Coming Home

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I deliberately chose a university close to where I live so that I would be able to come home every now and then. Despite how old I am, I’ve never lived away from home before I started there last September, so the prospect was a little daunting. I’m glad that I picked the uni I did, the teaching staff are excellent, I enjoy the course and I like the people I’ve met there (even if I haven’t socialised all that much). I am wondering if it was such a good idea staying close to home though.

In a way it feels like I’m “cheating” somehow by being able to come home at the weekend. One of my online friends who also has SA went all the way from the south coast of England where she lived, to university in north Wales. I often feel kind of guilty when I talk to her because I’m only a part timer really. Of course I could just stay at my flat all the time but I think I’d go mad. Over the past couple of months I haven’t been eating properly at uni, I’m always too tempted to give into the anxiety and just stay inside my room, spending far too much on sandwiches in town instead of making my own lunches.

The thing that’s been bothering me lately is how annoyed I get with my parents when I’m at home. I haven’t written too much about my family, I get on well with them overall. We don’t have arguments, shout at each other or anything like that, but maybe having some independence from them has made me realise how much my parents can get on my nerves. My sister is hardly here now since she works a lot and stays at her boyfriends house. I miss her a lot but realise she has her own life. My mum is insanely protective of me, I don’t think she wanted me to leave in the first place and she hates being proved wrong. Just lately she seems intent on trying to assert her authority over me and especially my sister. I’m not one to talk back and argue but my sister always does, consequently they argue a lot. My mum is very critical of her and always making sly remarks, something which she seems to be doing to me more than usual. Today she asked me “How are things with the mad people?” I was quite taken aback because I thought she was insulting me about my mental health problems, but when I asked what she meant, she was referring to my flatmates.

My dad is an extreme pessimist, he’s constantly moping around and is never happy unless he’s with his girlfriend or at church. If I try to talk to him about anything he barely bothers to pretend he’s listening, often just starting to talk over the top of me. I don’t know if he is more deaf than I thought or just plain ignorant. Despite this, if I don’t act like I’m utterly captivated when he talks to me about things I have little interest in, he acts like I’ve slapped him in the face. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t a nasty person, he just doesn’t seem to want anything to do with us any more. Whenever he mentions anything to do with my mum, he doesn’t call her by her name, he just says “your mother”.

I spent so long in this house over the last 2 years, I barely left it for a long period of time and I think I’ve had enough of it for now. I don’t really feel like I belong anywhere. At home I’m still treated like a child, I don’t have any privacy and I can’t really get anywhere interesting from here without getting the bus. At university I’m the odd one out, the only one who doesn’t like getting drunk as cheaply, quickly and frequently as possible. It seems like I’ll never fit in anywhere, admittedly I am a strange person so that should probably be expected but it still doesn’t make it any less depressing.

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5 thoughts on “Coming Home

  1. I used to go home loads in the first part of uni. I felt bad living with the people I was living with, and used going home as a mistake. I lived a 3 hour train journey away. I see what you mean about ‘cheating’ but I think it doesn’t matter so long as it makes you feel a bit better. And even then, some people don’t even move out to go to uni (like my brother). I get fed up with my parents too, and after finishing uni have really been stuck here. I have been writing online to make money, and really don’t want to go out and get a ‘real life’ job, but it does get on my nerves and also make me feel anxious (a sort of anxiety that seems to happen for no reason other than being at my computer a lot/ not doing much apart from writing).

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  2. Hagel

    Finding your parents annoying when you’re at university is a rite of passage and a sign of mental good health.

    I wouldn’t beat myself up about hopping home at the weekends. You don’t have to make life as hard as you can. When you’re more integrated with your flatmates you might cut down on parental visits.

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  3. Actually, I agree with Hagel about not making life as hard as you can. Like you might have read about me volunteering on my blog. The main reason I do it is to ‘get out more’ and try to get over my fears. Sometimes I feel ok. Sometimes I find it hard to say no and end up doing quite a bit, and I just feel exhausted from the effort it takes (mental effort). Sometimes I think it is actually ok not to push yourself that far all the time.

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  4. Nick

    Thanks for the comments. I can see where you’re coming from, maybe it’s because I didn’t push myself at all for so long that I feel guilty about it now and am overcompensating. It’s hard to strike the right balance I guess.

    I think that I might stay in my house next year more than I do at the moment.

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  5. mary

    Hey, this is a crazy western idea- that you have to escape from your parents to develop your personality. I am bi-cultural and all my relatives in India never left home – some only when they got married. They are saner , happier , know their place in society and that they have a responsibilty to there family to do as well in life as possible. Most also have a valued place as of right- their parents position in the family- and know they are valued by others in the social circle. Sure there are some who are looked down upon but are still regarded as part of the group. And as the group is not just their (immature) peers but older more relaxed people it generally works better.

    I suggest you concentrate what you are really at university for- studying- and look forward to moving to a job where older kinder people will soften the self-obsession and competitiveness of a lot of younger people. It worked for me and I was like you at uni. Also try volunteering for something -you’ll feel good about yourself and the people are less competitive.

    I can’t say I am comfortable in all social situations but I’ve learnt to manage them. And if you have a faith it helps too -you try to please God and do good things rather than just have the nebulous good social time you feel everyone else is having and before you know it hey presto you’ll have friends who find you attractive because you care enough to put yourself out for others. Dont mean to sound preachy but I always feel good when I have helped others who need help with no thought of reward.

    Take care, you are a valuable and talented person- and bright to have got to university.
    Mary

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