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Name: Courtney Winchester
Age: 21
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Dropping out of college (again) - January 13th 2017, 02:54 AM

So I have always suffered with depression and anxiety, which caused me to leave school way too early but it was fine and I got slightly better, forward a few years to when I tried to go to college, but I couldn't, I had a complete breakdown because I was too scared, so again I just left, this time around I didn't really get any better I got worse if anything but My sister persuaded me to go to college just for night class for GCSE science, i didn't panic at first that much and eventually it was ok, I still freaked out a lot and had panic attacks, but I could handle it but recently I've gotten so stressed because of it and I'm not sleeping or eating and crying all the time because of it, i really don't think i can handle it anymore, not to sound like I feel sorry for myself or anything, but I have enough going on in my life, I think the idea was a good one, but I don't think I was ready or 'well' enough and now I don't know what to do.
   
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Re: Dropping out of college (again) - January 13th 2017, 11:01 AM

Hey there,

Depression and anxiety are difficult to deal with, especially when it gets in the way of your life and schooling. It's good that you went back to night classes in college though, even if it didn't work out for you. At least you tried. I'm wondering though, have you ever had treatment for your anxiety and depression? If you are still at college, you could talk to your college counsellor. If not, you can talk to your doctor for a referral for counselling. It's something you might want to look into, if you haven't already, because counselling can help you to manage your feelings and find ways of preventing or dealing with panic attacks so that they don't get in the way of your life.

It's okay to have a break from education, if you don't feel well enough right now. You can always come back to it later on. One of the hardest things with anxiety is that it is a cycle- the more you avoid something, the harder it seems to get in the future. But being able to break out of the cycle when you feel a bit better will really help, I'm sure.

I'm sorry to hear that you can't sleep or eat because of the anxiety. Is there something in particular that's bothering you, or just general anxiety? What might help is to do some deep breathing exercises (loads of tutorials around the internet). This may help to relax your muscles, so that you wont be so tense that you don't feel like eating. It's also good to talk to others about what you are going through rather than keeping feelings bottled up to yourself. Don't be ashamed of crying either because it's a healthy expression of emotion.

I'm wondering if your college might be able to help you in some way? Perhaps if the work bothers you, you can ask for extensions? Or if you find going into college difficult, perhaps you can have the work sent to you at home? You may also be able to look into distance learning, as places like the Open University, offer courses that can be taken online from the comfort of your own home.

Hope this helps a bit!


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Re: Dropping out of college (again) - January 16th 2017, 12:58 AM

Hi Courtney,

Thank you for reaching out to us, I hope we can be of help.

I can actually empathise with your situation because I myself struggled with formal education when I was your age, also due to anxiety and depression.

I think the best thing you can do is continue to be honest with yourself. It's no good continuing with this course just to please your sister if you don't feel that you can cope with it. You have to do what is right for you, not anyone else.

I was wondering though, have you spoken to anyone at college about how you are feeling? If the college knows that you are struggling, they can help, and you might find that this would enable you to manage things better and therefore avoid dropping out.

As Holly mentioned, college counsellors are a great source of help and I would encourage you to seek them out. They can help you to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with your anxiety and depression, plus there are other benefits such as not feeling alone with your issues and having a safe space at college.

Sleeping and eating are two of our basic human functions and it is therefore worrying that you are having difficulties with these because of the effect it will have on your health. My advice for sleeping is to practice deep breathing whilst listening to calming music/sounds. Here are a couple of examples from YouTube that I have found relaxing:

Link 1
Link 2

(The accompanying videos are of calming images, but I wouldn't advise watching them because the blue light emitted from your phone screen is known to make it more difficult to fall asleep. If you are able to, I would suggest downloading the music from one of the links listed in the video description.)

If sleep does not happen, don't panic. Even just resting your body and calming your mind is very beneficial.

When it comes to eating, try not to stress out about food. Eat as and when you are hungry, in small amounts. Don't get too worried about eating at set meal times; it will only add to your anxiety. Sometimes if eating seems too much for me, I'll make a smoothie instead. Perhaps you could try this.

I get the feeling that you are very overwhelmed with life at the moment, but please know that it doesn't have to be this way. You just need to reach out to people for help. I would encourage you to start with the college counsellor, or a counsellor in the community, and see how you go. There are options to get more intensive help with your issues by being referred to a psychiatric team via your GP. I don't know if you've been down that route before, but it would be a good idea if you feel that counselling is not enough.

Whatever happens, please don't feel like a failure and please don't think that there will never be a time when you can cope with studying. Sometimes we can manage to access the right help and get through things, but other times we need to take a step back and focus solely on our health.

I hope that you can find the courage to reach out for some support.

Best wishes,

Jasmine.


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