CoMiNg OuT.

You hear so much about the celebrity coming out stories or the coming out stories that are in all of the LGBTQ+ films but I want to be show the coming out stories of the ordinary people that support my blog!

Hannah (21) – ” I was basically forced to come out because the people I trusted with the knowledge of my sexuality used it against me, threatening me with it when I was just 14/15 years old and still figuring myself out. After that it was just joke after joke, never taken seriously by anyone. The boy I started dating at 16 used to accuse me of cheating with my female friend. But I can happily say that now I’m so accepted by everyone around me even so they ask to learn more!”

Lucy (21) – ” I was brought up in a very religious environment where questioning your sexuality or being anything but cis & straight wasn’t really an option & being friends with anyone in the community was frowned on so I repressed any emotions that I had. I first started questioning my sexuality at 13 when I realised that I was REALLY attracted to women, more than just thinking they were beautiful in a platonic way. I couldn’t put a label on how I felt because I was still attracted to men too & because of my religious upbringing I only knew about the ‘lesbian/gay’ part of the community. It was until I’d began socialising with people outside of my religion and speaking to other members of the community that helped me come to terms with my sexuality and what it meant. So I started coming out to close friends and family members who it was safe for me to do so with at 15 and it was like a weight off my shoulders, but I stayed closeted with my parents until I was 19, I got kicked out of my family home & outed to people I wasn’t ready to be out to. Since then I grew to accept my sexuality, have the support of new and old frie4ends & have learned how to shut down my internalised homophobia.”

Harrison (21) – ” I told my dad I was dating my now long-term partner at the 84th birthday party of a family friend from my village…he was silent before starting to get emotional. I asked ‘is that okay?’ to which he simply replied; ‘I’m just glad you’re happy.'”

Casey (21) – “I was caught kissing my first girlfriend at 13 to which my mum left the room and poured herself a drink. I ran into the room unsure as to what I was going to face. My mum then turned around and asked me what I was. I replied ‘I don’t really know, I think I’m bisexual’ to which she replied ‘that’s disgusting, pick a side’. I thought coming out as bisexual would make her more accepting but I always knew I was a lesbian.”

Jess (23) – ” I was scared to come out to my dad as he wasn’t around much when I was younger and was in the army for most of my life. Instead when I told him he welcomed me with open arms and told me he loved me no matter what.”

Hollie (15) – “I used to play my sister ‘Coming Out’ by Ally Hills repeatedly. However looking back she was pretty clueless as to what I was trying to say and has only really just realised so many years on!”

Harrison (21) – “It was New Year’s Eve, I’d spent the evening working through telling my friends, a few at a time. By this point, a lot of us were quite drunk so I was enjoying making everyone cry happy tears. I took my best friend aside and told him…he replied, stony faced; ‘okay’. At first, I mistook this for disappointment we later worked out that it was his attempt to be unfazed by the news, to show he wouldn’t view me any differently, though he’d inadvertently come across slightly homophobic”.

Emily (22) – “I had a girlfriend for a couple months, and to be honestly I had no idea what I was feeling about it , but it 100% made me realise that I was bi. I didn’t tell my mum I was bi, I just said that I was seeing a girl. Everyone knows I’m bi now just because they saw me with my girlfriend at the time, I never really announced it which I think worked out best for me!”

Sula (20) – “I’m so confused about labels, but tend to identify as bisexual, but I only told my parents and sister last month despite being so open about it with anyone who asks/ people at uni. I hated the feeling that it has to be a big deal, and the idea of someone hugging me and saying they were proud of me for telling them just seemed like the worst thing. I didn’t want people to care.”

