Obsessive Compulsive Advantage: My Journey To 3A*s and Mental Wellbeing Watch

shreyaa02
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Hey, A-level student here. What convinced me to join GYG is the positive community here and everyone trying to do their best in the emotional marathon that is GCSE/A-level/Uni/insert other educational milestone here. The hope is to come out with 3A*s and a life free of OCD and clinical depression. This will help me get into the course of my dreams: English Literature. So here's the background info...

GCSE (i.e. back in the day when I had my stuff somewhat together)
7A*s and 3As
Spoiler:
Show



English Literature - A*
English Language - A*
Maths - 9
French - A*
History - A*
Physics - A*
Chemistry - A *
Biology - A
Computer Science - A
ICT - A

AS Level (terrifying but made it in the end)
4 As (highest you can get is an A)
Spoiler:
Show

English Literature: A
History: A
French: A
Psychology: A

A Level (the mental health drama year)
Predicted grades for my subjects:
French - A*
English Literature - A*
History - A

My AS results got me the predicted grades I wanted for my university choices. Except now I wasn't in a place to work toward them: almost every other day, I would have a breakdown - and it soon became extremely difficult to concentrate in class or after school. Took a week off school; it helped somewhat. And even if recovery takes a bit longer than a week, my A-levels aren't going to wait around.

With a great support network, whether that's friends, family, or even GYG, I'm going to give it my best shot: 4 months to go, 3 A*s. Let's see where we get. Sometimes we pass off mental health as something we don't have time for, maybe we even ignore it more than physical health. But I think I've learnt that both of these are the basis for everything else I do - not taking care of it comes at a more significant price than you can imagine.
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nyxnko_
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Best of luck! :rave: which A-levels are you taking?
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shreyaa02
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
Best of luck! :rave: which A-levels are you taking?
Hey! Thanks for replying to my thread. Didn't have much time to write my introduction at first. Have a look at my updated post!
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nyxnko_
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(Original post by shreyaa02)
Hey! Thanks for replying to my thread. Didn't have much time to write my introduction at first. Have a look at my updated post!
:thumbsup:
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shreyaa02
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22/12/18 - 24/12/18
The morning tends to be a challenge - studying means high anxiety, and anxiety means I'm going to procrastinate here and there until I get into the zone. But the medication makes it much easier for me to face the anxiety (and in the long run, it will help me return to a normal life, let's hope).

This morning, I studied A level history (Tudors). Here's my petit plan:
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Thanks to Tudor history being Tudor history (and my incredible time estimation skills), I only managed to complete most of Q1. But it's something! It would be better if I could find a more efficient way to study Tudor History. It's a lot of information to remember, and it also has to be well chosen, and used in an effective argument. That's why I've decided to use past paper questions and make notes in answer to the question - sort of like exam technique and note taking rolled into one.
I went out with family in the evening. The highlight of the evening was touching a stray dog (there are lots of them in India, as you can imagine) much to the annoyance of my family. Apparently many of them have rabies, ticks, can bite etc...but they're so cute and lonely looking! Had another breakdown in the night and didn't eat much. Thankfully I have a very supportive friend who I chatted to in the night, and watching a bit of good old nigahiga cheered me up - hopefully, I'll get some work done tomorrow.
23/12/18
After about half an hour of procrastination on YouTube, I finished up the answer to Specimen Question Paper Question 1 and started on the knowledge question (Question 2 and 3). Today was a good day overall. I didn't study in the evening again because I went out with family.
24/12/18
The joys of revising Tudor foreign policy... revision for the knowledge question
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shreyaa02
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25-27/12/2018
Okay, quick update after Christmas. The good news is that I'm not dead, or failing, or infected with rabies from touching stray dogs. The slightly less opptimistic news is that I have had a difficult past few days (mostly because of breakdowns, especially in the evenings - irrationally blaming myself for unfortunate events among people I know, breaking down, being desperate for reassurance, acting on my compulsions...). I did manage to get some work done when I could though.

