Table of Contents Nesting | Kelsey Krempasky
Burning Out | Lalaina Miner
Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d rather be dead tired than feel live wires | Maina Chen
Muscle Memory Never Lies | Abbie Stoner
Untitled Perspective 1, 2, 3 | Christian Herrera
Meloncholia | Andrew Feng
Diagnosis | Jessica Demarest
Spits of a popcherry sumtin rotten sticky on your skin | Shaina Forte
I must hide | KSAMF
Softie | Clare Fuller
Ups and Downs | Anonymous
Science Poem | Jessica Demarest
Background Noise | CiarĂĄn Parkes
I’m the Moon about to Hit a Blackhole Like it’s a Piñata | The Ornamental Hermit
Letter to Dr. Weekes | Anna Sanderson
Dreams of Fallen Teeth | Maina Chen
Aeolian | Natalia Krause
Goddess of Self-Destruction | Abbie Stoner
Pieces | Julia Eddy
Next to The Sea in The Slow Autumn at My Window | Jennifer Olivares
Tolmíros | Solachi Voz
Content Warning Please note: This zine contains material addressing various topics related to mental health, including but not limited to, abuse, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, insomnia, self-injury, and PTSD. Particularly sensitive pieces are indicated with a in the Table of Contents. If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek out help. Listed below are just a few of the many organizations available to support you. General Mental Health Support National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org The Trevor Project www.thetrevorproject.org
Self-injury and Suicide American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org To Write Love on Her Arms www.twloha.com
Support for the LGBTQIA+ community
Eating Disorders National Eating Disorder Association www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Child Mind Institute www.childmind.org Support for children and families
Mood Disorders Mental Health Resources www.mhresources.org Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance www.dbsalliance.org
Domestic Violence National Domestic Violence Hotline www.thehotline.org
In the case of an emergency, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for immediate support.
by Kelsey Krempasky
somewhere in this poem is a metaphor about ghosts – the haunting of a heart or maybe of the mind or maybe it’s me. maybe i’m the shadow in my own body trying to find a home in it again. mama how do i work these hands? i’ve kept my name tucked under my own tongue for so long i forget the sound of my own voice if it isn’t quivering.
hear the bird in my throat mama?
she dreams of losing her beak / of losing feathers / tells me she dreams of taking flight again and all i have to do is open my mouth to let her go but mama i’ve lived with emptiness before and without the swallow nesting i’ll be eating glass again to fill her place.
Burning Out | Lalaina Miner
I’d rather be dead tired than feel live wires by Maina Chen
The moment light leaves the sky and everyone is off to bed I bounce, twitch My legs come alive on their own I can’t stop thinking and wishing For a pill or a patch That would make the need for sleep Nonexistent No repercussions, no Monkey’s Paw, no rub A genie’s lamp and take the genie’s place Imagine what I’d do with all that free time Instead I’m stuck with the creeping tension Of obscenities Hurled at me by a sleepy hag She calls me useless and moronic Because I don’t sleep—because I find it hard to Alone but lonely and Endless hours of nothing because My hands might start walking up the walls But it doesn’t mean that they’ll march their way onto something Productive Instead I hover over my bedside just barely touching the wi-fi and Drink my brains dead From stories I don’t want to start and Stories I don’t want to finish Maybe that’s why I leave a video on in the background Because it gets too quiet with no one around
No one conscious at least I shut it off after a few minutes Because I can’t get invested, it’s too noisy now Instead I’ll wander off to my closet and stare At how I’ve lost my edge It won’t matter It’ll just sit there until night comes once again And my limbs shake And my mind races And my pulse jumps And I’ll lie in bed Staring at the plastic stars and missing moons That used to glow When I was a child
Muscle Memory Never Lies by Abbie Stoner
It’s so easy to forget fear when you’re no longer afraid. Out of sight, out of mind and replaced with what everyone else is telling me: that everything is fine, there’s nothing to be scared of, nothing to remember after all. But if I’ve forgotten the past, then I’m doomed to repeat it, doomed to become the thing I feared. The person I feared. The voice I feared shrieking through my mind even after its echoes faded from between the walls. The thing about fear is that your body remembers long after your mind forgets and my body still remembers the shape
Untitled Perspective 1 | Christian Herrera
of fear shrinking my bones, the sound of venom in his voice the sting of venom poisoning my blood, seeping from my pores until I confused with tears.
Now I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cry without feeling it burn valleys down my cheeks, canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t scream without wanting to collapse in on myself and lock it inside where no one can hear or get hurt. I let myself be convinced that my reality was artificial, but my body never released the tension in my muscles, never unclenched my jaw.