E (21) – “When I was 17, in the summer between first and second year sixth-form, I started on some antidepressants (was on them for around a year before but you just start drinking properly then) and little me didn’t think that alcohol would effect it. Bad move. So I was getting drunk every weekend and one week we went to a house party (I had already slept with 1 guy at this point) , I ended up sleeping with 3 people (2 guys, 1 girl). Yes I know it was bad but tablets and drinking don’t mix well. But I could tell the different between having sex with a girl and guys. It really made me think about my sexuality and then a couple of months down the line (after I’d have sex with a guy he turned out to be a nonce) I thought that I would come out as bisexual but I was really hesitant to do this because people called me gay when I was at school because I was never interested in having a boyfriend.
To prove my peers wrong, I decided to dress really feminine when this isn’t like me at all. I grew up in my cousins hand me downs and being so tall it was always the boys clothes that fitted me. Ever since I can remember I have always dressed and acted like a boy.
It took me until my first year of uni to come out as gay. I didn’t have the pressure of sixth form anymore and I could be me. I started coming out to friends as gay and most of them knew but were waiting for me to be comfortable. I can say the friends you make in the gay community can end up being like family. As for my parents, we went on holiday in July 2019 and my dad randomly asked me why me and ‘L’ aren’t together. I was friends with a lot of lads and ‘L’ is my best friend. And I replied to him ‘because ‘L’ is shit in relationships and I’m gay. He laughed and then told me to get up to the bar before last orders lol. But I knew he’d be okay with it because him and my mum had gay friends since they were young. But my mum is very clueless and she never asked. We’ve watched TV together and she’s said ‘he’s good looking’ and I’ve always said ‘he’s not my type, I prefer *the woman* and my mum still didn’t catch on. It look her until the census for her to realise that I was gay. My younger brother is my best friend so I tell him everything but he doesn’t seem to be bothered!
As my dad’s side of the family is Jamaican, even me dressing masculine offends some of them so I haven’t come out to my wider family on his side because there would be too much agro. However, my mum’s side of the family are really accepting!”

Abby (20) – “Pride month is a great time for members of the LGBTQ+ community to address how far we have come, as individuals and a community. However, pride is not always an easy time for everyone, from traumatic coming out stories, or a lack of acceptance that still may be present in people’s lives today. Luckily for me, my coming out was not necessarily traumatic. I was able to come out in my own time, to people I loved and trusted, at an age where I had plenty of time to come to terms with my own identity. I came out as bisexual at 19. It was not very dramatic, that’s just not my style, but I felt comfortable just telling those I was close to about my feelings for other gender identities.
However, after my coming out, I noticed a change in the way people would act with me. My behaviour remained the same, but people’s reactions to that behaviour was different. My close female friend began distancing herself from me, feeling uncomfortable in behaving as she normally would, perhaps for fears that I would ‘make a move on her’. When coming out to others there was often the assumption that I was a lesbian that was too scared to decide, or a straight girl that was just trying to experiment. This biphobia comes from within the community as well, making actually dating gay women a terrifying task, fearing rejection the minute they found out that you were bisexual. While I have had time to come to terms with my sexuality and feel comfortable enough in it to dissuade those fears, a large portion of my initial coming out was spent feeling like an imposter in my own community, like I didn’t belong because I didn’t fit in anywhere. However, these fears and feelings are not unique to me, they are experienced by many bisexual people.
If you are reading this post and find yourself relating to these feelings, you must know it will pass. Instead, focus on yourself, focus on internally accepting and embracing your sexual identity. No one can take that away from you. And, if you feel yourself experiencing these feelings again, just remind yourself that You. Are Valid!

OCDinyourtwenties.

Rainbow Washing.

As you may or may not know this blog is LGBTQ+ owned so pride month is a pretty big deal. I love the support and positivity that pride month can bring, however there is a toxic capitalist side that is often overlooked.

Rainbow washing can also be referred to as rainbow capitalism and is the commercialisation of Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. Each pride month companies put out rainbow logos, merchandise, and other goods to give the appearance of supporting the queer community. This can often be seen from your local Asda to political parties. This allows for brands, corporations and governments that don’t do tangible work to support the queer community at any other time of the year to slap a rainbow on top of a logo or merchandise in June and call it allyship.

You may be wondering why this is problematic. The problem isn’t that corporations are showing support for the LGBTQ+ community of course, but the fact that they only show this support one month out of the whole year. This rainbow washing also allows companies to profit off of the oppression that queer people face, without bothering to enact long term changes in their companies such as making it more LGBTQ+ friendly or donating to queer charities.

Many companies that have changed their logos and advertising in support of Pride month are known to have supported politicians that oppose LGBTQ+ rights. For example Walmart, Amazon and McDonalds have all donated to members of Congress who voted against the Equality Act and collectively they donated 1 million US dollars to the anti-LGBTQ+ politicians. However both Amazon and McDonalds were one of the first companies to show support for Pride Month on their social media. Most shockingly, only 64% of companies actually donate to LGBTQ+ communities whereby the purchasing power of Pride has made companies more than one trillion dollars annually.

