Fresh Start

October 26th 2018

Guest Blog by Jenny about starting university!

University, is a challenging time for anyone. Moving out, meeting people, being faced everyday with new challenges and expectations. Whether you are moving out of your home for the first time or staying at home and commuting this time can be hard for anyone even if you don’t suffer from OCD or any kind of mental health problem for that matter.
I want to share my experience of moving out for the first time and starting university.

OCD has always been a battle for me growing up, from checking everything a certain number of times to obsessively worrying that I might have cancer or something drastic is going to happen to me or my family members. Coming to university was a massive step for me. I held it back for a couple years to improve myself and to find my true self and confidence. I then felt I was more than ready to tackle this challenge. I chose moving out to a different city as appose to staying at home and going to a university near my parents as life is all about challenging those inner demons and I had come so far that I wanted to push myself further than ever before and I was ready!

The first 2 weeks of staying in halls I had to face challenges day in day out, that back at home I wouldn’t of needed to face. From taking the bins out and exposing myself to germs and intrusive thoughts to touching dirty areas of the kitchen. This is still a tricky area a month into university life, however I have gotten to a point where I will carry the bin bag to the rubbish collection outside and that in itself is an achievement. Having to face challenges such as exposing myself to germs is a constant day to day occurrence, but I have found that it helps by taking each step a day at a time, also it helped me if I became friends with my flatmates as I then felt more comfortable and happier in my surroundings even though they have no idea the full extent of my OCD, sometimes this can be a good thing, as it makes you feel like you can have a fresh start in your new surroundings and it doesn’t put the pressure on how they will react to you telling them, and they are new people who you haven’t known for long so there’s no expectation.

Starting my university course, it helped to make the mental health team aware of my condition so I didn’t feel like I was alone if I was going through a bad patch with the OCD and also the anxiety that came along with it. Having that support in place made me feel like there’s someone there if I needed to talk however at university you are surrounded by people who are going through personal struggles and various challenges, so you are never alone. I felt that making friends in the first weeks really helped in your course especially as they have common interests as you and everyone at university wants to make friends because at the end of the day you are all in the same boat and you all don’t know anyone and this helped my confidence grow massively as I went about my first weeks and in therefore helped my anxiety/OCD because I was preoccupied with meeting people and also getting involved in societies really helped because it built up my confidence even more and I feel if you have more confidence you have more strength and fight to tackle OCD and thoughts.

If you are starting uni or thinking about it in the future, even if it seems like a long hard battle some days and going university, some days you might feel alone if you are struggling in particular that day. Remember these feelings aren’t facts and therefore you are not alone there are people, who can help you from student services to friends and family. These days will pass, and as much as OCD can suck! It can also be a driving force to get you to where you want in life. Because you have overcome the biggest obstacle that is yourself and your inner demons then just image what you can achieve in your future!

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