My teeth ground their way through my plastic retainer and I bit down so hard while I slept
Untitled Perspective 2 | Christian Herrera
that I had to pry my jaw open with my fingers.
My overbite is proof. My bad posture is proof. My tendency to flinch whenever someone speaks without using their indoor voice—even outdoors —is proof. And I’m finding it harder to forget where my fear of the dark originated: not from monsters under my bed, but from the monster in my DNA that might finally feel brave beneath the dark of a new moon when I can’t see myself clearly, can only see the color of my eyes glowing back at me in the mirror, my eyes the same brown as his.
Untitled Perspective 3 | Christian Herrera
Meloncholia | Andrew Feng
by Jessica Demarest
My doctor said “meets the criteria for” She did not say “anorexic ” She said “disordered eatin g, depressed, anxious” She did not say “eating dis order, depression, anxiety” I don’t know how to tell you what’s wrong with me, when the only diagnosis I have is one that I gave myself: imposte
not thin enough. not sad enough. not panicking enough. no t damaged enough. not hurting enough. not sick enough. not enough Somebody please slap a label on me, stick it to my chest like a name tag I’ll wear it like a road sign I can find myself by— for answers, take next exi t.
Spits of a popcherry sumtin rotten sticky on your skin by Shaina Forte
Today I looked at my medical bills. I don’t want to recite the numbers exactly, but they are daunting. The first one I tear open marks the cheapest amount. Just a few hundred for an urgent care visit—where I essentially bought a $60 popsicle with cash to ease a stricken throat. I had to give them some sort of partial payment at the time. The receptionist told me I had no current medical insurance. It was news to me. Thank God I didn’t accept that ambulance ride to the emergency room at the nurse’s urging after they declared they would be unable to treat me, but I still had to pay 50 times over for that cherry-flavored sliver of ice. I had been strangled. I had been punched. I had open scratch wounds on my neck, as well as reddened friction marks. I was walking around puffy in shock, feeling like a corpse possessed with the memory of adrenaline. My hands shaking. Faint. I knew I needed that popsicle. That was then. Today, I almost regret it. Money. So again, I cry. Fruitlessly. I had cried in the emergency room too, rather inexplicably, unabashedly—as a torrent when the nurse coolly remarked, “the worst is over,” after administering a tetanus shot. I think it was an accident. I don’t think she meant it, because she quickly apologized. 18
Shortly later, the CAT scan operator would also apologize to me. I had stopped crying by that time, situated on my back, connected by IV, waiting for the necessary injection and warmer feelings to take over. He’d stood above me, carefully instructing me through what would happen next. The liquid was meant to emphasize delicate areas within my neck so the x-ray could determine whether important chords, pipes, fleshy bits had been damaged. Because I couldn’t speak to any fair audible level, I was unable to verbally give indication of underlying damage. It was then after the administration but just before the CAT scan itself when he did speak to me directly. “I’m sorry this happened to you.” Of course, if I hadn’t been swollen raw from being squeezed shut by some manicured thumbs lodged into the softest spot under my jaw, I would have thanked him at least for his decency. Whether I should have or not, I did smile in return. It wasn’t necessary, but it was a human connection I needed in the moment. And those were the sort of moments I decided I would hope to remember rather than those that would surely come next. Bills numbering in the several thousand-dollar range, electrifying PTSD, constant physically degrading insomnia, tears plus tears and a quizzically vain woman photo-sharpening the one scratch bruise on her face into a second-of-a-kind Willy Wonka treat. “Hey, you’re turning Violet, Violet!” That one scratch bruise. The only one little thing that will ever give her life a touch of color because it unfurled itself into a question mark. Versus my red red brown red brown blood cherry broke scratch fingerprint throat hurt in multitudes. Hers, a tiny curl of a cut. Something I left in a panic when I tried to claw my way out of a disassociated pit I was dropped into by force. I blacked out when she strangled me after punching me and pushing us both down.
But I did get that one good face scratch in.
