.

    The one thing I was concerned enough to write here was the weed. It is highly linked to mental illness, and very carcenogenic too.

    If there was one thing I would stop right now is that. I'm sure you were told how natural it is, and how it is good for you as I was. Usually by the someone that wants you to be a part of some group and make them think its ok too, due to their weaknesses. Whoever got you into weed is no friend, get away from them asap.

    However the reality is it can cause all sorts of mental stuff, and therefore I would before giving up the anti depressant, try to go to an environment free of drugs, where you can calm down away from those girls, and find out whats really going on for you.

    I would keep on at the doctors, get some therapy put in place so you can talk this all through, including the weed etc. and get some normality back into your life.

    Mindfullness can help with depression, so I'm told, I did meditation, lots of loving kindness mixed in too, off my own back and it does help a lot.

    For anxiety, CBT and for me I found talking it all through helps, as I had past issues that had probably allowed me to make the unskillfull choices in my early life.

    When you feel your back in a stable place, then think if you need the anti depressants or not.

    The wonderful thing with our mind, is it can heal, but it will need some commitment from you to move on from this.

    I do wish you well, just chalk this one down to experience, and above all smile.



  • Hi there,

    i myself used to smoke a lot of weed in the past. At the time it completely chills you out and things seem all happy and nice. i did give it up as it was for the best. it does make you paranoid and edgy. Anyway i suffer with major depression and anxiety. I from time to time think maybe the weed made me like this but cant be sure, who knows. I would keep off the weed, it wont take long to get out of your system and withdrawals are not too bad. Also myself was on antidepressants for 12 years, terrible side effects. weaned myself off them very slowly, it wasn't easy dam hard felt like i was going crazy.

    I don't know you obviously but personally my own experience best advise is try to get off anti depressants. tough i know. But eventually with depression just ride it out as things get better when that dark cloud has lifted. if you can get through it without medication and pure will power you will come off better believe me. I've done it.

    Hope this is of some help to you. Peace out.

  • Hi, We'll done for finishing UNi, First of all I think you should change your doctor, second ask your doctor if there are any therapy groups in your area that you can go and meet other people going through the same as you. There are many out there living with anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis, but we don't always want others to know what we are going through for fear of what they will think, as if we're not paranoid enough already, so it's a very secret problem. But if you can manage to find a group near you it will make all the difference.

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