Anxiety affects one in four people, and the effects vary with every case. Some people doubt themselves, others physically cannot bring themselves to leave the house. With different cases, symptoms, and outcomes, it’s easy to understand how little anxiety is actually diagnosed. In such a high pressure environment, anxiety has become a common problem whilst at university and after.

Anxiety: My Story.

When I graduated, I was so confident. My life was planned. My Anxiety level was high, but so was everybody’s,  right? I’d work my little bar job until some hotshot PR company would come and snap me up. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Thousands of job applications, internships, and volunteering work to high heavens, and yet I still was not enough. I had a degree, determination, and experience. What more could companies want?

Prior to graduating.

It was just before graduation – after one of my close friends got an amazing job at a beauty company, and then another at a company selling vintage clothes – when my anxiety set in. I thought I was not good enough. I continued to feel that way until all my friends had jobs. Peers’ ‘success’ stories filled my social media until I mentally and physically couldn’t cope anymore.

Temping for a few weeks here and there added to my income and exposed me to environments which scared me to death. After working as a receptionist for a week I had an irate customer scream down the phone, causing the  worst anxiety attack I have ever had. I was let got, immediately.

Looking back at this time, I should have really sought out help before things got worse. Last Christmas I was physically and mentally drained, fighting a daily struggle to go to work or even get out of bed.

When it started.

When I look back over University, my anxiety started when the first deadlines of my second years hit. Of course at that time I thought everyone else was in the same boat, they just coped better. Feeling alone, so far away from family – my support system, I felt I was stupid for saying that I needed help. That I was somehow admitting I wasn’t ‘university material’.

As the course went on I saw people become more confident and go on to find work opportunities I could only dream of – all of which made me feel like an outcast.

Getting help.

First I went to the doctors, who were little to no help. They handed me a form and a pamphlet to read and told me I had anxiety. What did help me was YouTube. It helped me realize that other people have the same demons. Someone else felt the same as I did and had started to overcome it.

I began challenging myself, from reading something I was scared to, to looking for a new job. Challenging little bits of my anxiety, every step gave me a little more confidence. Ultimately, passing my driving test, meeting someone new, and tackling a city all on my own allowed me to get to the point I am now. Where yes, I have anxiety, but I do not let it control my life.

Anxiety and panic attacks now affect one in four graduates and students alike. If anxiety makes you feel like you cannot cope, one of the many organizations which could help is Student minds. It’s a great website with aids for anxiety attacks and ways to get help and gain more confidence or learn how to cope. You can also talk to tutors. My dissertation supervisor was one of my greatest supporters, whether she knew it or not. When I was down, she was my little ray of hope.

Speaking as a graduate who has had a rough time adjusting to life working in an office, or generally, out of the comfort of university, life is going to happen. Overcoming anxiety shapes you into who you have always wanted to be, or even someone you never thought you could be. If you are struggling today, it does not mean you will be in a month. You can get help. People do care. You are not alone.