All of my life I have had OCD. As a kid I would have to arrange pillows in a certain way. I would have to run and touch the living room door over and over again but it wasn’t until around 17 when I really started to notice and it started to affect my life.
Around the age of 17, I got so so scared of germs that I would wash my hands after touching basically, anything. I would obsessively wash them with so much soap that my hands were constantly cut, bleeding and sore, I describe it as like having lots of paper cuts all over my hands.
My germ problem started to affect my life in so many ways, I would put off going places, such as seeing friends, going clubbing, going to the pub, going bowling, playing football that has always been one of my biggest loves! And much more. My mood would be all over the place, I would get snappy and frustrated, it would affect me being my jokey fun and outgoing self. My OCD started getting worse and caused me anxiety and depression and this all just made it even worse. I would start having to do simple actions over and over again until I felt I’d done it perfectly such as, putting my toothbrush away, getting a drink, getting dressed, texting someone or even saying certain words, I felt like an absolute weirdo and wasn’t coping very well at all.
At the age of 16, I got into my first and basically only relationship. I was so so young as I still am, but a lot younger, and the girl was my first and only love. She was my best friend and was always there for me through all of my struggles. She was there from the start, always understood me and was always there for me. Throughout the relationship, I was up and down, as I said my OCD would determine what kind of mood I was in. Sometimes I couldn’t make her laugh, I could barely hold a conversation with her. I always felt bad that she was with me because I felt she could be with anyone but she was with a loser like me, a broken guy who hates himself and is going nowhere.
I was sometimes miserable around her and tried putting off seeing her as I just couldn’t cope so much of the time. I was so lost, but she stuck by me. We were together for 5 years and she was at university but almost done for the summer. We had planned our summer together and I was actually really looking forward to it but just the night before she was meant to leave and come back to mine she cheated on me and this lead to the end of our relationship. This also lead me to completely break as I was still struggling badly with my OCD and now I’d lost the girl I loved, my best friend and due to cheating which just shattered my trust and self-worth completely.
My mental health just spiraled after this, my depression was awful as was my anxiety and my OCD. For the next year, I would struggle to work. I cried daily, I couldn’t eat and lost a lot of weight. I hated myself completely and blamed myself. There wasn’t a second of any day where I could relax. I’d sometimes be stuck in the same spot for hours and not be able to move until I do what my OCD wanted me to perfectly. This would cause me to feel sick, anxious and have awful headaches, I stopped being able to communicate much and had to stop working for months. I honestly didn’t want to be alive for a long time.
With the help of therapy which I started where I learnt so many brilliant tactics and coping mechanisms and the help of some medication that I started taking that I actually currently still take I just got all of this motivation. I thought Andy you’re a creative guy and always have been, and I know how bad mental health is these days especially with young men around my age so I decided to create my own street-style clothing brand aimed at mental health.
The clothing brand started me on my fashion and mental health journey, I would research everything I needed to know on YouTube such as how to start a clothing brand, how to grow on social media, Men’s fashion, fashion blogs, mental health advice and so on. I thought if I’m going to get this clothing brand out there I need to have at least a few thousand followers on social media so I took inspiration from my favourite Men’s fashion content creators, brought a DSLR camera, started paying for Lightroom and got started! I’d noticed that mental health on these kinds of pages just wasn’t really a thing so I created my men’s fashion page to be very different!
I made it as much about mental health as about fashion and made my captions as real as they get. I talk about exactly how I feel, exactly what I struggle with or stories of what I’ve been through and I do this because I know I would have loved to read this stuff when I was at my worst! This has been the most amazing thing as so many people have contacted me telling me how much I’ve helped them and it’s the most amazing feeling in the world to know that I’m making a difference and actually helping people even in a tiny way! I had managed to gain around 5000 followers in a year and I was so proud of this and couldn’t quite believe it!
However, one day near the start of the first lockdown my Facebook got hacked and as a result, I completely lost that Instagram account that I had worked continuously on for a whole year, I put so so many hours into it, wrote hundreds of heartfelt captions and posted hundreds of outfits and just like that I’d lost it all! This once again caused me to get very depressed, but I used all of the tactics I’d learnt at therapy and from myself and I made sure to keep going!
I then focused on getting my YouTube made and then got right back to starting again with my Instagram! It’s now been just over a year since I started again and I have managed to surpass 5000 followers, I’ve been featured on Topman, Riverisland and H&M and am getting so many opportunities all of the time! I’m not saying these things to brag because that’s not me, I’m writing this because I never gave up!
I had an idea and a dream and I got started on the journey towards that dream and I’m on that journey now and I couldn’t be happier! I have never been happier! I want anyone who is reading this to know that you are amazing! You may be in an awful place and may see no way out but trust me there is!
You are so strong and are going to get through this! My advice is to find what you love and enjoy most and do that and work on making your dreams come true because you can 100% do this! Just make sure you help others who struggle along the way and always be kind and genuine! Be real and you’ll build a massive beautiful community full of amazing people who all help each other!
This is my journey so far and it’s only just started! Thank you for reading! Never give up! You are amazing!