“I am diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Health Anxiety (Hypochondria) and GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder). From a young age (I am now 19) I have struggled with my mental health but it wasn’t until I was 14 that I realised what was happening to me and was able to tell someone. If you don’t know already, OCD is a disorder which causes someone to have a constant stream of obsessions (thoughts) and compulsions (behaviours) which can affect anything from daily life, relationships, eating, socialising, concentration, sleep ect. The worse it gets, the more it interferes with your ability to function in everyday things, like leaving the house, having relationships, going to work or school.
OCD can become so debilitating and so intense that its hard to tell what’s part of the disorder and what is actually part of real life. For me, it became almost impossible for me to tell what was an obsessional thought and what was actually true. OCD would convince me that things were happening, going to happen or could happen and I would have to do things to stop them from happening all the time. This isolated me in more ways than one. It gives you this feeling of constantly being unsafe, in danger and needing to ‘fix’ it. OCD mixed with also having health anxiety (always being anxious and severely worried about your health) made things feel terrifying all the time.
I felt exhausted from constantly trying to deal with the thoughts inside my head. I still do some days but things aren’t as bad as they used to be. The worst part of being mentally ill of course is the symptoms that come with it but what makes it even worse was the lack of mental health support in the area I live in. Across the UK, especially for young people, this is a countywide issue and something that hasn’t really changed since I was a 14 year old girl desperately trying to get into mental health services. That was almost 6 years ago. To me this was so frustrating and I wanted to do something about it.
When I was 17, I started The Positive Page with the aim to build a community that helps to communicate mental health to those who don’t understand it by giving those suffering a voice. I work towards this goal every day by building The Positive Page in the hope that mentally ill people feel understood. I am happy to say that, as of right now, I have been in therapy for a while. I am still very up and down at the moment I am doing okay and I am grateful for that. I still have a lot of the scary thoughts inside my mind most days but I now can manage them a lot better and healthier. There were so many times where I thought I w0uld never say that and if you’re thinking the same thing then I want you to know that there is still hope. Please don’t give up even if it feels hopeless, there is a way forward. Things can get easier.”
We are so excited for our new segment called Meet the Mental Health Artist. Every fourth Tuesday we will share a story from a Mental Health Artist, where you’ll hear about their journey, how they got to where they are now and how creating (whether through music, graphic design, writing, painting etc) has helped/helps them through different mental health issues.
As well as this, we will have IG Stories Takeover in the week of when their story goes up with each artist, where you will be able to see more of what they get up to/behind the scenes, ASK any questions you may have about their creative media/work/inspirations/healing etc & get answers from them and generally, find out more about them, what they do and tips they have for maintaining their mental health.
Lauren will be doing an Instagram Story Takeover on the 24th of September on our Instagram account, so make sure to tune into our stories that day – and if you miss it, you will be able to catch up with it in our Highlights on Instagram.
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