THE AUTHORS OF
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE FILTER

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Adam Essabih-Eddafali

If a single person reads my story and it helps them in some way, it was worth writing. I write about a lot of things I’ve never said out loud because I think it’s important to try and help someone in a similar situation. My advice to anyone reading this - if you don’t back yourself no one else will. You have to fight against imposter syndrome and believe in your capabilities, and it’s up to you to push yourself and grow professionally

Adam Essabih-Eddafali

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Alexandra Garton

I wanted to share my story as a reminder to others that the bad times don't last forever. It's easy to lose hope, but even the worst times absolutely will pass.  I hope that in the future mental health is considered a bigger part of overall health and wellbeing than it is currently. Just like physical health, we have to tend to our mental health all of the time (whether we realise it or not) and make sure we get the help we need to sustain it. My advice to anyone reading this would be, to keep pushing forwards, keep learning and growing, and you'll keep progressing. It feels slow, but we grow and change every single day, so never give up.

Alexandra Garton

  • LinkedIn
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Angela Thomas

Education is taught in everyday life and not just within the classroom, through things you go through, people you meet and books you read. You learn about your resilience, your triggers, your ability to keep going.

Angela Thomas

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Arbaz Kamran

International students or students from different countries don't have to feel alienated by the level of social skills and the academic knowledge required to live their life in the UK. I just wanted to let them know that, it's okay to feel that way and if I can do it, they can do it.

Arbaz Kamran

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Aishah Siddeeqa

I wrote this chapter for readers like me, perpetually anxious and very unsure of whether they could find a space within which they would fit. I hope my story will make things easier for just one person. I’m not so sure about my plans for the future, but I do know a little bit more about my worth and what I can do. I hope this chapter will help a few other square pegs begin to understand their worth too.

Aishah Siddeeqa

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Anthony Jones

I have always known the importance of shared experiences between people, it is part of our human experience to feel better when we know that we are not alone in our troubles or in any state we find ourselves in life, whether it be positive or negative. By sharing our stories we can therefore connect at a more fundamental level.  My hope for the future is for people to acknowledge that, for lack of a better word ‘one size does not fit all’. We live in a world where society no longer is purely one race or culture, but more so a mixture of not only genes and races, but also experiences. We never know what people are going through, or even have gone through to be where they are, and we should bare this in mind when interacting with one another.

Anthony Jones

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Aysel Salieva

I decided to share my story because I wanted to encourage young people that you can still achieve anything you set your mind to no matter where you come from and the struggles you face.  I like this chapter to bring hope to someone in a hopeless situation and think that there is no way out. In the future, I am hoping to be able to share my story with more people. I want to be a voice of hope and encouragement for other people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. My advice for anyone reading this - Dream big! You can be anything you want to be, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to!

Aysel Salieva

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Brandy Ngo

Brandy Ngo

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I decided to share my story as I don’t usually express my feelings, especially the negative ones; it seems like we always have to present the best versions of ourselves to the world. At times, it can be overwhelming having to constantly fake it to the world, whether this be on social media or to plain family and friends. I wanted to share my different life experience so those who can relate know they are not alone. I hope they can find comfort in reading my story, feeling lost is entirely fine and shouldn’t be viewed as a weakness or something to hide.

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Cody Croxall

Cody Croxall

  • LinkedIn

Not everything in life is perfect. It’s how you deal with it that defines you. “Just remember for others to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself.” That’s my biggest tip for anyone.

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I have always had a dark sense of humour, so I find that laughing when things go wrong – no matter how terrible they are – is one of my coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, I got dropped from therapy when I turned 20, due to funding being cut. This felt like such a low blow, like nobody cared about me, just as I started to speak out about my past traumas. Thankfully, my university had a mental health service I was able to access. I started noticing behaviours I had learnt as a child come to the surface – I knew that something needed to change. I still managed to achieve a First-Class Honours – one of my biggest achievements! Told ya it would all be reyt.

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Chérie Bosama 

I wanted to share my story is to give someone out there hope. When I was going through a difficult period, there wasn’t anyone that I could relate to or someone who had gone through a similar path to myself and it was a very lonely journey. But all I wanted in that moment in time was hope. Hope that the hard days won’t last always, hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I’m finally at point where I’m happier and ready to encourage others to keep pushing on because they will definitely make it at the happy place that they want to be in.  

Chérie Bosama 

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Dominic Brown

I wanted to share my story with the others, as I felt like this would be an opportunity for me to expand my skills and portfolio, whilst discovering how I perceived my experiences; in a way for the readers to also understand their own journey of discovery and to allow me to appreciate my own. My hope is to continue to commit to and complete projects that expand my skills or further me on my journey of growth. In addition, I hope this is a starting point for more opportunities that will guide me in my career. If an opportunity comes your way, take advantage of it, even if you can’t see the clear value at the time, because it may benefit may you in the long term.