With History, I've done a reasonable amount of notes on Henry VII's consolidation of power, and I'm halfway through Henry VIII's foreign policy. The mock exam is on the 9th of Jan, and I have about 5 days free out of around a week that I have left of the winter holidays. I am not entirely sure where I am going to fit in studying about the rest of HVII, HVIII, Edward and Mary - but I'll sort something out! I think? Frankly, I have no clue but I guess it'll have to be studying one ruler per day.

This morning I was trying to do English coursework. The good thing is that I've decided what I want to, which is plan out my essay again for the next draft. The blocks of text of my first draft are incredibly overwhelming and make me procrastinate because the words seem to swim on my screen - not making actual sense, let alone forming a coherent A* essay. Then looking at all the markschemes and exemplar answers terrifies me even more because I then want to start all over again and build up the "perfect essay" - I mean at a ridiculous level, where I would go and read all of George Eliot's books to form an opinion of her canon and then begin to write my comparison essay on Middlemarch and Brick Lane (I'm not giving into you Perfectionism OCD!). I didn't actually get any work properly done in the morning, so I'm here now trying to catch up - except I promised myself to catch up after I did my TSR GYG update. So yes, now I'm going to do some coursework for 2 hours, not get worked up about perfection, just clarifying the ideas and then getting them done.

UPDATE: I did not get any work done that evening. The reason was that I got stuck researching Victorian conventions of marriage and obsessing over whether I need to cite it or not. So much for "not getting worked up about perfection"! I'm trying again today (28/12/2018). This time I am going to use Pomodoro timing to ensure I don't get carried away with one thing for hours.

Thanks for reading!
shreyaa02
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shreyaa02
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28/12/2018 - Getting There I think my medication has started to take effect at this point - I started taking a therapeutic dose in late November, so it's about time. It makes me quite grateful that medication can alleviate OCD and depression to some extent, although practicing gratitude and looking forward is helping me hugely in keeping up the fight.
I really recommend a few TED talks - I would like to become an educator in the future so these were very relevant and inspiring to me:
1) Every Kid Needs a Champion by Rita F. Pierson
2) How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard by Linda Cliatt-Wayman

Will update soon with more details of the work I have completed today. So far, I've made some progress on that English Coursework (meaning I replanned and rewrote the introduction, which isn't the most efficient of achievements, but it's better than nothing!)
Thanks for reading
shreyaa02
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sqrt of 5
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(Original post by shreyaa02)
Hey, A-level student here. What convinced me to join GYG is the positive community here and everyone trying to do their best in the emotional marathon that is GCSE/A-level/Uni/insert other educational milestone here. The hope is to come out with 3A*s and a life free of OCD and clinical depression. This will help me get into the course of my dreams: English Literature. So here's the background info...

GCSE (i.e. back in the day when I had my stuff somewhat together)
7A*s and 3As
Spoiler:
Show




English Literature - A*
English Language - A*
Maths - 9
French - A*
History - A*
Physics - A*
Chemistry - A *
Biology - A
Computer Science - A
ICT - A


AS Level (terrifying but made it in the end)
4 As (highest you can get is an A)
Spoiler:
Show


English Literature: A
History: A
French: A
Psychology: A


A Level (the mental health drama year)
Predicted grades for my subjects:
French - A*
English Literature - A*
History - A

My AS results got me the predicted grades I wanted for my university choices. Except now I wasn't in a place to work toward them: almost every other day, I would have a breakdown - and it soon became extremely difficult to concentrate in class or after school. Took a week off school; it helped somewhat. And even if recovery takes a bit longer than a week, my A-levels aren't going to wait around.

