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Forums / Staying well / Can't seem to work normally and now I'm studying

Topic: Can't seem to work normally and now I'm studying

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Joe L
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Joe L avatar
    5 posts
    1 December 2021
    Hey all, I've been working for a while but I've been having panic attacks from stress especially since starting uni. I've always had trouble staying in a job long term, I do qualify for a disability payment because of my diagnoses that I assume is the cause of all the panic attacks I've been having. But I feel like I would just be being lazy and not really worth that sort of support.

    Any advice?
  2. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3151 posts
    3 December 2021 in reply to Joe L

    Hi Joe L,

    Thanks for reaching out and I'm sorry you've been having panic attacks - study is so so stressful, and I'm glad that it's nearing the end of the year given how hard it's been for you.

    With the disability payment I presume you mean the DSP? It's probably important to know that 'qualifying' with your diagnosis is a big big difference to being accepted. Mental health is a big struggle with the DSP because you have to prove that your condition has been diagnosed, stabilised and treated. This means that over the last 3 years, it hasn't gotten any better or worse and over the next 3 years, it's not likely to get better or worse even with treatment. Unfortunately that's not the case with panic attacks.

    That said however, you may have some extra support backing you- so I will tell you that I don't feel the DSP is lazy as a payment in itself... With the DSP there's no obligation to work or study, and it can sometimes be enough to live for the rest of your life.

    I'm not sure if any of this is helpful! But I'll back you whichever way you decide to go.

    rt

  3. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10927 posts
    3 December 2021 in reply to Joe L

    Dear Joe L~

    It's been a couple of years, so I'll join romantic_thi3f in welcoming you back.

    Actually romantic_thi3f has given you some good advice in relation to a disability benefit so I won't attempt to add to that .

    I wonder if you realise how much pressure you are under at the moment. You are holding down a job, plus studying at uni and have to deal on an everyday basis with type 2 bipolar and anxiety/depression, conditions you mentioned before.

    Under those circumstances I'm not surprised you are having panic attacks. Beyond Blue does have some information about them here that might help:

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/types-of-anxiety/panic-disorder

    May I ask if you have medical support for your conditions and the panic attacks? I found until I had that I simply could not cope and actually got worse. I'd also no real idea of my stress levels.

    Do you think it might be worth talking to your doctor, or psych if you have one, not just about the attacks but also about the amount of stress that would be reasonable? Then altering your life to have only so much and no more?

    This could mean increased medical support, it might mean reducing your studies or something else in your life.

    Would you like to say a little more about yourself? For instance do you have anyone in your life to give you support, someone you can frankly talk your problems over wiht and feel cared for, plus maybe a little outside perspective? Someone like a family member or a friend?

    I hope to hear from you again

    Croix

  4. Mark Z.
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    Mark Z. avatar
    170 posts
    3 December 2021 in reply to Joe L

    Hi Joe L,

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm sorry for your experience and your feelings. If you feel comfortable to share something more about your story, we'd love to be your listeners and advisors. For example, what kind of panic attacks you have since uni, what jobs you had and what made you quit, what are your diagnoses, etc.

    But first of all, do not assume that you're lazy and not worth any support. Our illness, no matter physical or mental, are just the illness, not us. Do not blame yourself or hate yourself cause it'll only make things worse. We all deserve a healthy and happy life.

    Mark

  5. Maddeline
    Community Champion
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    Maddeline avatar
    37 posts
    6 December 2021 in reply to Joe L

    Hi JoeL,

    Thank you for reaching out! As a person who suffered from a lot of panic attacks due to balancing studies, I would highly recommend to keep pushing yourself. Learning techniques to mould and lessen the strength of the panic attacks is more helpful than avoiding the area that is causing the attacks. Although we have a big fear in us to immediately run away from situations that make us feel unease, panic attacks are something that can be controlled once learnt. I myself have learnt to control panic attacks for majority of the time (through seeing a psychologist and choosing which techniques work for me). At the end of the day, do what feels right for you. From your message I believe that you are having second thoughts about the disability payments. Possibly seek assistance with the panic attacks, and pursue what it is that you would like to achieve.

    Some techniques would be "worry time";

    - When starting to feel that you have a panic attack, tell yourself to leave it (and push away the thought) until your designated worry time and write down all that you were worried about that day. For example, your worry time could be after your uni class at 2:30pm. You tend to either forget what was worrying you by 2:30pm or you look back on the previous day and realise that all you worried about did not even happen anyways.

    Other calming and meditation techniques will help lessen the intensity of the attacks as well - such as; breathing exercises (thinking of the air coming in as blue and leaving as red), naming a boy/girls name for each letter of the alphabet etc.

    Placing your hand on your chest also provides a comforting relief sensation.

    There are loads of more techniques you could learn, and that do work. Please talk to your GP or a psychologist!

    - Hope to hear from you

  6. Positive_vibes89
    Community Champion
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    Positive_vibes89  avatar
    135 posts
    6 December 2021 in reply to Joe L

    Dear Joe L, I know you situation all too well. Its very hard in the beginning to find work, fun and uni balance. I struggled with this for a year. As a mature age student I had to work part time, clean a house, cook meals, go to classes and then also try and complete the weekly content. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!!! You may not know this but many universities would have what they call a diability support program and it is not just limited to physical. There are also litracy and numeracy support programs. And there is strudent mentor programs too. I suggest contacting your university to find out what extra support they can give you to settle in or if you need ongoing support too. Your degree though comes first before any job, so please dont feel that its the end of the world if you need to leave. As a student too you are entitled to Austudy from the governement while you complete your degree and you dont have to job search while you are on it. Please understand, you are definately worthy of receiving support. To go to uni is such an amazing achievement, you should be so proud of yourself. Many people apply to get in and don't. The uni you are going to must think you desrve to be there. If I can do it, you can too. It is hard but with support from you it can be done. Please dont be affraid to call them up and explain your situation they will help you.

    I hope my advice helps, please reach out again to us on the forum if you need to talk or give the phone lines a call. Uni is a really enjoyable experience, as another uni student to another I feel really excited for you. All the best with your study!

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