Overwhelmed and need help

I feel completely and utterly hopeless right now. While I had a lovely Christmas morning, for the past three weeks I've been feeling constantly anxious and shaky and I'm just so ridiculously tired. I don't have a clue what to do about it anymore, or calm myself down. It feels like all the distractions and self-care ideas I had in place just aren't working anymore and I feel like I'm going mad.

I'm a uni student, and I've been stressed with things while at uni (miles and miles away from home) and now actually being at home, although to be honest it feels like any uni responsibilities are just 10% of all the things my brain is going crazy over. It feels like there's nowhere that feels safe anymore, and that no matter who I'm surrounded by - my flatmates or my family - I can't find myself a place to just calm down. It's like I'm feeling overwhelmed being at home, but also being outside. I nearly had a breakdown at a restaurant a few days ago because it was just felt so full of noise and my brain and senses felt like they were going to fry. I haven't been close to crying and having an anxiety attack in public for about 5 months now, and it feels impossible to recover properly.

I have work to do at uni in January, and at this point I feel like there is no way I'm going to be at a properly functioning level to actually get that work done. I don't know whether I should ask for an extension/extenuating circumstances, when (if you think about) all that's wrong with me is my brain being 'different' and not being chemically balanced (apparently). I don't know how I could explain to my tutors/department that I physically feel like I can't do anything.

I know this is just a long and rambling rant, and I'll look back on it and think wtf did I write - but I'd just like anybody to try and help me right now. I don't know what to do.

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15 Replies

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  • Hi hannah, Im a student too 20 years old, studying environmental engineering , ( Ist semester ) took a one year gap due to anxiety.

    The thing is anxiety and depression took me out of nowhere, Im feeling the same like you do, liek the brain cant procces all the sounds and light , everything is a constant pain. For the last 2 years due to exams, I work 6 hours a day for the past year, and other thing ( I have a racing mind, I cant sleep If I dont learn and everything is overwhelming me ), my ears feel full, my mind is racing, I know that Im healthy , and I have a chemical imbalance that isnt even my fault to. What is wrong? Why us?

    I know how you feel, stay there, try to function normally , and GOD bless you, Im here for you if you need further help :(

  • Sorry that you've had to go through this and are still dealing with the fallout from it, I really hope things do get better for you. Try and find some people/professionals that can help you out and help you understand the hows and whys surrounding it.

    I'm at the point (about 5 or so years down the line) that I'm just so tired from having tried to deal with depression (and overcoming the first big bout of it) and now dealing with a mix of depression AND anxiety. It's probably because I'm far from uni that I don't have the people I would normally open up to (even then barely scraping the surface of what I'm really feeling and thnking) and feeling like I'm all adrift.

    I hope things get better for you - and Merry Christmas x

  • I know it sucks, I am that kind of guy who never dit something bad to someone, never hit someone, so I dont know why life hit me like this .. I explain it to people but they do not seem to understand, only my family understands me. I need to work to support myself for university and family, It sucks, why do some people feel free, have a healthy brain and spent their entire day at home doing nothing, and we like this pushing ourselves to the limit :( Im 2 1/2 years like this it sucks :( Thanks , marry Christmas too :)!

  • Hi hannah,

    So sorry to hear what you are going through. There is help out there for you, go and see a doctor am I'm sure they can refer you so some support groups and perhaps counselling to help you deal with this problem. You can manage it given time and support, I find breathing techniques, exercise and Mindfulness in particular help relieve anxiety symptoms. Anxiety will make you tired so I would explain your situation to those at uni, they will support you. If course it's easier said than done, but push through it bit by bit at your own pace...and be kind to yourself throughout the process. More people suffer with anxiety than what you realise.

  • I unfortunately won't be able to see my GP for a good 3 weeks or so, because of living halfway across the country at the moment, and also the fact that the surgery will be very busy over the rest of the winter and it'll be difficult to get an appointment when I need it. My meds seem to be doing 'only so much' to help it along lately (and don't really help my nausea symptoms much either).

    I'm also just not quite sure what to say or do - because I know the university need 'evidence' to give extensions/special arrangements to students. And if it's practically impossible to get in touch with my doctor ahead of my university projects, I just don't know what I can do. Ill mental health is such an 'iffy' thing, because there's still stigma and wrong assumptions made about it and it feels like I have to 'convince' people that I'm doing worse and not coping (when to me it seems pretty damn obvious every single day lately)

    I think a lot of it has to do with being judged and losing friendships in the past over opening up about my mental health and diagnoses and not being taken seriously.