With a great support network, whether that's friends, family, or even GYG, I'm going to give it my best shot: 4 months to go, 3 A*s. Let's see where we get. Sometimes we pass off mental health as something we don't have time for, maybe we even ignore it more than physical health. But I think I've learnt that both of these are the basis for everything else I do - not taking care of it comes at a more significant price than you can imagine.
How's French A level? I wanna do it next year
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laurawatt
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:hugs: glad the meds are working (to an extent )
well done for doing the history! and i'm sure your 3A*s are very much achievable :yep:
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SJW-
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damn u might get those grades but gonna take years off life studying like a mad man
whats the plan for ur degree? seems like ur go to uni go to uni go to uni without much consideration of the goal after uni and whether u could get there without a degree. and 3/4 years of great work experience
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shreyaa02
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(Original post by sqrt of 5)
How's French A level? I wanna do it next year
I've found French A-Level to be a great choice - I do AQA. I think it helps to have a language if you're thinking of studying History/English Literature/a similar essay-based subject since you get a much better understanding of grammar, essay writing and a wider understanding of issues that affect European countries. And if your A-level choices align more with STEM subjects, French can be your 4th A-level to add a bit of variety (I know someone who's doing it this way) - except you do need to be extremely good at managing your time and have a natural ability for languages.

But I would recommend having an A* at GCSE because I found the difficulty level quite a jump from GCSE/AS - they're a lot less forgiving with grammar mistakes in essays for example. Otherwise, it's great for giving you a break from some of the more heavy-duty subjects (e.g. History/Sciences/Math) and the A-level topics are a lot more interesting than the ones that you do at AS.

(Original post by laurawatt)
:hugs: glad the meds are working (to an extent )
well done for doing the history! and i'm sure your 3A*s are very much achievable :yep:
Thank you! Yes, still surviving history (somehow). Fingers crossed...

(Original post by SJW-)
damn u might get those grades but gonna take years off life studying like a mad man
whats the plan for ur degree? seems like ur go to uni go to uni go to uni without much consideration of the goal after uni and whether u could get there without a degree. and 3/4 years of great work experience
Why do you think studying is "taking years off life like a mad man"? It's not always the most exciting of things to do, but it will help me to get the qualifications I need to become a teacher and touch the lives of adults in the making (hopefully). It would be a struggle to get there without a degree and I like how studying empowers me.
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SJW-
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(Original post by shreyaa02)
I

Why do you think studying is "taking years off life like a mad man"? It's not always the most exciting of things to do, but it will help me to get the qualifications I need to become a teacher and touch the lives of adults in the making (hopefully). It would be a struggle to get there without a degree and I like how studying empowers me.
cos of the stress the anxiety of studying so hard and the pressure to hit all those grades. its good to aim to be successful but not at expense of ur health. in my expereince during uni in many occasions was studying like crazy sickening work ethic gotta get this gotta do that no matter what and it really wasnt doing any favours. i took a diffrent approach for final semester which i should have done all along and that was studying smarter instead of harder. i walked into final exams calmly like i got this instead of the bs before
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okurr123
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Hey, I do French A level too and I see you’re predicted an A* ! How did you get this prediction? You must be amazing at French! At my school it’s so hard to get an A* prediction, they only predict to the native speakers, so I’m predicted an A but I guess I will still aim for A*. Best of luck with your exams!
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shreyaa02
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UPDATE 30/12: Thanks for reading so far. I'll be updating once every week from now on because of school and other commitments. Happy new year in advance!

(Original post by SJW-)
cos of the stress the anxiety of studying so hard and the pressure to hit all those grades. its good to aim to be successful but not at expense of ur health. in my expereince during uni in many occasions was studying like crazy sickening work ethic gotta get this gotta do that no matter what and it really wasnt doing any favours. i took a diffrent approach for final semester which i should have done all along and that was studying smarter instead of harder. i walked into final exams calmly like i got this instead of the bs before
Yeah, I think you're right there. That's part of the reason, I think, that I've ended up with anxiety and depression. But I'm terrible at studying smarter because of the OCD perfectionism etc. - trying to get better at that .

