Part One – Panic Attacks

Posted in Mental Health, Personal
university 1

So this is probably one of the most personal posts I’ll ever write but it was highly requested in my Twitter poll and I feel like it’s something that needs to be shared and hopefully might even help someone.

Apparently, university is supposed to be this amazing and super-fun experience you’ll remember forever and fondly look back on, but that’s never been the case for me. I started uni straight from school in September 2013 and I have to admit, at first I did enjoy it. Going to university had been my dream since I was really young, so I was so excited that I managed to get a place and apparently live the dream. I was also the first in my family to attend uni so initially, I just felt really special and soooo cool that I was actually a ‘real student’. In my first few weeks I made a whole group of brand new friends and had your stereotypical, storybook university experience for my first semester – it really did seem like the dream I’d imagined it would be.

I honestly don’t know why that changed and almost every day I wish it never had.

In early 2014 I was in one of my classes, sat beside one of my best friends and, without warning or reason, I had my first ever panic attack. I can honestly say that at that moment I thought I was going to die. This panicky feeling took over my entire body and convinced me that my last ever moments would be inside a lecture hall without being able to see my family or boyfriend or anyone else again. Obviously, a panic attack can’t kill you but, if you’ve never experienced one, I can 100% tell you it totally feels like it can. Especially when you have no idea what is happening.

Clearly, I’m still here, but that day was a huge turning point for me and by the end of first year, I was having a panic attack in almost every class. It was easier for me to just avoid classes altogether because those I did force myself to attend resulted in a dash mid-class to the nearest toilet to throw up or cry.. or sometimes both.

I became so frustrated.

Why couldn’t I just be like everyone else? I never understood why this all happened and I never will. Before uni, and once I broke free of my childhood shyness I was so confident in myself and loved being the centre of attention. I don’t know why or how that confident, happy girl managed to morph into the girl locked away in the toilet cubicle unable to control her tears or her breathing.

It seemed like everyone else had their lives so put together and coped with everything so well. I became so jealous of other people and the fact that it seemed like it was just me that was struggling. Not long after that first panic attack, I became so anxious in general, that the panic attacks stopped being university-specific. It got to the point I couldn’t go to the cinema or to restaurants or bars or anywhere, really. I couldn’t go anywhere alone either, not even to a nearby shop, and so it seemed easier for me to just lock myself away. It felt like I was the only one in the world who was struggling with this, whatever it was, and that no one else would understand or care if I told them. I felt so lonely all the time and eventually lost touch with my new group of friends because I couldn’t ever follow plans through and became a no-show at classes.

By late 2014, and in my second year of uni, I skipped almost every class. I honestly have no idea how I managed to not get kicked out! Despite all of this, I still managed to keep what I was going through a secret because I felt like they wouldn’t understand or think I was just being stupid.

I guess the main thing I’ve learned and the one thing I wish I could go back and tell myself, is that there really are more people than you think that understand how you feel. When you’re in the middle of the awful anxious cycle, it really does seem like you’re the only person in the world who is in that place, but I can 100% guarantee that most people will experience those feelings in one way or another, and you are most definitely not alone <3

*This post is part of a series*

Thanks so much for reading! This was really strange for me to write and put it all out there, but I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of my journey with you as I’m sure it’s nowhere near finished yet!

I hope you enjoy reading through this little series! Please feel free to message me or comment below any feedback or comments you have and let me know what you think of these more personal posts.

If you feel like you’re struggling with anything and need someone to talk to, please chat to someone you trust. Alternatively, you can message me at any time or contact one of the organisations below. // 116 123 // 0300 123 3393 // 0300 304 7000 // 01708 765200


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  • Reply Mindfump

    I had such a similar experience with uni. It is so different to expectations in my opinion. Great post and very personal, which made it all the better. Thank you for the honesty.

    February 27, 2017 at 8:34 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      It really is, nothing like it’s made out to be at all. Glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t felt it lived up to expectations! Thanks so much, it really means a lot!! xo

      February 27, 2017 at 8:46 pm
      • Reply Mindfump

        No thank YOU! Really helped 🙂

        February 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm
  • Reply StoryTones

    I can relate so well to this post! Thank you so much!