    Breathing techniques do help a fair bit, but they're not quite useful for anything other than calming down or preventing a panic attack. Focusing on my breathing has sometimes made me feel more anxious before.

    I've read up on and used a fair few different techniques to try and keep myself 'sane', but it always feels hit and miss, and quite honestly, everything I have tried over the last few weeks just hasn't worked at all even if I keep at it.

  • Hi Hannah,

    Have you had a look at mind.org.uk ?

    You could also try just walking In to any local doctors and explain the situation that u really do need to see someone. Be firm with your doctors about having and urgent appoinment, I have the same problem with mine. You have to insist. This time of year tends to make me more anxious, I have to battle with myself to get up and go for a long power walk and that anxiety reduces. Exercise is great for this... dark days don't help me so I bought a SADlamp.

    If you really have nowhere else to turn I walked in my local Christian Church, broke down and said I need help. They were so supportive, just a thought. These are real people with life experiences and more understanding.

    Stay strong.

  • I'm heading up north tomorrow to visit family, so I won't be able to do so right now. I hope that I can get a walk-in appointment somewhere when I leave on the 3rd or 4th, but at the moment I'm just trying to take each day as it comes. I've emailed the mental health staff at uni (and won't hear back til the 3rd) but at least that's something I've tried to get sorted.

    While I'm not religious, I do think that if I get any worse and can't find anyone else, visiting a church or chapel might actually help.

  • Hannah, I know how you feel as I too have been there. I can only tell you what I would do. I'm sure that if you really pushed it and maybe got family members to help you could get an emergency appoitment with a doctor with a view to changing your medication if you feel it's not giving the help you need. Any doctor anywhere is better than no doctor. Medication has a part to play in anxiety disorder, it can bring temporary relief during particularly difficult periods like now, but cannot cure anxiety disorder of course. Do recognise that all your strange feelings and symptoms are fraudulent, they are not organic in nature, they are blips in the nervous system that extends throughout your body caused by a long period of stress and worry.

    As they are not organic they cannot cause you permanent damage, they certainly cannot kill you, because they are fakes without real substance. Why be cowed by something that doesn't really exist, though I know the bad symptoms feel real enough. Instead of fighting the symptoms which causes more tension, more fear, why not stop fighting them instead? After all, fighting the symptoms has solved nothing so why not try the opposite? When you feel a bad feeling coming on just make every muscle in your body go limp and let the bad feeling come and go. By not fighting, not adding second fear to first fear, you will deny the bad feelings the very thing they thrive on. What I am saying is to temporarily accept the symptoms and by accepting you break the vicious circle of anxiety causing symptoms causing more symptoms causing more anxiety etc. In time the symptoms will recede as your bervous system becomes de-sensitised. In the meantime you have the satisfaction and reassurance of knowing that you are taking control.

    Now to the problem of returning to your university studies. We've all opted out of things like that (even holidays) in our time and if you really feel you can't make it tell your parents, tell the university and if they get difficult well that's just too bad. Your well being is more important than what some uni administrator thinks.

    But are you really sure you couldn't resume your studies, switch onto automatic pilot and float through the process despite your nervous feelings? You might surprise yourself you know. The choice is yours but either way you do have options as to whether to continue at uni or take a break. I am sure you are the kind of person who will make the right decision.

  • I can't see a doctor now, because I'll be visiting family up north and won't have time, but I'm going to try and get a walk-in appointment at the uni surgery as soon as I get back.

    It does feel to an extent that all these thoughts and feelings and reactions ARE a part of me - I was a quiet and easily worried child, and grew up being empathetic and sensitive. Either I've always had something 'odd' about my brain and it's only hit me like a truck properly over the last 5 years, or part of it is who I am and my personality, and another part of it (the chemical imbalance or whatever) is exacerbating what I would already have felt and thought to some extent anyway.

    I've now let the mental health staff at my uni know (but won't hear back til the 3rd) and just hope that they will understand and provide some sort of help as soon as they can.

    I've tried going on 'autopilot', and it led to me having shivering breakdowns at 3am and being taken to the doctor by my flatmate. Autopilot before that in the past has made me either completely emotionally 'dead', or isolated, antisocial and aggressive.

    I'm just so done with everything, and I feel like the only thing I can do is TRY to get it sorted, and get help, rather than pretend that I can coast through like I feel I've been doing for far too long. It hasn't worked well before, and I don't want to screw up again now.

