As the morning arrives for another day, there is this incredible knot that sits itself at the top of my stomach. My heart in turn feels like it’s going to take off. It pounds away inside my chest and combined with the knot in my stomach my breathing is shallow and I feel sick.
It’s a horrible feeling to have and the root of its unpleasant existence is my head. This chronic, irrational fear of going out. It doesn’t really matter where I have to go, this feeling happens everytime I know that I have to leave the safety and security of my home.
I really didn’t expect to get my place at uni, especially given that my personal statement was open about my diagnosis of BPD. I remember that it had been around 8 months since my breakdown and I had figured I would be sorted out with my mental health.
Ha! What a fucking joke!
I wasn’t ready when the summer came. I was really unwell and uni at that time was a non-starter, so I delayed it by another year. During the following 12 months at an incredibly slow pace, I worked my butt off to get clean from co-codamol, I tried to make my relationships with my kids and husband better and got myself to a place where I could focus and concentrate for more than five minutes at a time (and that’s if I was lucky).
Eventually September rolled around and I started the course. The first week was terrifying. Anxiety was really high, but some how I fought through it and got myself in. Not every single day religiously because hey, I’m a student and sometimes mornings were a little on the hard side!! How many students have you known that have attended every single lecture without fail?? I’m guessing that the number would be fairly small. So I didn’t beat myself up if I couldn’t make it in. Instead I pushed myself to attend as many lectures as I could which was a reasonable amount and ultimately I did fairly well with exams and assignments.
I genuinely felt like I had turned a massive corner with anxiety and the control it had previously had over being able to live my life.
I was wrong. Plain and simple. It’s the quiet beast that sits patiently by waiting for the perfect moment to raise it’s ugly, disgusting, deblitating and frustrating head.
First fucking day back of the Autumn semester and I get triggered. Since then I get so worked up about lectures on a Monday and Tuesday, I just can’t face it. The anxiety that takes over my body and brain is overwhelming and so I do what I do best, I hide at home feeling guilty and pathetic. I beat myself up over and over again for being such a fucking, stupid failure.
This week I forced myself to go in on a Tuesday, the first one I’ve been in for since the start of the academic year. I had signed up for participating in some 3rd year research and also had a meeting with the welfare officer. The research participation was fine, it wasn’t as overwhelming as I had feared. However, being in a room with one other person is not the terrifying part. When I wasn’t in those rooms, there were so many people around and that knot, pounding of my heart and all the other shit feelings came rushing at me. I became hyper-vigilant and my over-riding desire was to get the hell out of there.
By the time the meeting came with the welfare officer I was a wreck. It became very clear that getting in to uni on Monday’s and Tuesday’s is not something that I feel I can do right now. It was a really hard, painful wake up call. I’ve no idea how I am going to get through another 18 months of uni.
It has been suggested that I need to have a ‘fitness to study’ put into place. Apparently this is where some tutors, members of the welfare team etc meet with me and discuss where things are. I thought that this might take a week or two to happen, but seems not.
Thursday I had a meeting with my tutor where she told me she had recieved and email about the fitness to study. She wanted to know if I wanted to remain on the course and how I feel about the fitness to study. My tutor has been an amazing support throughout the past 18 months and has told me how much faith and belief she has in me. I don’t want to leave the course because although I can’t physically getting in, I work hard from home. It helps distract me from all the shit that hasn’t been dealt with yet and stops me from falling back into a depressive state. It is moving me forward to a better place, a future where I can finally help others who are or have been through the same things as me. I don’t want to give it up for anything.
But…..anxiety seems to think differently.
How the fuck do I do this?
The increase of venlafaxine is meant to help and so is the quetiapine. I am at least sleeping a bit more which is a relief. But the anxiety seems to be set in so deep that nothing is touching it.
I feel so miserable and fed up. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I am trying my head has a billion different ideas and now everything is at risk and I am scared that it’s all going to fall apart and I am going to end up in the gutter. I don’t want to spend my life wishing for things. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines. But how do you get onto the field and be part of this game of life?