    February 28, 2017 at 3:15 am
  • Reply lolitambonita

    I absolutly hated my university experience and felt completely isolated and alone. By this point thankfully I had a hold of my panic attacks and had learnt techniques to deal with them. Things could have been worse otherwise! X
    Lola Mia //

    February 28, 2017 at 11:00 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      I’m so sorry it wasn’t the best for you! 😔 I feel like it’s never really spoken about- uni is supposed to be so amazing and so you feel really weird when it’s not at all! I’m glad you managed to learn some techniques to help though ❤xo

      February 28, 2017 at 11:34 pm
  • Reply ciaraglynn

    I love this! Can relate so much xx

    March 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply Tiffany Rawling (@TiffanyRawling)

    I can relate to this post so much! It felt like I was reading what happened to me. My anxiety first started in uni and it was there I had my first ever panic attack too, like you I thought I was dying at the time, it was awful. Can’t wait to read more of your story 🙂

    Tiffany x

    March 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      I’m so sorry that happened to you ❤️ Hopefully things are better for you now! Thanks so much xo

      March 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm
  • Reply Serena Reidy

    Thanks for sharing this post! Uni can be so hard

    March 3, 2017 at 8:07 pm
  • Reply Lupe

    I’m in college right now and I always feel out of place. I’m here doing exactly the same thing as everyone else but for some reason it seems like I’m always the last one to realize what is going on around me. I’m not very social, and I’ve tried to be but it scares me 😳 thank you so much for this post love ❤️❤️❤️

    March 3, 2017 at 8:13 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      I get that completely!!! I feel the exact same, don’t feel like I fit in there at all and it’s just not what I thought it would be like at all. Here if you ever need a chat lovely ❤❤xo

      March 3, 2017 at 8:34 pm
  • Reply Zoe Jackson

    Thank you for sharing your experience, I look forward to following your journey 🙂

    March 3, 2017 at 8:19 pm
  • Reply prncssxjess

    This was great to read! I always love it when people are open about mental health, as for myself personally it’s been a huge helping factor with my own troubles. I’m still always blown away by the amount of supportive people you can find around you! ❤️

    March 3, 2017 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply Jordanne | Thelifeofaglasgowgirl

    Such a heart fealt post. You see so much about “uni life” and how great it will be so it’s nice to see the flip side. So many people probably feel this and will see they aren’t alone in that. Fab post hun.

    Jordanne ||

    March 3, 2017 at 9:02 pm
  • Reply melissa lacey

    I chose not to go to uni so I have no clue what it’s like, but it’s nice to see an honest post about uni experiences rather than the whole it’s amazing story. looking forward to follow the rest of your journey!

    Love, Melissa x

    March 3, 2017 at 9:40 pm
  • Reply palegirlrambling

    I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this series of posts! Anxiety and panic attacks are awful!!

    March 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply Aditi Parashar

    This is so relatable for an anxiety struck person like me. I’m so touched that you tried to put it all out there with your own experience.
    Very brave and thoughtful x

    March 4, 2017 at 8:28 am
  • Reply Part Two – Losing Friends and Keeping Secrets

    […] Please check out part one of my university experience here. […]

    March 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm
  • Reply leahhprescott

    Go you for sharing this and putting it out here for everyone to read,so brave of you.I had similar experiences with highschool and college. I dropped out of highschool at 14 and became housebound,then I went to college at 17 for two weeks and my anxiety was just horrific. I really wanted to go to university growing up but clearly it wasn’t meant to be x

    March 8, 2017 at 12:09 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thanks so much lovely! I’m so sorry you had to experience that, it’s such a horrible thing. I hope things are better for you now, always here if you need a chat xo

      March 8, 2017 at 3:04 pm
  • Reply PurpleOwl

    Thank you for being so honest about this. University was one of the hardest times for me too and it is so common for people to first develop mental health problems when they are away from home for the first time.