Some of the many ways to spot rainbow washing are;
Toxic Positivity – many companies do not acknowledge that Pride is a protest and only talk about rainbows and happiness.
No queer representation – the company does not hire queer people nor feature queer advertisement outside of June.
Only allies in June – the company only focuses on LGBTQ+ issues in June and returns to normal at the end of the month.
No action – the company only uses Pride for profit and does not donate any funds to queer charities.
Lack of research – the company is not educated on queer issues and only uses simple phrases like “love is love” or “love wins” on merchandise.
Queerphobic history – the company has previously faced backlash for being homophobic, and only uses Pride to save face without taking any form of accountability.

I guess the point of this post is to make more people aware of the false support that these corporations are providing to the queer community when in fact they’re only exploiting them to make a profit. Instead look to smaller and more local businesses that are LGBTQ+ owned or support the LQBTQ+ community frequently.

OCDinyourtwenties.

Not EVERYONE is a “little bit OCD”.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition where sufferers experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. 1.2% of the population suffer from this debilitating mental health condition and therefore OCD needs to be removed from our day to day language. As Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has been shorted to OCD for ease, it has unfortunately been desensitised in the meanwhile. When people say that they are “so OCD”, what they often mean is that they like to be organised, clean or do something in a particular way. In other words, they use ‘OCD’ to describe a quirky personality trait which is a tremendous way to invalidate people suffering with OCD.

You often hear the saying “everyone is a little bit OCD at times” and as an OCD sufferer, this can be difficult to hear. I feel like my diagnosis with OCD has become a trend that everyone wants to have in order to be different. Hearing people say “I’m so OCD because my room always has to be tidy” is not only dismissive of OCD sufferers but actual mockery. OCD isn’t a quirky personality trait. OCD isn’t liking organisation and a clean bedroom. OCD isn’t having to wash your hands. In fact, this mental illness is characterised by intrusive thoughts and urges such as obsessions and followed by subsequent compulsions. There is nothing about OCD that is to like, it does not need to be glorified into a quirky personality trait.

Instead, we need to focus on changing our everyday language surrounding mental health. Whether that is changing our own speech or correcting someone else’s, there’s still a lot that needs to be done.

OCDinyourtwenties.

Guilt.

Since launching my blog on Friday, the feedback and interaction has been amazing! I have had many people reaching out to me wanting to blog anonymously and this work is therefore not my own. Any post that has this introduction at the top means that this work belongs to someone else, enjoy reading!

There is one thing I’ve always struggled with; having to be a parent to my own parent. Growing up I only really had my mum, who has always been selfish and reckless (whether this is choices about her relationships, jobs, or money). It’s only been since moving out I’ve noticed just how toxic this only parental figure is for me, but that’s what makes it hard. This woman is pretty much my only family but all she wants from me is money or someone to help her when she’s made another decision she can’t get herself out of.

Each morning I check my phone hoping to have a message from her, just about my day or what I’m up to. But never has she done that, I’m lucky if I get a message about anything other than sending her my phone contract money. It’s hard to feel worthy of someone’s love or attention when the person whose meant to love you the most hasn’t once told you they love you or offered any form of affection, this is toxic in itself.

I can’t even remember the first time it happened, but more times than I can count I have had to clean up her sick and take her to bed because I’ve found her on the floor crying, trying to do this without my two siblings seeing and getting stressed out was something that happened every week. Even once having to stop her setting the house on fire when she left the hob on, because she was crying into another bottle of vodka. She would shout everything under the sun at me, from the usual “fuck off” to calling me a “let down” or a “disgrace”. That was all quite rich coming from a woman covered in sick on the floor.

I’m not trying to make out she has a drinking problem because she doesn’t, she just turns to a bottle of vodka after another abusive boyfriend does something to upset her. Which is a constant in her life. One boyfriend after another, and they have progressively got worse over time. As a kid I was exposed to things I should never have seen or encountered at my age. Things she has never apologised for or explained, well she hasn’t even spoken about them.

People fear to recognise how toxic their parents are out of trying to respect them, but sometimes we just have to admit to ourselves that these figures in our life just bring negativity. I found that this is my own way of escaping the cycle of finding myself in toxic relationships that lack love, and mirror the way I have been treated by my mum.

It’s hard being stuck in between a space of feeling like you have to have a relationship with them because they are your parent, but also recognising and finally realising they really aren’t a nice person. This guilt is something I’ve just had to deal with in my life.

Anonymous.

Just a little thank you!

