The Probable Answer
schizophrenia, coprophilia, hospitalisation
A Purifier from New Haven
sometimes here, sometimes there
I suspect myself in small amounts.
What can be said
Yesterday my granny talked to me
on the phone
about depression and anxiety.
She didn’t tell me about
not being able to leave the house
for a time, when my mum was small
Dream Nation: Be Well
manic depression, stigma surrounding mental health
Last year, I discovered that people with mental health problems can be successful. Specifically, I discovered that people with mental health problems can be successful professionals: capable, ambitious and influential. I owe this discovery to Kay Redfield Jamison.
In her memoir, An Unquiet Mind, Jamison describes her wonderfully successful career in academic medicine alongside her experiences of manic depression. Before this, people with mental illnesses were always the unfortunate, the dangerous or simply ‘the other’. Over the last two years, I have met (and sought out) numerous people whose stories have challenged these common depictions and I found that it is not a contradiction to look well, do well and be well and have mental health problems.
We should talk about the elephant in your room
depression, eating disorders, memory loss, hallucinations, mania
It stumbles in one morning, sometime between breakfast and waiting for 9am Oprah to start. It makes itself comfortable right away, sits in the corner and starts to slowly sip at your leftover coffee. You don’t mind much. You’re 14, it’s the holidays and everyone else seems busy. You’re surprised when it stays the night - staying even after Oprah ends and the next day’s Oprah ends. It stays even when school re-opens and you don’t quite trust to leave it at home, but you know you can’t bring it to school. It curls your hair in the mornings, straightens your clothes, makes tea. It helps you clean house, slowly making castles out of your belongings, propping them like memories high against your wall - your first striped tube top, your second-hand wallet, the cards you used to get for birthdays. Friendship bracelets. Your plastic comb.
This Brilliant Eunuch
autism, being gendered and sexualised/de-sexualised by others
This piece is part of a short collaborative series featuring submissions to ‘Disability/Sexuality’, a zine exploring the intersections between the two. You can read about the zine here.
I have, since the age of 7 ½, had a diagnosis of Autism. Specifically, it was Asperger’s Syndrome but that particular subcategory has fallen out of favour in recent years. This has marked my whole adolescence and therefore the dominant part of my sexual development. The social obstacles it can cause are fairly well-documented so I won’t go into excessive detail in covering them; it is simply sufficient to say that it caused awkwardness and shyness. I have a relationship with it which is fairly mixed. I wouldn’t, if I had the choice, get rid of it as that would be negating a rather large and complex part of my personal history. Nor would I celebrate it without reservation, as parts of my life would have undoubtedly been easier without it. Its role in my sexuality is not remarkable in the sense of my own awareness, but in the moulding of how I was gendered, sexualised and de-sexualised in the eyes of others it was a prime mover.
chronic pain, depression, body image, sex and sexuality
When I was struggling with an undiagnosed chronic pain disorder it seemed to alter my entire personality. I became bitter, angry, a shell of my former self, and seemingly as a side note to that, my capacity for any kind of sexuality had altered. I already had a diagnosis of severe depression and this simply complicated matters; my body each day was the thing I hated most. I looked at myself as each month passed, my posture shrinking and hunching, and thought: this illness has almost entirely claimed any sense of control I could have over my body, and with it, my sexuality.
And then I also thought: I cannot be alone.
Stretches as Self-Care
It’s No Game
depression, stigma, social isolation
A depressed patient once told me he was alone. “Not literally,” he added, “but effectively.” He did have friends; they just didn’t understand what he was going through. “They mean well,” he said, “but they don’t get it.”
For example, one night they invited him to a party. When he tried to explain that he couldn’t bring himself to go, they were bewildered.
I’m not ok... but that’s ok.
depression, rape, sexual abuse, violence, alcoholism, HIV
Next year I turn 30. After battling with depression for nearly a decade and a half, here I am. Finally able to stop, and admit to myself, and to others, that all is not well. That is not to say I don’t have happy days, weeks even, where I forget the all consuming darkness that I know is capable of taking over. Of sucking all the light and positivity out of a world which is so full of joy and beauty.
Kind of a cartoon series: part 2
social anxiety, depression
This is the second in a series of comics, the first of which you can see here.
Just as before, I have taken a little slice of inspiration from something I read recently.
Now, normally I go to Buzzfeed exclusively to find ‘Recipes that will make you fall in love with kale’ or to look at pictures of Labradors or to test their claim that they can guess how many people I’ve slept with based on my taste in food (just how do they do it? uncanny).
today i feel that i am in a pressure cooker
(i do not actually know
what a pressure cooker is)
today i feel that i am in a microwave
i am a hamster in a microwave
at any moment i may burst
basically what i feel today
is that i’m under a lot of pressure
some days i feel this more
acutely than others
rape, rape apologism; mention of eating disorders, self-harm and drug addiction
I remember once asking my religious tutor, who would come to the house every Sunday: If we’re not allowed to have pre-marital sex, what happens to people who have been raped? Are they bad too?