University can be an anxious experience for many students. Being away from home, the pressure to make new friends, getting involved with societies and balancing the work of a degree and all the new experiences. Society pushes the idea that university has to be the best time of your life. But it is more than okay if it’s not. It is okay if you are feeling anxious.
I have been suffering with anxiety for most of my time at Warwick and I cannot thank the wellbeing services enough for their help and support in times of need. I wanted to share my positive experience with those who may be suffering and who may be considering contacting the wellbeing services available on campus.
In September 2019, The Guardian reported that waiting times for mental health services on campus can be as much as three months. There is clearly a crisis in mental health services across the nation. The media constantly report on the negative aspects of mental health services, especially those waiting for care on the NHS. However, I want to praise Warwick’s wellbeing services for the positive benefits they brought to my life and the care they have provided me with this year.
It got to a point where I felt I didn’t know who I was anymore. A loss of identity
In January 2018, the Wellbeing Support Services of the university moved from University House to Senate House, ensuring these services are easily accessible on campus for all students. When I first arrived, I walked into a stylish and comfortable waiting area that instantly put me at ease. My initial appointment was a brief consultation, on a drop-in service basis, which then determined what level of support I needed. Within a week, I was referred to the Wellbeing Support Team who offered me practical advice and emotional support for my wellbeing and anxiety.
A week after my appointment with the Wellbeing Support Team, I was transferred to the Counselling and Psychology Interventions Team, who can provide a range of therapeutic interventions for students experiencing emotional or psychological issues. While initially it was a case of seeing lots of different people, eventually I was assigned one staff member who I saw for following appointments.
During term one, my anxiety consumed me. It got to a point where I felt I didn’t know who I was anymore. A loss of identity. I would hide away in my room, while my housemates were concerned about my absences at dinner time, nights out or just for chats in the living room. I isolated myself, skipped meals and struggled to focus on my work. I resorted to keeping myself busy and crying in my room.
I cried in many of my sessions. And it is okay to cry
I built up trust with the therapist I saw. All of the staff are very friendly, caring and assure you that it is okay to not feel okay. During my first counselling appointment, the therapist said: “What has brought you here?” And I replied: “I just cannot cope anymore.” She responded: “But you are here today. That shows me you are coping, you are strong.” I cried in many of my sessions. And it is okay to cry. Tissues are always at hand in the therapy rooms. At the end of my last session, she wished me well and told me she would be thinking of me – a bittersweet moment, knowing I was much better than I was when I first met her, but I would no longer be seeing a lovely person who I shared so much about my life with.
The wellbeing services at Warwick can help with a range of issues. If you are suffering, I strongly recommend making use of the amazing services we have at Warwick. The counselling I received helped me to deal with my anxiety and I am much happier now. My case has been closed now, but I know that I can always reach out to the wellbeing services whenever I need them. The therapist who supported me always emphasised that if I wanted another appointment, it was more than okay to book another. The wellbeing services are confidential – no information will go on your academic student records and the Psychological Therapists will not communicate with your academic department.
Always remember, university doesn’t have to be the best time of your life
Upon reflection, one of the most shocking things throughout the process was how many familiar faces I saw in the waiting area of the wellbeing services. There are so many people who have to reach out for support, who you don’t realise also may be struggling. If you need help, you are not alone.
Always remember, university doesn’t have to be the best time of your life. The wellbeing services at Warwick must be praised for their amazing support and the care they have provided to students like me.