“I am content now and I want to help others reach this point.”

My name is Lauren and I’m 18 years old. I always felt different and struggled to fit in at school. I did unusual things like collecting number plates and memorizing detailed facts about tsunamis and I didn’t know why other people didn’t do things like this.

Lauren & her mom.

As I got older and went to secondary school things got more difficult for me. I was bullied, and the more I tried my best to fit in, the more it was clear that I wasn’t getting it right. My mental health deteriorated which is very personal and I still find difficult to talk about. I found it increasingly difficult to attend school and was referred for mental health support. It was through this that I was eventually diagnosed with autism when I was 16. I have also been diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety, depression and trauma related to bullying.

I moved away from my hometown to a different city with my family to get a fresh start. I’m still on the journey of coming to terms with everything I endured, but I decided that I had to channel my experiences and make something good out of them.

I am still struggling to attend college but I’m trying to make a positive difference through supporting charities. I had all my hair shaved off to be donated to The Little Princess Trust for children who have lost their hair due to cancer,

and when I filled 24 shoe boxes for the Shoe Box appeal last Christmas.

Last year, when I was 17, I came up with an idea of starting a business which aims to promote self-expression and acceptance in everybody, and is particularly aimed at young people going through similar experiences.

I have developed my own brand of customizable clothing and accessories which enables people to express themselves and celebrates diversity. The brand is called Obsydian and the name is derived from the gem stone obsidian which is said to have healing qualities.

I recently launched www.obsydian.net  and I am keen for people to find out about my brand. I would love people to visit my website and follow Obsydian on social media. I am making regular donations to Young Minds, a charity which supports young people with mental health difficulties in the UK.

I am gaining strength through reaching out to a wonderful community of people with autism and mental health difficulties, and it is great to know that we are not alone.

Author, Lauren

Lauren is 18 and based in the UK. At 16, she was diagnosed with Autism and severe anxiety. After years of being bullied at school Lauren is now content with herself and wants to help others reach the same point. She launched Øbsydian, a customizable clothing and accessories brand which promotes diversity, expression and self-acceptance. To learn more, please visit www.obsydian.net 
You can also follow Lauren on Instagram @obsydianofficial