This is something that I have really been thinking about these last few weeks. The last three years I have been doing a degree and working full time. During this time, I also decided to have a change in career after nineteen years... you could say I don't do things by halves.

Anyway, during the summer break leading into my final year I started having bad anxiety attacks, something that I had never experienced before. Yes, I have had nerves before an event or presentation but nothing to the extent of what I was going through. The most annoying part was it was tasks I had done hundreds of times before, like driving to the shops or going to work.

So, after some counselling through work, one of the things they told me to do was not over analyse why I was feeling that way, because if it wasn't anything obvious then it would wind me up more. Boy were they right!! The times I didn't focus on the why and just getting through the attack they went so much quicker.

Then in work, because I had taken some time off, I felt like a complete failure going back to work. Like I had let everyone down, including myself, but my boss was brilliant (I am so lucky) and said that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself and only control things that are in my control.

This piece of advice has been invaluable, so for the past six months this has been my motto. I can only control things that are in my control and nothing else is worth putting pressure on myself about. I am also trying to instil this philosophy in my work colleagues who take on the pressure themselves.

When I started my degree, I just wanted to pass, I wasn't bothered about the classification, I just wanted one, as I had never been academically bright. My problem was, the more good results I got the more I wanted a first and I piled the pressure on myself to do well. I have now finished all the assignments, exams and dissertation and I feel like the pressure has lifted, not only from my lecturers but also myself as what will be will be.

As I write this, I know it sounds easy to control what is in your control, I kid you not this was harder than I ever realised that it would be but it has definitely taken the pressure off me and I feel so much happier. I am hopeful that the panic attacks will now start to alleviate too with this much more positive attitude.

A Moodscope member.

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