Only the one—
—one enough to spite all my screaming for help. The scratch I made 19
I must hide | KSAMF
in self-defense was ultimately all she needed to unwind my entire defense. The police would not let me press charges. They explained how the case would be transferred to the DA but would take months to be seen. I’d likely never be contacted. It was declared an ‘I said, she said’ scenario with no witnesses. Both parties “wounded.” And so, I sit here, not empty-handed but with a fistful of unpaid medical bills, knowing I need therapy, knowing also that she will never face any kind of real-life repercussion for what pains she chose to inflict that day. In this rapidly dissolving aftermath of our scratches and bruises combined, I want to stop answering everyone’s questions about what I possibly did to deserve being strangled. How and why did I tell this affluent lady no? When can I stop making a big deal out of this? Can’t we instead talk about the incredible restlessness? I can’t sleep for being too anxious. I check, double-check the locks routinely because she trespassed, violating my every sense of safety. I lay awake, waiting for the subtle noise of someone forcing a lock open and sometimes I hear it even when it’s not there. You can’t sleep when electricity is running alive under your skin. Also, let’s discuss the multi-headed nature of anxiety attacks. I had no idea they could all be so different. Sometimes, anxiety grows as a steady hand shaking throughout the day with chest pain needling me while my thoughts balance on a heightened edge of alertness. Or sudden adrenaline that rushes at odd triggers, sinking me down, stinging a ring around my neck. If I were to reach for the necklace or the shirt collar I think is aggravating me, I would find nothing—just a tank top, no jewelry—yet my neck burns. I don’t know how to will away an anxiety attack. I just know how to breath until the sensations drain away prickly. Importantly, while I don’t know how to realign myself back to the usual crossroads of life, I’m watching my friends and family continue as they should. Every daily moment of happiness pixelated across social media, hashtagged and embraced. I don’t know how to explain that I can be happy for them while at the same time recoil into self-induced isolation. I don’t know how to explain why I deleted and blocked every sibling, cousin, one parent, and all long-time friends from any sort of 21
possible contact because their happiness made me want to sink into a dark tide of suicidal ideation. It doesn’t even make sense to me how cleanly I could cut down a history of love. It’s over. At least action-wise. Four months have passed. Nothing is happening. Except today, I organize the bills into levels of importance. Meaning I leave them in a pile on the table. The police body cam videos I ordered also stay mostly untouched, suspended on pause somewhere in the background. I can admit I’ve made it through her visual and audio statements, but not my own. I can’t stomach looking past the first few seconds of myself on the video as the police approach. I sat on the stairs. I held myself. My hair was thrashed. My shirt was gray and blue. As for the bruises, I don’t have to see those anymore either. Much like my other enthusiasms, they too are mostly dissolved. The fingerprints she left on me have thinned into little spidery leg touches. Each one hiding in the more natural lines of my own brown neck gradually, easing itself into a gentler appearance of aging. With that being said, the “almost not there” scars, the ghost of an unheard witness (myself) tucked away, and all these red ink letters of overdue notices are what I have as substitute for answers to an otherwise life-stilling debt of harm.
Softie | Clare Fuller
Science Poem by Jessica Demarest
I eat, but I don’t feel nourished. I sleep, but I don’t feel rested. My thoughts have mass, rapidly accelerating to produce the force pushing down on my shoulders I’ll call them Schrödinger’s feelings— there and not there heavy and light
Ups and Downs | Anonymous
we’re taught about opposites, But no one ever told me they could find a home in the same body. Hold my leaden limbs to the flame and watch me pool like hot wax at your feet.
BACKGROUND NOISE by Ciarรกn Parkes
Even not thinking about it we're still thinking about it, those old traumas, buried in the dark space inside our heads, exploding out like some Big Bang, to shape the universe, a background noise we've learned to ignore, there so long we think of it as silence.