    March 12, 2017 at 11:23 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thank you, I just wish more people spoke out about it because I feel like it’s portrayed as such an amazing thing but it’s not like that for everyone!
      I’m sorry it was so hard for you though xo

      March 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm
  • Reply Ella May Garrett

    I had a really similar experience in my first year at uni. Thank you for being so honest and helping people realise that uni isn’t necessarily the absolute best point in your life! Someone told me if it’s not the best time for you it’s because it’s just a stepping stone towards it which I thought was lovely. So glad I just discovered your blog from Twitter 🙂 xx

    March 14, 2017 at 7:17 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      I’m really sorry you had a tough time! Always here if you need a chat. That’s such a lovely thing to hear though, will definitely keep that in mind when I’m back to finish off my last year. Thanks so much lovely, it means a lot xo

      March 14, 2017 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply discoveringsooz

    Reblogged this on discoveringsooz and commented:
    A very relatable post!
    Love Sooz x

    March 15, 2017 at 1:43 am
  • Reply lifestyleforyoureyes

    Thank you for being super brave and sharing this with us all. I hope you are coping better as time goes on, looking forward to reading the rest of your journey as I am interested in expanding my knowledge on this.

    March 15, 2017 at 3:04 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad it’s helping to expand your knowledge, it really means so much to me xo

      March 15, 2017 at 9:08 am
  • Reply meltingpotsandothercalamities

    I may not have panic attacks or panic disorder, but as a very easily stressed and anxious person, I can sadly relate. And while most of what I know of panic disorder comes from the Webtoon Dr. Frost, (a psychology comic), I immediately noticed parallels (such as, during an attack, feeling like one is dying), and my heart went out to you. I’m sorry that you had to go through this. I look forward to the rest of the articles in the series.

    March 15, 2017 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thanks so much for reading, it has been tough but things are looking more positive now! Feeling stressed and anxious is so tough, I hope you’re okay! xo

      March 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm
      • Reply meltingpotsandothercalamities

        That’s good to hear! Eh, it mainly comes about from the fact that a lot of noisy people are in my ASL and math classes, which means the teachers don’t care for either of those classes. But I’m getting through it! Thanks!

        March 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply kountrymama2012

    You’re not alone! I’ve the same struggles and more. It only goes up from here. I’ve had it since I was 15 e-mail for a chat or questions.

    March 15, 2017 at 2:02 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thanks! It’s horrible how isolating it can be, but so glad there are so many supportive people! Always here if you need a chat too xo

      March 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm
      • Reply kountrymama2012

        It’s not good to isolate- isolate leads to depression

        March 15, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply thisiswhatiknow2016

    Reblogged this on This Is What I Know. and commented:
    Sharing because I think more of us feel this way than we care to admit…

    If you’ve ever felt this way, know that you are not alone.

    You’ve got this far, you’ve survived, you’re stronger than you think.

    March 15, 2017 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply L . Joseph Castillo

    Reblogged this on Healing Center Notes.

    March 15, 2017 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply kkhealthyfit

    I can completely relate to this post as I also struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. Thank you for sharing! I will be sharing some of my own experiences with anxiety on my own blog kkhealthyfit soon as well!

    March 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thanks so much for reading! Looking forward to reading your posts and experiences xo

      March 15, 2017 at 10:17 pm
  • Reply pursuingtheprocess

    Excellent post, I’m sorry you’ve been through this – it’s clear from the comments you’ve helped and reached out to a lot of people. I can’t say I can relate but I can empathise! Keep going✌🏻

    March 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thank you so much for reading! I definitely will xo

      March 18, 2017 at 9:23 pm
  • Reply Part Two – Losing Friends and Keeping Secrets | clairelouiisexo

    […] Read Part 1 […]

    March 22, 2017 at 10:57 am
  • Reply Part Three – A New Chapter | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part 1 | Part 2 […]

    March 22, 2017 at 11:02 am
  • Reply Part Four – Depression | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part One – Panic Attacks […]

    March 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm
  • Reply Part Five – Taking a Break From University | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part One – Panic Attacks […]

    April 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply Thank You, Anxiety | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part One – Panic Attacks […]

    April 17, 2017 at 8:30 pm
  • Reply The Blogger Tag | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part One – Panic Attacks […]

    May 3, 2017 at 2:01 pm
  • Reply Mental Health Tag (#MHAW17) | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part One – Panic Attacks […]

    May 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm
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