Dominic Brown

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Ben Simmons

I think it is important for others struggling to know that others are. No matter how severe their story is that they can continue. And it's important to be able to read those stories and feel empowered. I was wronged at university and want others feeling similar that it is not unheard of.  Sharing stories of trauma is beneficial not only to the person sharing the story but also to others that may have not told theirs yet. It can be a way to help yield the feeling of shame. It can help the memory become less triggering, you can overcome and master the trauma, you can make sense of the trauma and begin to heal and grow. Talking to people can have a wonderful benefit to those that have experienced trauma like myself

Ben Simmons

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Ciara Martin

when my parents split up and later when I dropped out of university, I knew no one else who had been through those experiences. I felt incredibly alone, if my chapter helps just one person who is going through something similar – I will feel extremely proud and happy. I also want young people to know it’s ok if you don’t know your set academic/career path, its completely normal to figure it out as you go along. I hope that my story reaches the right people, those students/graduates who are struggling with mental health and life aspirations but also for employers/institutions to read my chapter and realise how they can support young people.

Ciara Martin

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Dominic Mensah

Sharing my experiences and what I've learned is always something I enjoy doing as it can be so beneficial to the person listening/reading and it's a good chance for me to reflect too.  To anyone reading this, try and take a little something from every chapter and apply it to your journey through life. Most importantly, enjoy the ride and never wish the time away - once it's gone, it's gone!

Dominic Mensah

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Eleanor Feek

I chose to share parts of my experience to regain control over the narrative of my life. I wanted to highlight the impacts of the journey that so many women face and shine a light on the experiences of women in university. I haven’t felt able to share my whole story but what I have felt able to share has been incredibly liberating.  My advice to anyone reading - Do everything in your power to regain control over your own story. Allow yourself to feel whatever pain you need to to grow and flourish. You are in control of your own power and your own story, no one and no event can change this.

Eleanor Feek

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Finlaye Johnson

I decided to share my story, due to the belief I hold that we all have something to learn from someone whether good or bad. I am a person that is willing to inspire people to help change themselves and their lives if they want to. Because I went through experiences that changed me for the better to the point where I have reached happiness, a healthy mental state, content, and comfort within myself. It’s amazing to know that it can be shared on the same if not higher scale. Because I have always wanted to help people and this is one way, to share a unfamiliar perspective that can alter their lives in the best way possible.

Finlaye Johnson

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Ellen De-brito Morris

I hope that by sharing my story, that it will help someone else navigate their grief.  My hope for the future is to be happy and to be surrounded by those I love.  My one bit of advice to anyone reading this would be to live the way you want to and the way you need too

Ellen De-brito Morris

  • LinkedIn
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Georgina Thornley

I have through my own experience and seeing others, feel failure when we think we aren’t achieving what we set out to. I want my story to show others, you can set a future goal and it’s okay if it doesn’t quite go to plan, you have a few stops on the way or if you completely scrap that idea and change your goal post. Society can sometimes give us a ‘perfect and filtered’ image of what we should be achieving. Hopefully, my story shows the unfiltered version of that and the more realistic side, giving others some reassurance that whatever is going on, it’s okay - life is about adapting.

Georgina Thornley

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Emily

I wanted to share my story to show anyone going through their tough transitional time at university, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My hopes for the future are to be content in the job in which I am working and the people I am surrounded by. I want to inspire and educate through the work I am creating. My advice to you? You are strong, capable and powerful. Always believe in yourself and go at your own pace.

Emily

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Greg Roberts

I decided to share my story because I know that there are people out there that are in the position that I once was in. I want to provide readers with the courage to deal with learning disabilities to trust our premonitions and to seek support and guidance. When we receive the right amount of support it can be life changing. I want anyone reading this to know how we choose to see the world has immense effects on our lives, I urge them to see the world in a positive way when faced with adversity.

Greg Roberts

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Jasmine Crookes

I wanted to share my story in the hope that it will inspire and help others to get through their hardest times knowing that they are not alone. In the future I hope to train as a secondary business teacher working with disadvantaged students to help them overcome barriers and reach their potential.  My advice to anyone reading this would be, know that you are stronger than you think and can overcome anything. The barrier that consumes your life at one stage will not be there forever.

Jasmine Crookes

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Jessica Willmott 

I wanted to share my story as I know it is one that can relate to a lot of people, and I really hope this can demonstrate that a person's capability is within. My hopes for the future are to continue to grow as a person. I want to seek more educational opportunities, but I also want to spread my story and my message in the hopes that it can help someone. I want to be a good role model for my son and always encourage him to follow his own dreams. My advice for readers is to never confine yourself to the box others put you in, you can and will achieve whatever you want if you persevere. Be the best you that you can be!  

