I think I will spend the rest of my life trying to understand whether or not I did the right thing “…That one time…” As a result, I spend most of my time freaking out about whether or not I came through for someone or for myself and if I’m going to be okay for the future. Though my anxiety is a roller coaster and I experience it in waves, I am very aware of the things that make my anxiety better or worse. For those of you who struggle with mental illness in college: here are some tips for dealing with the panic at school.
- Go for a run
I run and/or work out every. single. day. Okay maybe that’s not true. But I try not to go to bed without having sweat my anxiety out in some version somehow that day. Because I run everyday, I have learned that so much of my mental stability is dependent on my endorphins and how they interact in my brain. Usually I feel anxious until I run. Suddenly things become clearer and I am better able to deal with my crap. Try it. It works.
2. Take time to be alone
I think people are afraid of being alone with themselves. I know that for me, I became so panicked when I was alone. Overcoming the fear of being lost in myself was HUGE for me. It is important that you can identify when your body and mind have had enough and need to rest from the anxieties of life. Though it is hard, and like me, you may have some panic attacks, I think conquering our fear of being alone will eventually be a strength for us.
3. Get involved in something you love
For me it was theater and writing. For you it may be swimming and crochet. For someone else it could be painting and watching old movies. Whatever it is, find people who love it too, who inspire you, who are motivating, and work with them. Join a book club. Work out with someone. Set goals for yourself and move towards them with other people. If you don’t wake up for any other reason than to do something you love: that’s okay. Allow that to be enough for a while.
4. Talk to a counselor
A lot of schools offer programs for mental health. Whether it is a CBT group, accountability clubs or free counseling, its important that you understand you are not alone. As much fun as it is, college can be the primary place where you feel alone. Don’t let it be that way. Meet people who actually understand you and what you’re going through. Talk to someone who knows.
5. Laugh about it
The primary way I dealt with my anxiety and constant panic attacks was by laughing about it. I laughed about the silly things I did when I was scared of something small. I told my roommates the funny stories about how hard my day was for no reason. I know anxiety doesn’t sound like a laughing matter. But sometimes things are just so hard that you have to give in and find the hilarity of the situation. My counselors always found it funny that I would come into their office with goofy stories and laughing. Laughter really is good for our souls. Let it sweep over yours.
I hope this helps! Feel free to talk to me about any questions you have about dealing with anxiety, especially at school. I don’t know a lot…but sometimes all we need is a listening ear 😉