“I wish I could got out to dinner tonight but I just have a lot of work”, I lied in a text to a friend and snuggled up even tighter in my blankets. The truth was, I didn’t have much work at all. In fact, I had finished it earlier that day. But, the thought of showering, blow drying my hair, putting on makeup and then going and socializing for hours seemed like the worst thing ever. In fact, in that moment, I couldn’t think of anything worse and just the thought of leaving my bed made me nauseous, a tight ball of anxiety wound up inside my chest.
This was my freshman year of college, where even small, fun tasks that I once enjoyed caused me immense nervousness and overwhelming anxiety. However, through therapy, medication, hard work & support from friends, family and my boyfriend, I have managed my anxiety and even enjoyed college. In this post, I want to share with you how exactly I navigate college with an anxiety disorder and show you that you too can enjoy your life despite anxiety.
The most important step when dealing with anxiety is surrounding yourself with people who understand. I hesitated for the longest time in even telling people about my anxiety disorder. I was so worried that they would look at me differently or think there was something weird about it all. However, I did tell some people, including my roommate/bestfriend and my boyfriend. I honestly wish I had told more people at the beginning because I know that I would have been greeted with a lot of love.
If you are concerned about telling your roommate, let me tell you that it was the best thing I could have done. She stuck by my side and helped calm me down when I was feeling overwhelmed. Living with someone with anxiety can be difficult sometimes but I was lucky in that she showed me nothing but support.
If you are surrounded by people who think your anxiety is made up or something you should just “get over”, it is going to make your healing process much more difficult. Try and find those people in your life that will help lift you up and support you. If you don’t feel like you have any of those people, reach out to different resources on your college campus.
I highly recommend contacting your health services to find out if counseling is available. You are not the only college student who has anxiety and many schools have resources for this exact reason.
Navigating Your Academics
Assignments and exams can be a large aggravator of anxiety for some college students. If you are struggling in a course because of your anxiety, reach out to your professors or student dean. Your professors don’t know what is going on in your personal life unless you advocate for yourself.
It is also incredibly important to practice self care. Make sure you are taking time to exercise, do things you love and relax. These are the things that are going to help control your anxiety and manage your stress levels.
Succeeding in the Social Scene
A large part of college is the social scene. However, many people who have anxiety struggle very much with social interactions. It is not that they don’t want to be social but rather, the idea of large crowds or loud parties can be overwhelming. If you feel like you are too anxious to go a party, then don’t go! You can have plenty of fun doing other social things in college.
However, if you really do want to go to a party or a social scene that gives you anxiety, it is important to go with people who will leave with you if you need to leave. The most important thing is to not put yourself in situations that make you feel overly uncomfortable. Of course, for people with anxiety, almost everything can be uncomfortable. That is why it is important to listen to yourself, allow yourself to experience what you know you want to experience but be gentle with yourself if that college party is not working out.
Ultimately, remember that you are not alone. If you have any questions, concerns or just simply need someone to talk to, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. On my blog, I have shared my anxiety story and there I have listed a number of different resources for people who have anxiety.