(Original post by okurr123)
Hey, I do French A level too and I see you’re predicted an A*! How did you get this prediction? You must be amazing at French! At my school it’s so hard to get an A* prediction, they only predict to the native speakers, so I'm predicted an A but I guess I will still aim for A*. Best of luck with your exams!
Hey! Your school might be a little stricter than mine. The thumb rule one of the teachers in our sixth form's leadership team suggested was to get more than 90% raw marks in the exam to have a decent chance of getting an A* prediction at A-level, which I did. But I don't remember doing anything out of the ordinary in my revision - doing lots of grammar worksheets, keeping up with homework, doing extra research about French-speaking countries for the speaking questions/immersion e.g. reading French newspapers, or listening to French videos, plus past papers were my main ways of revising. There's a website called BonjourdeFrance which is also good for practising French through practice exercises. Best of luck with your exams too!
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shreyaa02
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UPDATE w/c 24/12 - 31/12/2018: Learning How to Çharge into Work and the New Year!!!

Things were very different this time last year. I'm grateful for what happened between then and now, but I've come away realising how stress factors pile up and can eventually push you over the line into depression/OCD. But I don't frankly know if I would have done anything different if I went through it all again - probably being less self-critical, taking breaks and doing more to not get attached to people. It's difficult for me - I find that I want to hold on to people and their love - but I have no control over how others behave and that kind of mentality just means that I go through a miserable mental drama when things don't match up to my expectations.

Also I am a consistent victim of writer's block, so I was looking around for a solution and I found this article below. In summary, the point of it is that you have to keep putting words on the page and resist that terrible feeling of doubt eating away inside you that such and such sentence is not 'perfect'. That's much easier to do on TSR than for my English coursework! But I'm still massively behind schedule because I have that coursework editing overdue, history mock exam revision for America that I haven't even started yet, french questions and oh yes, did I mention the EPQ that I haven't touched since the summer holidays?

OCD perfectionism isn't doing any favours to this list, but the technique that the guy suggests works for me to some extent. It's a fight to stay on top of it all. When I feel down/like I'm dragging myself through life, I question myself about whether I'm doing my best and whether I'm a little better than yesterday. That sounds like a line out of an extremely cheesy motivational speech, but honestly, it keeps me going.

Hope y'all have a happy new year!
:party:
ARTICLE:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...-writers-block
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a-rose02
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Hi, just seen this thread. Those predicted grades are amazing! What degree is it you’re thinking of applying for? And how is French A-Level going? Honestly wish I took French now, doing all STEM subjects and wish I had something to give me variety 😕
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shreyaa02
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(Original post by a-rose02)
Hi, just seen this thread. Those predicted grades are amazing! What degree is it you’re thinking of applying for? And how is French A-Level going? Honestly wish I took French now, doing all STEM subjects and wish I had something to give me variety 😕
Hey, thanks for reading! I'm thinking of applying for BA English Lit. I worked hard for my AS levels (to get those predicted grades) but burned out in year 13, so I'm trying to get back on track. French A level is fun, and it's easier to do well in than English Literature or History. It can get a bit hectic doing only subjects from one academic field (like with mine, everything centers around humanities and I miss science). But you can always learn a language in your free time, with duolingo and what not on the Internet
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shreyaa02
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08/01/2019
Update #3: The All-important Months
Confession time. I am just not doing what I need to be right now - actions and intent aren't matching up. Some things have gone well - coming back to school and seeing friends, my English teacher saying that my coursework is likely to get full marks, and getting work done in my free periods today.
But (there's always a but, my psychiatrist says)...
1) I spent all my free periods chatting to friends on the first day back
2) I spent all my free periods doing art the next day (around 4 hours - to make a bookmark remembering my friend's dog who passed away over the weekend. Don't even ask why...it was just a moment of inspiration that I couldn't resist in favor of my A-level priorities)
Today I've managed to do some work in the lovely open-air garden spaces that our college has set up but I ended up editing a draft of my coursework in too much detail again. What happens I think is that I lose track of what my goal actually is, and a few edits here and there snowballs into an intense review-and-proofreading-and-this-has-to-be-Harvard-level project. This is why Pomodoro timers with clear tasks to do are so important for me. And...to top it off, I got a B in my English Literature mock, after which I got into an argument with my parents about whether I've been trying hard enough on my A-levels! Such is life - hoping to pull myself back together and make a fresh start tomorrow.
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nyxnko_
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:console: Hopefully, you'll have been more productive the next time you update :yes:
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:hugs:
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