I’m the Moon about to Hit a Blackhole Like it’s a Piñata | The Ornamental Hermit
Letter to Dr. Weekes by Anna Sanderson
Dear Dr. Weekes, What do you say to the woman who saved your life? Where do you even start? These are questions I’ve been pondering since I decided to write to you and, as with most things, I don’t think there’s a simple right or wrong answer. With that in mind, I decided to go back to the beginning and simply share my story as a thank you, which no matter the words, will never seem like enough. You see, you don’t actually know me. I was never able to speak with you on the phone and we never got the chance to meet; we haven’t even exchanged emails, and yet you were there for me at my lowest point, offering the exact words and advice I needed at exactly the right time. So, let me introduce myself: My name is Anna and I’m a performer. From a young age, I was interested in the theatre. I loved to dress up, try out different names, pretend to be someone else. The stage felt like a second home to me and after completing my training I became a freelance practitioner, undertaking rural tours and leading workshops for others. As with so many performers, I appeared to be full of confidence and energy. As with so many performers, much of that was part of the act. Over the years, I became an overthinker who worked too hard, splitting my focus between different jobs and spending too little time on self-care and having fun. Following a particularly stressful time at work and a change to my diet which I hadn’t properly researched, I became ill. I was tired all the time, felt uncharacteristically nervous, and would panic at the slightest thing, even when I didn’t know what I was afraid of. 28
At first, determined to get better, I began to research anxiety, trying everything I could from medication to supposed miracle cures. Though delving deeper into my yoga practice and taking up meditation both helped, the anxiety didn’t fully disappear, and so much of my time was spent preoccupied with listening to my body, logging any signs of feeling nervous or low, that I started to get worse. I was scared of these strange feelings that had wrapped themselves around me; I didn’t understand what was happening. It got so bad I had to be signed off work for the first time in my life. Eventually, I was diagnosed with low iron and vitamin D and put on supplements, but the doctors I saw gave no tips for handling, or better still, getting over this now perpetual worry. The longer it went on, the more depressed I felt. I can still remember the darkness. A lack of hope more frightening than anything I’d known before. I’d lost interest in everything and everyone. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. It was like I’d forgotten how to do even the simplest things, such as smile or laugh, or be me. And if I couldn’t do the things I used to love, what did I have left? I was close to giving up when I found you. Not because I wanted to—just because it felt like the only option left. Then one day, while browsing Facebook, a quote of yours popped up that immediately resonated with me. I discovered you were a doctor and author, and I searched for your books online. For the first time in months, I felt a spark of hope inside me. I knew instinctively that I could trust you, lean on your words and teachings, finally pull myself up with your help. You taught me these anxious feelings were just that: sensations with limited power that, however unsettling, couldn’t actually hurt me. You taught me that thousands of others all around the world had been where I was and managed to get through it. And using your techniques, like floating and accepting, you taught me how to get better. You were the first person to explain what was happening, taking away the mystery and much of the fear, with your simple, commonsense explanations. If only someone could have told me all this at the start! It hasn’t been an easy road. As you said yourself, your method— based on years of research, and both personal and professional experience—is simple, not easy. It takes courage and time to face up to your fears, especially when they come from within. But thanks to you 29
and your work, I finally feel like myself again. With your help, I’ve gone from feeling too scared and low to leave the house to being able to do all the things I used to love: spending time with family and friends, traveling and performing, ultimately enjoying life again. I’ve even rediscovered my love of writing and am currently putting the finishing touches on my first novella. None of this would be possible without you. I remember reading about a patient of yours who’d gone away for the first time in years. She sent you a photograph of herself on holiday with her family, smiling and happy. When I first saw the photo, I longed for the day that could be me. Months ago, as I stood on the pier overlooking the sea with two of my best friends, the sun beating down and a warm breeze brushing my cheeks, I realized I’d made it. There will always be challenges; life’s full of them. But you’ve shown me how to float through fear and live life to the fullest again, and for that I will always be grateful. You saved me, Dr. Weekes, and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your friend always, Anna
Dreams of Fallen Teeth by Maina Chen
I have tooth-ground dreams mushy pastes, chalk-filled, the taste lingering on my gums, gagging onto my tongue, all from my own doing. I don’t dare to spit it out for fear that the nightmare might be a reality. I’d lose them all for good and have no recollection of my reimagined stress. That, somehow, I might take that mush, reform it into Play-Doh Chiclets, repaint them so they dull a pale cadaver’s white, and regain control of what’s lost. but that’s not it. a night guard ordered from Amazon— two days shipping—won’t and can’t just childishly reverse what has been done. no, that stays with me, but at least I’ll wake up knowing that I still have my teeth.
by Natalia Krause
I am alone in this big room Piano in front of me and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m crying out this tune to get rid of this pain an illusion cracked this need to be with you to make myself full You will never do this to me again I will never do this to myself again I never want to feel so low and forsaken I tried to follow your path and ruined mine liked your ideas and things that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always wanted to travel and have a life more interesting enjoy simple things You will never do this to me again I will never allow myself to feel so low and forsaken You will never do this to me again I will never feel so low and forsaken follow you forget to live my life
My illusion, my picture of you in my mind drove me astray and I lost the love for my life my illusion of being someone that I am not and that I am more with you somehow than on my own I am enough on my own beautifully
Performed by This Lunar Mansion Composed by Natalia Krause & AkirSon-Marcin Ostarz Lyrics by Natalia Krause & Ciarán Parkes Recorded and produced by Terry Merrick, Origin Studio, Dublin
“Aeolian” is available on Bandcamp at https://thislunarmansion.bandcamp.com/trackaeolian
Goddess of Self-Destruction by Abbie Stoner
My body has never been a temple cannot be entered at will by anyone searching for themselves even if the sight of me makes them fall to their knees Worship me as a goddess if you wish but I am not a place to give you shelter am not a thing to help you find your way Besides, lately the only one falling is me, more a crumbling building with a foundation no one bothered to dig deep enough and pillars that have stood for far too long with the weight of me on their shoulders Chipping away at the stone with my fists every time they dare quake What kind of goddess causes her own self-destruction anyway? Give me a chisel and axe and I’ll show you how to carve pieces of lost bone into statues of imitation marble Flecks of blood dried brown enough to convince you they’re remnants of long-ago faded paint made from berries squeezed dry
I never meant for this façade of nothing lost to become a place for you to find beauty There is none here except what I shaped out of the things falling out of me to distract from the fact that I’m being hollowed out
Pieces | Julia Eddy
Panic flutters its wings in her chest, building a nest that falls apart before it can be finished. Vulnerabilities spill out like wine; they stain her bedsheets with loathing. She can hear paranoia’s frantic whispers in the back of her mind. Something heavy clambers up her rib cage. It is twice the weight of any emotion she’s ever encountered, and she thinks it’s a lot like sadness.
