How to Survive: Anxiety in College

I wanted to write a post about how having anxiety and depression in college has affected me! For those of you who want to know more (hi new readers! Thanks for stopping by) head over to my mental health page here where you can hear the rundown of my full journey up to now!

Ok, now that you are caught up lets get into what having a mental disorder shall we call it affects my college life. To start off with I want to make this point: some days it affects it tremendously and others not at all, but that is a result of the tumultuous nature of both of these disorders not just my college framework I am working in!

In college there are a few things that really get affected: class, social life (drinking is involved here) and finally overall outlook on life. Lets break those down shall we?

  1. Class (or school in general)

    College is a very stressful time because you are being challenged academically through four years of rigorous learning. At the University I attend it is fast paced with many different course taken throughout the year (more than most universities). My anxiety really comes into play here in a few ways: 1) starting a new class freaks me out. I get worked up about who will be in it, how will the professor act and will there be required attendance??? (because if yes HELP). I combat this with deep breaths and ripping the bandaid of the first day off because it gets betters. Finally 2) assignments. If I am having a particularly hard day it is nearly impossible to study or do homework. I suggest reaching out to your University to see what accommodations you can request to help support you. This has given me room to be anxious or depressed without letting my grades slip!

  2. Social life

    Helloooo anxiety. I don’t have much social anxiety, but when I am panicking, anxious or depressed the last thing I want to do is be around a bunch of people I don’t know at a bar or house party. This really took a toll on my social life but I figured out a HUGE secret this past year: bars and drinking are not the only way to be social! You can get coffee, have a study date, go out to meals etc etc. You don’t have to put yourself in situations you aren’t comfortable with because “thats what you do in college”, but I do encourage you to try new things on good days because you never know you may actually have fun at that random guy’s pregame!

  3. Outlook on life

    The closer I get to the end of my college time the more this comes into play. My least favorite question is “oh what are you doing after graduation” or the classic “what are you going to use that degree for”. Without anxiety and depression these can feel heavy enough, but when you don’t know when you are even going to take you're next breath they are impossible to think about! Here is my solution: find something to get excited about. Who cares if you don’t know what you are going to be doing a year from now or for life. Answer those questions with a simple “still in the works!” and bring you're mind to the next best thing on you're plate. This could be a concert coming up, a date, a fun activity anything to take the weight of the future off your shoulders because trust me you don’t need to carry that around!

I hope this helped you guys reading this! These tips don’t apply to just college, but considering the demographic of my readers it felt appropriate. I am sending you good vibes and positive thoughts today - YOU GOT THIS!



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Who is Emma?

Well, let's just start with a bang on that title, shall we? Since getting back on my feet both mentally and literally physically this has been weighing heavily on me. For the first time in a long time, there is nothing really dictating my life. Sure there is school, work, and loved ones but for the first time it is almost like the chains of my mind and body were unlocked and I get to make choices.

I know that can sound a little bit crazy but 12 months after spending a horrible 72 hours in a place that I only hope to forget I can say one thing for sure... this is definitely my time to shine.

So who am I? Well, some days I am still sad, mad, angry or anxious. Other days I am loving, caring and want to be around people. I am a blogger by trade, a student during the day and currently an intern who really likes her job.

I am a hard worker and someone who doesn't like to say no or give up very easily. I am a learner as I discover what my limits are with this new body and mind. I am empty, but in a way, I only wish I could describe better. I am a blank canvas and I have this huge space to do what I want to do for once and it great. It is so great. But it is also overwhelming and a lot to take in.

So Emma is brave, Emma is resilient and Emma is still a work in progress. Aren't we all though?

I am so proud of this Emma.


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The D Word

Well hello, there old friends and my lovely column. Welcome back to where I update you on my mental health (mostly when I am in a hole or finally crawled my way out). This time is a little bit different. Per usual I want to tell my story in the hope of inspiring someone out there to know it is ok to feel what you are feeling and maybe even tell someone you love. But I am somewhere in the hole and somewhere almost out of it. So here we go...

The D-Word....

The word that has been thrown around every time I have to fill out a health evaluation form whether it be for my back, my anxiety, or a plain old check up. There is always that one box or the one word you have to circle because they need to know "have you experienced any of the following recently, the past year etc"

including depression.

A few months ago I never had to check that box because... well... I had anxiety and it sucked but I never was clinically depressed - until the pain came back and man did my pain come back. It had a deep vengeance. It needed to run through me and I was not ok with that. So what did I do? I found myself in a place where there were floods of tears, thoughts of hopelessness and so so soooo much fear, but this time it was different.

This time Jon couldn't hug me out of it or my therapy session didn't end with my head lifted a little higher. This time I found myself crying to doctor after doctor begging for someone to help me to fix me because I was broken. I was depressed.

Now I want to be clear. Just because you have signs of depression or are diagnosed as depressed DOES NOT mean you are broken. Broken is how I felt but - to you reading this right now I promise you there is nothing that can be so broken about you or your life that cannot heal. As I type those words there is a part of me that doesn't believe that, but there is a bigger part that has to.

This is not a victory story or a how to get over depression manual. This is just a story about a girl who has been writing about mental health for a while now and has a new box to check. A new challenge to take one and one more story to tell her kids about how she was resilient as fuck (sorry dad).

I believe in the power of time, the love of others and the strength in ourselves. There are days when I cannot even bring myself to shower and there are days where I feel like turning the music up louder because the sun is out. No matter what though there are just days and there is another coming for me tomorrow. Thank you for following my journey and always reach out to me if you want to talk. LOTS of love tonight,

Emma.


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I Still Struggle

I have been tying to put into words for so long how to explain what I mean when I say that I still struggle. I don't want to keep complaining but I also don't want to stop sharing my story. In my life there has been an expectation set for me and then upheld by myself that if you are good one day you should be good there next day. This creates a rigid structure set up to make me feel like a failure because some days I just struggle.

This past weekend I had a horrible time. Everything I did gave me no relief from living in my anxiety and trauma brain. With this comes physical symptoms and lately they have manifested as seriously uncomfortable chest pain. I don't know if you have ever had chest pain but I don't recommend it. It is scary and very uncomfortable. It is almost like my anxiety said hey - F you we are going to scare you real bad today so you pay attention to us.

My anxiety is needy little monster. It wants to run my life and is used to doing so as I gave it all my power the past year. By this I don't mean that I ever just let it tear me down. NO no noooo. I fought my ass off to tell it to be quite and go away but it is kind of like being an internet hater. The more you pay attention to something even if you hate it - is just giving it attention. To my anxiety no press is bad press.

So what has life been like for me lately? Lots and lots of progress but lots of two steps forward and one step back. I currently go to therapy twice a week (I know that is crazy but man am I grateful for my therapist and the work we are doing). I do one day of EMDR to work on trauma. On the other day I do neuro feedback to train my brain what it feels like to be normal.

I am putting in the work. And I am seeing the results - sometimes. Ultimately, I still struggle. My life is not a walk in the park and some days I wish I could close my eyes the second I open them but I have this new thing called hope and I missed it for a really long time.



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