Jessica Willmott 

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Jonas Andrew Phillip

I want to show readers that it doesn’t matter where you start in life, it only matters where you are going because in this game called life we’re all dealt cards and we must use our cards ethically and effectively in order for us to win, and although I’m far from the point where I have won, I’m happy with the progress that I’m making.  People talk a lot about the importance of representation and as I’ve gotten older I haven’t seen a lot of people that were on the verge of exclusion at school for many years who are now helping their community and the thing is, I’m sure that there are many of them out there. I wanted to be an example for others, so that more people that grow up similar to the way that I did, know that they can still make something of themselves.

Jonas Andrew Phillip

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Kareem Sleem

I shared my story to inspire others to embrace the experiences they go through in their life journey. Good and bad, those experiences shape the person you are and you should be proud of them. I hope to find success in my career and be the voice of those struggling in silence back in the Middle East. My advice to anyone reading this would be - Take it easy and embrace the uncertainty and unpredictability of life. We live on a speck of dust floating in the wide space.

Kareem Sleem

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Katherine Murphy

I want to create awareness in the younger generation and normalise attitudes towards domestic abuse. By sharing my story, I hope to empower not only victims and survivors but those who have compassion and support the many men, women and children who fall victim. By sharing a very real honest account I hope I will inspire others to create better environments that understand and are inclusive of the most vulnerable in society.

Katherine Murphy

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Katy Mullett

Sharing my story not only helped me overcome some of the things I was struggling with but will hopefully help others too.

Katy Mullett

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Kelvin Ampofo

I decided to share my story as I felt it was a great opportunity to reflect on my journey. It was an amazing and an emotive experience. I don’t mind being openly vulnerable and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my story. My hopes for the future are to continue developing myself and explore the tech industry. I have high ambitions of helping those like me and I’m continuing to grow my brand to achieve this. My one bit of advice to anyone reading this is to find your support network and to go where you are celebrated. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself.  

Kelvin Ampofo

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Kirstie Pope

I wanted to share my story to create awareness around young carers. I still feel like the public aren't really aware of us and our experiences. My hope for the future is to one day be able to offer a therapeutic service for young carers and neurodivergent young people. My piece of advice is, try not to compare yourself to those around you. We're all on very different journeys and can never be truly sure what someone else is going through.

Kirstie Pope

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Kirsty Taylor

I wanted to share my story with the reader/s because, I want others who may find themselves in the same situation as I did to feel that they can pursue their dreams regardless of their age, experience, or ability! My one bit of advice for readers is to find a career that you enjoy and are passionate about and run with it until you reach the end goal! At first, you may have to study different subjects, go into different careers as well as find obstacles along the way but, if it's something you truly love doing, you'll find a way.

Kirsty Taylor

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Laura Ntekpere-onyewuchi

I wanted to share my story because I want to inspire and help others on their journey of self-love and success. Reflecting on how far I have come has made me realise that I was so much stronger than I originally thought. Doubts and lack of belief can really be a thief of joy and I want to encourage people to also learn to believe in themselves and recognise their full potential.

Laura Ntekpere-onyewuchi

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Lauren Anghel

There are not a lot of people speaking up about their experiences. That’s why I’ve decided to share my story. I think it's important for people of all colours to understand a little of what it’s like to be mixed race in the United Kingdom – the struggles we face, the questions we have, the welcome we receive. Through learning and listening comes acceptance and understanding. 

Lauren Anghel

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Leah

To inspire other students that may find university daunting and difficult. It is okay to feel all these things and still succeed. Resilience is a big virtue, although it may not feel like it at times.

Leah

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Libby Hobson

I wanted to share my story with the readers because it is a great way of encouraging individuals to pursue a career they want to do, it’s not always an easy journey when following your dreams but with persistence and resilience you can achieve anything you want.

Libby Hobson

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Lizzie Hallam-Howard

I've learned so many lessons from my own experiences that I felt may help other people going through similar circumstances.  I have found that even the worst moments will become valuable assets to you as you grow, but for this to happen you have to take responsibility for how you view and react to these situations. Life is unfair, and things happen that shouldn't, but are you going to let that ruin you or be a building block in your success?

Lizzie Hallam-Howard

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Maariya Hussain

I wanted to share my story with the reader because it’s not always easy to talk to somebody about how you are feeling. Therefore, I wanted my story to help somebody who may find it difficult to seek advice from others and to encourage the reader to stay positive.

Maariya Hussain

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Matthew Rolfe

I wanted to share my story with the reader because I know it would have helped me when I was younger before going to university knowing people were going through a similar experience of discovering who they are. If I can help just one person feel less alone or represented in some way then I feel like I have helped someone like others help me.

