“I found the courage to discuss it”

Starting Uni can be a tough enough experience without having to deal with mental health issues. I started my course in September 2010 after taking a gap year. I’ve suffered with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (with varying severity) for about 10 years now and had to endure various ‘talking therapies’ and having to take drugs regularly.

 

Coming to uni was particularly hard at first. Not only did the obsessive thoughts and rituals that I have to go through become much more important to my everyday life, but I felt that I had to hide that side of my personality away from my flatmates and new friends in order to avoid being labeled a ‘freak’ or ‘mental’. I ended up feeling like I had two different lives at Uni: one where I was outgoing, friendly and perfectly ‘normal'; and the other, where I hid away certain behaviours and beliefs that were causing such problems for me because I wanted to fit in with others in my new life at Manchester.

 

After a while (and after my flatmates remarked on some odd habits I had), I found the courage to discuss it with them. They’ve been really understanding and done their best to help where they can. It’s not easy by any means, but helps a lot. I think the advice I would give is to not hide away completely. Find someone you can trust to talk things over with and see if they can help. It definitely helped me an awful lot just being able to talk everything over with my new flatmates and it allowed me to relax more around them and we’ve all become really close friends. Life is for living, don’t let mental health problems get in the way


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