This post probably won’t stay up but I just want to thank each and every one of you! This post has only gone live tonight but the engagement it has had on all social media platforms is crazy! I honestly didn’t think that anyone would want to read something I had written and I was so nervous to post this, but each and everyone of you has made me realise just how important speaking about mental health is, especially in our twenties!

You’re all absolute gems, thank you so much ❤ xx

OCDinyourtwenties.

The Dreaded List.

For those of you who are wondering what obscured things were on the list that caused many break downs, please see the following…

  • TV off.
  • Shed door locked.
  • Log Cabin locked.
  • All lights downstairs to be
    switched off.
  • Toilet seats down.
  • All taps off in the house.
  • Hair straighteners off and
    unplugged at the wall.
  • Toaster switched off at plug.
  • Going to the toilet right before
    falling asleep.
  • Front door locked.
  • Back door locked.
  • Kettle switched off at plug.
  • All windows in the house to be closed.
  • Bedroom curtains to be closed properly with no light at all.
  • School bag packed and ready to go.
  • Clothes out and ready for school the next morning.
  • Car doors locked.
  • Computer switched off at plug.

I can 100% guarantee that this is only a quarter of what my list contained, but with it being 10 years on my memory isn’t exactly the best! The purpose of this post is to show that simple, everyday checks such as checking doors are locked can spiral into an overload of checks that consume you.

OCDinyourtwenties.

Misunderstood.

It all started during my parent’s divorce (as cliche as that sounds!). I was 11 years old when my parents separated and although I saw it coming, it had a significant impact on me that I have only just come to terms with 10 years on.

Whilst growing up, I had a very cereal box family. I had a mum who stayed home looking after me and my little sister, whilst my dad went to work. My dad did a lot of the jobs in the house that made me feel safe like locking the doors, ensuring everything was switched off. However, once he had left home, I subconsciously worried myself about who would keep us safe. At 11 years old I decided to take this on myself which is where it all began. To start off with I would check that the front doors were locked, that appliances were off downstairs, but then I found myself not being able to sleep without the fear of forgetting to do them. I then continually spiralled into an A4 page of checks; like making sure the bins were out, however they soon became ridiculous as I was needing to check that the shed door was locked or that my clothes were laid out perfectly for school the next day. I felt out of control, and was (unknown to me) having anxiety attacks.

The anxiety attacks embodied themselves in the form of shouting, screaming and uncontrollably crying. I felt so alone and like no one understood that I was just wanting to keep them safe. I didn’t understand why people were telling me off for being naughty or controlling. In my eyes, I was doing just what my dad had done. This built up the anxiety surrounding my lists and bedtime even more as I was encouraged to ignore the lists, the strong need to complete them and just go to sleep. For me looking back, the confiscation of my lists and the disapproval of my nightly checks started a lifetime of embarrassment.

Understandably, my mum was struggling with my nightly meltdowns and took me to the doctors to see what was happening. This is where I was let down. I was not seen as a little girl struggling with OCD, instead I was seen as a naughty child playing up because her parents had separated. My GP encouraged punishment for completing my lists. For example, if I cried and shouted to mum about needing to check the doors were locked, I was to be grounded, not go to after school clubs and miss out on Irish dancing (my favourite thing at the time)! As my OCD was not improving and the checks were still overtaking my life I was referred to CAHMS where instead of understanding what I was struggling with, I was made to feel embarrassed about the content of my list. CAHMS for some might be a god send but for me it was a contributor to my feelings of shame behind my OCD. Of course at the time I wasn’t aware that it was OCD that I was struggling with, but as an organisation that claims to support young children and adolescents with mental health they did nothing but leave me in a state of confusion.

It was earlier this year that I was formally diagnosed with OCD and for me being able to label these obsessions and compulsions, weirdly gave me a sense of relief. I know for some a diagnosis such as OCD may seem scary, but for once in my life everything finally made sense. I no longer innately felt like the naughty child from when I was 11 who had to hide their compulsions or be disciplined. But instead was discovering the support I have always needed. Fortunately, my experience with my GP at 21 was a very positive one. It’s comforting to know that over a decade on there has been more research into the struggles that OCD can conflict. Despite this, I was still faced with stereotypes and misunderstandings from the media and those around me.

To round this up, I want to write this blog to raise awareness for everything OCD including everything from obsessions, relationships to medication. If you’ve made it this far and you’re still interested, I will be posting as much as I can so stay tuned!! Not only is this to develop people’s understanding, but this is a way to discover my own mental health journey.

OCDinyourtwenties.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started