Matthew Rolfe

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Nia Modley

I wanted to share my story to help others feel less alone. I know when I was battling my eating disorder I felt like I was the only one. I felt totally hopeless and like there was no way out. I hope in sharing my story people realise that there is a way out and that recovery can be possible for them too. One piece of advice I would give to readers is that there is no shame in not feeling ok. I think we live in a society where all too often there feels a pressure to present as if everything is fine when that is so often not the case. I would urge people to reach out when they feel this way. One in four struggle with their mental health so even if the person you reach out to isn’t experiencing the same battles I’m sure they will know someone who is. There’s a saying ‘you can’t think your way out of your own thinking’. I like to remind myself it all the time. It makes me think that we can’t heal our mind with our own mind and it reminds me of the importance of others on this journey.

Nia Modley

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Nicole McGuire

Sharing my story is something that allows me to be able to raise awareness of the long-term mental condition I have. This allows people to be able to gain an understanding of what the condition is like but also to show that we are not defined by what happens to us medically. How we chose to overcome and accept the diagnosis showcases who we really are as people. This experience for me has allowed me to have another creative outlet. An outlet that allows me to develop my process of acceptance even further.

Nicole McGuire

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Oliver Verrall-Tsingos

I wanted to share my story because I feel like I come from a typical background but have faced personal struggles in spite of this, I would have wanted to know at times it would turn out okay.

Oliver Verrall-Tsingos

  • LinkedIn
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Phillip Gwynn

After completing my final year of university in a pandemic followed by a tough graduate job search, I wanted to share a few tips regarding how I managed through these tough situations and maintained positivity. I also wanted to emphasise that going through challenging times such as the ones mentioned in my story are completely normal and not something to be ashamed of. There is always hope that things will get better but patience is key.

Phillip Gwynn

  • LinkedIn
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Reagan Spinks

Reagan Spinks

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Roberta Johnstone

I always felt alone with no one to turn to. I thought that no one would understand my suffering and self proclaimed "weird" way of thinking. Having opened up about my struggles to others I realise how many hundreds and thousands of people feel exactly the same way I do. I was able to reach out to like minded people and find peace in the fact that I have never been alone. I hope I am able to do the same for someone else so that they, too, can find peace.

Roberta Johnstone

  • LinkedIn
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Satu Lehtinen

I have always felt that the narratives on mental health struggles I see focus a lot on what it’s like to live with mental illness — which is important to talk about — but recovery is rarely talked about as an active process where you have to make the conscious choice to move forward, to unlearn bad habits and to learn that life is worth living, so I wanted to write about how difficult and scary recovery can be. I think it’s important to see this narrative, so that people who are in recovery don’t get discouraged because they’re having a hard time, and I think it’s also important for people who don’t struggle with their mental health, so that they can understand that recovery isn’t always just getting a therapist or getting medication and suddenly everything is perfect again. I also wanted to impart on the readers that sometimes recovery means being able to manage your condition, and that can be just as valuable as being “cured” — whatever that means.

Satu Lehtinen

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Shafeen Mahmood

I feel my story could give some hope to struggling students, especially those who have graduated amid the global pandemic, or those who may have relocated for university, and share with them that not all hope is lost, and that there is so much to look forward to.

Shafeen Mahmood

  • LinkedIn
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Stephanie Pryszlak

I was once told that not everybody is like me, that’s true to an extent. Not one person is like me, not one person is like you! We are all different, but we can empathise and relate to each other and if my story inspires just one person, I have achieved something.

Stephanie Pryszlak

  • LinkedIn
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Sienna Bentley

I have always had a slight issue with vulnerability (as will probably become clear from my introduction) and have to actively decide in my day to bring certain walls down. I also know that the topic I discussed isn’t unique to me alone. Far from it actually. I hope if I can just help, or even just entertain at least one person, I will have done what I set out to do.

Sienna Bentley

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Sophia Johnson

It was an opportunity which arose from a conversation, I personally want to make space for new experiences and said yes, this in addition to being of interest, sharing the reality of life experiences and the steps taken to still achieve things, is something to share to help others.

Sophia Johnson

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Tariq Westcarr

It was partially to help me fully get things off my chest, as to this day opening up is still something I’m continually trying to overcome. I also know that many readers, and people in general, go through the same thing know. So, I wanted to let them know from my perspective that talking to others actually helps.

Tariq Westcarr

  • LinkedIn
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Stephanie Reid

Not a lot of attention has been given to university students or their struggles during the pandemic, so I wanted to highlight issues that many students are facing at this time.

Stephanie Reid

50 lived experiences from 50 amazing individuals.