I cried into your message
Knowing that you couldn’t get to me
That the next time you saw me
I would be covered in masks
Behind ‘I’m okay,
And how are you doing?’
Despair from ‘60s Playboys
chronic pain, depression
rape, self-harm, fits
I remember his face,
His eyes scanning through the crowd,
I remember the music,
Ringing, in my ears, so loud,
I remember him seeing me,
As I dance with my friends,
I remember his look,
And the message it sends,
trichotillomania, descriptions of hair pulling.
There’s a well-known idiom in English used to describe stress or worry: ‘tearing your hair out’. You might have heard it, said it, or you might be doing it. I am. Literally.
My name is Sarah, I’m a third year arts student, and I have Trichotillomania or ‘Trich’ for short.
Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder, triggered by feelings of anxiety or stress, which makes me feel a compulsion to pull out my own hair. That’s right, I do it to myself. ‘But you’ll be bald!’ I hear you cry. I know, but I can’t stop.
Being there for your friend
stigma surrounding mental health
When our friends come to us about a problem, we want to help. However, mental health problems are difficult to understand, so when someone close to us is suffering from one, we can feel completely out of our depth. Even for those who suffer from mental health problems themselves or have experienced one in the past, being there for someone else is a completely different experience.
I have friends that suffer from mental health problems and I suffer from one myself. It’s impossible to put everything I’ve learnt neatly into little categories. But I’ve tried to do it anyway. Some of the following points might not apply to your situation - they’re just from my personal experiences after all - but I hope this article helps someone. Note that it gets a bit feelingy (definitely a word) in places, but I think that’s necessary here. Without further ado:
Over the edge
description and discussion of suicidal thoughts
I’m not entirely sure what this piece of writing is. It’s not a story or a poem or a diary entry, but just the result of trying to understand my own feelings about suicide. Probably most significantly, it’s about distinguishing between wanting to stop living and wanting to kill oneself, which do not always equate to the same thing.
An Unproductive Morning
The time is now 11.17am and I have well and truly missed my lecture that started at 10am, and if I had had a lecture at 11am, I would have missed that one too. The productive day that was meant to start with reading for an essay at 8am followed by a lecture and then a library session hasn’t got off to the best start. This kind of morning is, I’m sure, familiar to many university students, who will then half-jokingly moan to friends at lunch about how unproductive their day has been so far. Though at the time I laugh along and console them, reassuring them that they still have the rest of the day and that it’s good to take it slow sometimes, I wish I could share my own morning routine, my unproductive morning, fighting my own battle against a part of my brain. I understand that we all have our own struggles, our mishaps, our frustrations, but here is an example of my unproductive morning, my morning battle with OCD, which I don’t normally share over lunch:
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, disordered eating
In sharing my experience, I am attempting to increase understanding of seemingly illogical behaviour. I also aim to make people aware of how frustrating and down-right wrong they can be when responding to someone whose mental health, for a time, isn’t very healthy.
If I did not eat, I did not have the energy to function; if I ate, I felt too guilty to do anything. Each evil was no lesser than the other.
Today is the final day of the UK’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and so we’ve collected every submission which addresses the topic of eating disorders and presented them in this article, because the need for the reduction of stigma surrounding the subject is a point that bears repeating.
Your Mind and Body are Precious
Out of my Mind
“There’s no more teenage angst when you turn twenty. It’s just Depression.”
I remember saying this last year to my friend as a joke onher twentieth birthday, woozeling about our college bar, having already downed too many spirits in what was clearly a hugely successful attempt to keep mine up. And it was these words that came back to me last weekend, like the world’s slowest, most disappointing echo, when it was my turn to pass this particular non-milestoney milestone.
I’ve never said this aloud before, so I shall say it quietly here in your head; last year I was diagnosed with Depression.
Faith and Depression
depression, suicidal thoughts
Church people don’t like to talk about suicide. We talk about life and death and we talk about life after death, but we don’t like to talk about the reality of the way that many people get there. If my experience of depression has taught me anything, it is that I am fragile. We all are. However, my faith in Jesus has allowed me to find strength and hope in this fragility. These poems explore that a little. They explore the complex interplay of faith and hope and guilt and doubt and pain and death and life.
Medfest 2015: ‘Global Medicine and Civilisations’
bullying, depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts, child abuse
CW: bullying, depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts, child abuse
Medfest 2015: 'Global Medicine and Civilisations'
Medfest is a film festival run by UK psychiatry trainees.
The video above, 'To This Day Project' by Shane Koyczan, a film featured in Medfest 2014, addresses bullying and mental health.
The theme of Medfest 2015 is 'Global Medicine and Civilisations'; the films will address issues around how mental health is perceived, experienced and dealt with in different cultures across the world.