    Sorry if this sounds so defeatist and probably stubborn, I do appreciate all your advice, and I have been trying to take baby steps to getting better. It's just difficult to know which advice and support will help me when it feels like I've tried every option under the sun sometimes.

    Thank you by the way.

  • Really am feeling for you at the moment, am having a difficult spell myself at the moment. You are right there are lots of really good advice, and you will find what works for you. Just make sure you see a decent doctor, I have just changed and wish I had done it years ago. So many things the docs didn't tell me, especially with meds.. Learning and understanding about the condition is important. The good news is that you are not alone and is does get better...

    You don't need to be religious to go into church, the people don't judge you and will offer valuable support, I'm still learning about the whole church thing, learning and making up my own mind about it all...plus singing is strangely uplifting, I didn't expect that...! (I'm not very good btw!)

  • Had a really rough last two weeks. But I've got a meeting today with a mental health advisor who will hopefully help, although I'm a bit terrified of just how much I should probably tell him about how bad I've gotten. I went to my uni doctor as soon as I got back and have had my meds changed. It doesn't feel like they're working yet, and I think it might be contributing to why I'm feeling worse before I'll get better. I do wonder why I was put on different meds though, because isn't it dangerous to change meds for someone who's got suicidal ideation?

    I did go visit family earlier, although I was still a nervous wreck but I managed to hide it.

    Had a really bad panic attack while I was travelling back to uni. One of the worst, because I rarely have proper panic attacks out right there in public. Usually I find a place to go to or hide.

    Things might get better after my meeting today. I hope so. It kind of feels like the last hopeful thing right now.

  • Hi Hannah, am glad your replied, I was only thinking the other day about how you are getting on... I have an idea of how you must be feeling, I've had a rough 2 weeks too, as the doc says depression and anxiety is treatable and it does get better. The going through i describe like a living hell...

    I don't know you exact situation but the meds when changing can temporarily increase anxiety, but they usually work better between 2-4 weeks after, I have tried a few of them and if you want to share what they have given you I may be able to offer some insight..

    Why hide how you are feeling from your family? Are they not supportive? I've been referred to a steps to welbeing programme, which I'm sure they will offer something similar where you are...

  • I forgot to say suicidal thoughts are a fairly normal occurrence for a lot of people with anxiety. I tell my doctor all the time when I have a bad spell exactly what Im thinking, got to the stage I didn't care. I try to distract myself from these thoughts and replace them with more positive ones, thinking of good times. Get some counselling and CBT training, this will help you massively. But if you really are at the stage where you think you may do something, please tell someone. You have a worth in this world, we are all important. Chin up x

  • It did get to that point. I initially went into that mental health meeting yesterday purely just to do some admin/going through the processes of getting things sorted for the sake of uni - but as soon as I got to the meeting I told him everything.

    I was sent on to the GP and then the hospital, and I'm now in the process of thinking of getting an interruption of study so that I can receive rest and help until I get better. This might end up meaning stopping uni for the year and not going back till next January to do my spring modules, but I think it might be for the best.

    I never thought this would get this bad, but then you never really do know for sure until you actually do reach rock bottom don't you?

    I'm nervous about it, but I have a while to think about it. I've talked to plenty of professionals over the past two days and I think I'm just a little overwhelmed with information and options I could take.

    Who knows. I think I just need to sit and think about it.

    Even if I graduate in a year, it might be best. I'd have about 4 months of lectures and seminars and then essays and then that would effectively be it.

    It seems like nothing in terms of time/work really, but I know from the meds and from hitting rock bottom that it would be incredibly tough to try and get through the Spring in the state I am in now.

    I do need the help. I just hope everything works out eventually. A good night's sleep might clear my head and make me consider the best options.

  • I'm glad you are starting to get the help you need, it will get better. Takes guts to ask for help so well done.

    Your health is the most important thing in life along with being happy. Do what you want to do and don't let others pressure you, like you say take a bit of time to get into a better head space before making big decisions, uni will always be there, doesn't matter if you finish it now or at a later date or ever!

    I left school at 16, no 6th form or uni, but still managed somehow to end up running my own business.. I think for me understanding what goes on with my thoughts, feelings and anxieties has been a big help, small steps though and just take one day at a time atm. Exercise has also been a massive help when i feel really anxious, i drag myself out of bed for long walks and start feeling better the longer the day goes on. Stay strong.

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