My Anxiety Began at School
Student mental health nurse, Beka Louise, talks about her experiences of having anxiety at school; how it impacted her studies and life even though she didn't know what it was.
At school I was a hard working student who sat at the back keeping quiet. So when I put up a fight when it came to talking in front of the class my teachers just thought I was being awkward and shy. It had nothing to do with the fact that I would feel like I physically could not breathe.
Or during exam time I would have to grip onto the edge of the desk until my knuckles turned white just to make myself focus on something else for a short while, and to make sure that I didn't try to run from the room.
Everyone would say, “Oh but that’s exam stress, everyone deals with that, it’s normal.” It’s not normal when you’re crying to your parents every single night before an exam because you don’t want to let anyone down. Or when you have a panic attack outside of the exam room and the corridor is just closing in on you.
My Mum took me to the doctors and the doctor told me it was normal to feel pressure and stress around exams, and recommended that I took some of the natural calming type tablets. I’m not sure if they work for everyone or act as a placebo but they seemed to help me (and they still do now when I’m having a day where I cannot seem to get rid of that ‘butterfly’ feeling).
It wasn’t until I started studying to be a mental health nurse at university, and studying anxiety deeper, that it hit me; I had a typical “oh that’s me!” moment.
No one had ever mentioned the word 'anxiety' to me before.
The only “help” I’d ever really had was my own internet search for breathing exercises to help calm and relax myself in these situations.
It suddenly all made sense, what I was feeling wasn’t typical stress; those days where I had that pit in my stomach and I just felt on edge all day suddenly had an explanation. That was the beginning of managing and understanding better.