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Trying to Overcome Anxiety/Panic Disorder in First Year

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berries000

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I’m a first year optometry student, currently in my second semester. I worked so hard to be in this position, spent years working as a tech and fell in love with this field. I also have anxiety/panic disorder that I’m medicated for (at max dose for my antidepressant), have had therapy for, etc. But since starting optometry school, my anxiety has escalated significantly, to the point that I’m constantly stressed and panicking, and it’s affecting my motivation in school. I was lucky enough to pass last semester, and I hoped that I’d feel more at ease this semester post-winter break, but I’m still anxious. It’s hard to study when I’m so burned out from just constantly feeling anxious, panicking on my commute, and the overall stress of being a student… A part of me regrets going to grad school now, because maybe I’m just not cut out for the stress that it entails.

Are there any students out there in similar situations, and how have you managed your anxiety symptoms? I’m scared I’m not going to pass this semester…and the thought of dropping out breaks my heart…but I’m worried I’m just not strong enough for this…
 

kcl22

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Following because I am also feeling this way, I have dx panic disorder and have been losing weight and sanity from the stress. The only things that seem to help me are reaching out to those who really ground me, close friends from home and family.
I try to remind myself that this is all temporary, and if you can make the small changes to get by, you’ll have survived and still followed your dream. It’s not enjoyable but it’s all temporary for now. And the fact that you made it through the first semester is amazing, you’re just that much closer.
 
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someguy313

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I’m a first year optometry student, currently in my second semester. I worked so hard to be in this position, spent years working as a tech and fell in love with this field. I also have anxiety/panic disorder that I’m medicated for (at max dose for my antidepressant), have had therapy for, etc. But since starting optometry school, my anxiety has escalated significantly, to the point that I’m constantly stressed and panicking, and it’s affecting my motivation in school. I was lucky enough to pass last semester, and I hoped that I’d feel more at ease this semester post-winter break, but I’m still anxious. It’s hard to study when I’m so burned out from just constantly feeling anxious, panicking on my commute, and the overall stress of being a student… A part of me regrets going to grad school now, because maybe I’m just not cut out for the stress that it entails.

Are there any students out there in similar situations, and how have you managed your anxiety symptoms? I’m scared I’m not going to pass this semester…and the thought of dropping out breaks my heart…but I’m worried I’m just not strong enough for this…
does your school have any accommodations or resources available for mental health? I knew a handful of people who got testing accommodations for anxiety where they got to take their exams in a small room instead of the giant lecture hall with hundreds of students at a time
 

berries000

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Following because I am also feeling this way, I have dx panic disorder and have been losing weight and sanity from the stress. The only things that seem to help me are reaching out to those who really ground me, close friends from home and family.
I try to remind myself that this is all temporary, and if you can make the small changes to get by, you’ll have survived and still followed your dream. It’s not enjoyable but it’s all temporary for now. And the fact that you made it through the first semester is amazing, you’re just that much closer.
I’m so sorry you’re dealing with a lot too 😢 thank you so much for sharing and for your comment overall. I’m thankful to say I have a helpful support system, and I open up to them a lot about my stresses. But a lot of my issues are internal, and I just hope I can find the courage and strength to keep pushing forward. Baby steps, baby steps..
 

berries000

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You should be in active therapy right now. This isn't something you'll be able to handle on your own.
I’ve had some difficult experiences finding a helpful therapist over the years, which is why I’m not currently in therapy. My school does offer mental health counseling though, so it might be worth it to explore that option.
 

berries000

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does your school have any accommodations or resources available for mental health? I knew a handful of people who got testing accommodations for anxiety where they got to take their exams in a small room instead of the giant lecture hall with hundreds of students at a time
My school does have a disability center, so I know they can provide accommodations for certain conditions, but I’m unsure if anxiety/panic counts as a disability 😅 if im honest too, I’m afraid if it does count as a disability, it may stigmatize me on my record somehow, or even by my professors
 

someguy313

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My school does have a disability center, so I know they can provide accommodations for certain conditions, but I’m unsure if anxiety/panic counts as a disability 😅 if im honest too, I’m afraid if it does count as a disability, it may stigmatize me on my record somehow, or even by my professors
hey, if it will help you do better on your exams and keep you from falling behind, I say it's worth a shot. plenty of people in optometry school have high anxiety (which school usually exacerbates) so it's nothing to be ashamed of. as for your professors, who cares what they think? you're the one who's trying to become the OD, not them. moreover, if they look down on you for taking charge of your mental health, then I feel bad for all their current and future patients.
 

KHE

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I’ve had some difficult experiences finding a helpful therapist over the years, which is why I’m not currently in therapy. My school does offer mental health counseling though, so it might be worth it to explore that option.
You need to keep looking for one.

If you had a leaky pipe in your basement and you called a plumber and the plumber came and worked on the pipe but it was still leaking after he left, you would NOT sit there and say to yourself "well....I guess I just have to live with a leaky pipe for the rest of your life."

Of course not. You would call the plumber and tell him to get back over. Or you would find a new plumber.

So trust me when I say....keep looking for a therapist that works for you. I know it's hard. I know it's frustrating. But it's going to be the fastest way to make you feel better.
 
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