Heading off to college or university can be scary enough, especially if you’re going away from home. All of a sudden you go from a classroom setting in which you had to raise your hand to go to the bathroom despite being 17-years-old to having to do adult stuff, like manage money, take care of yourself and be responsible for your classes, homework and exams (because, really, post secondary professors don’t give a crap whether you show up or not since they’re not there to baby you). You’re away from home and maybe feeling a little lost, anxious and lonely.
Or maybe you’ve been out of high school for a little while and are trying to get back into the swing of things school-wise. That can be just as nerve-wracking, especially since you might be so much older than everyone else.
Whatever your post-secondary back-to-school situation is, dealing with all that stress and having a body-focused repetitive behaviour can really make things a challenge. So here are a few tips that might help you through this transition.
Get familiar with the counsellor: even if they’re not hugely advertised, post-secondary institutions should have a counselling service available. While they’re more prepared to deal with things like stress, depression and potential suicide, you can still seek them out and bring them information about BFRBs. By doing this, you can then work together to create a plan to help you through the year and the information will help them be more aware of your specific BFRB.
Do your best to get regular sleep: it’s probably going to be tough, but when you’re better rested, you mental health is less at risk.
The roommate situation: if you’re in a dorm room with a roommate, things can get tricky. You have to share a bathroom, and so it will probably be a lot more difficult to hide your BFRB. If you’re up to it, let your roommate know about your BFRB (maybe they’ll even be able to help you through it!), but if you’re not comfortable with letting your roommate know, especially right away, take into consideration that you are sharing a space.
In lectures: wear a hat, bring a fidget toy, put on some gloves. In college and university, there aren’t strict rules like in the classroom of a high school or elementary school.
While Studying: keep fidgets handy and take breaks to keep yourself aware of what your body is doing. Taking breaks can help you avoid zoning out and picking or pulling in those times.
Wear something you’re comfortable in: seriously, no one cares what you wear in university or college. Plenty of people will be coming in pajamas or oversized sweaters, or in eccentric outfits. And there aren’t dress codes that you have to worry about!
Keep bandages handy: stick them in your backpack, you purse, your wallet, your pockets, wherever you can so that they’re easy to grab in case you need them!
Reach out to people back home: if you’re away from home and feeling lonely and stressed, which could cause you to pick or pull, get in contact with someone you know from back home. Just because you’re away doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them anymore, and with things like Facebook it is more than easy to reach out to people nowadays. They’ll probably be glad to hear from you!
Try to get out and socialize: join an intramural, a club, go to residence or school events. Getting out can not only help with getting you out of your own head (a.k.a. getting away from your own thoughts), but it can be a great distraction from picking and pulling. If anything, it should take time away from your BFRB.
See if there’s a support group at the school or in the area: if there isn’t one, then you could always start one yourself!