Next to The Sea in The Slow Autumn at My Window by Jennifer Olivares
Yet she still gathers strength even with fragile fingers, all bone and hope.
And when morning comes in waves, slow, bleary, warm, the haunted look lurks in her eyes, but only at the edges.
TolmĂros | Solachi Voz
She rises from her bed, and strips her clothes, and everything else falls to the floor with it. She feels bright and lovely, filled with sunrise lights. At once, she is, and hopefully forever, like herself.
Contributors Maina Chen (mainachen.com) is an editor and game/literary writer living in Brooklyn. She primarily writes short fiction and poems, and if she’s not creating monsters, she’s battling them in video games. Her work has appeared in Puddlefar, Viscera Anthology, Weathervane, The Well, Ape-X, Catan Stories: Legend of Maina Chen the Sea Robbers, and more.
An editorial nerd and grrrl zine supporter, Jess created Mental to help foster conversations about mental health. This is her second zine—Dirty Words explores diverse perspectives on the female experience and is available on Issuu. Her writing has also appeared in Black Jessica Demarest, Fox Literary Magazine, Nude Bruce Review, Editor Om Yoga Magazine, and more. In her free time, Jess can often be found eating copious amounts of peanut butter or attempting to balance on her hands.
Julia Eddy is a sometimes artist and forever horse girl who lives in northeast CT. Mental will be her first time having her work published, and she is so happy to be included in a zine that’s message is so important and dear to her. When not lounging and reading webcomics in the company of her cat, Puffin, you can find Julia Eddy her enjoying summer days in hay fields; her favorite forms of self care.
Hi, I’m Andrew. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and I am in my 24th year of life. My interests are music, art, and fashion—anything that catches my eye in an artistic way! I enjoy going around the world searching for things that can help expand my creative side and positively influence and better my Andrew Feng mindset.
Shaina Forte and her four children currently live in Alaska. This is her first publication.
Clare Fuller is a Boston-based writer and illustrator passionate about bipolar disorder advocacy, visual storytelling, and finding the best everything bagel in Massachusetts.
Clare Fuller, Cover Designer
Mexican-American film photographer from Brooklyn, New York. College student with a vision and a perspective that people can appreciate.
Natalia Krause is the lead singer and main creative force behind This Lunar Mansion, a Galway-based band which uses a combination of art rock and classical elements to explore themes of healing and emotional well-being. This Lunar Mansion was born out of Natalia Krause, Nataliaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision to finally follow her This Lunar Mansion childhood dream of living a creative life. It allows her, along with her fellow musicians, to reach for the joy and authenticity that can be too often repressed in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s world. EP in March 2019 and the full album is coming at the end of the year. 45
Kelsey Krempasky is a Canadian poet currently attending the University of Manitoba. Her poetry has been published in The Manitoban, The Rising Phoenix Review, Royal Rose Mag, and Venus Mag. When she isn’t writing, she is probably singing Fall Out Boy with her dog. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram Kelsey Krempasky @kelseyyb21.
Barcelona (Spain), 17 September 1991. Daughter of artists and granddaughter of art lovers, KSAMF’s been raised between canvas, art books, and museums. She finished Fine Arts in 2014 and then an Illustration post-degree. Currently she works as a graphic designer and an illustrator. In 2016 her first illustrated book was published: Para no tener que hablar, a poem by Muriel Villanueva. Her works, inspired by primitive and romanic art, are made with all kinds of materials, from ink, gouache, acrylics, watercolors, charcoal, pencil, cardboard, wood, clay, tree leaves to old toys.
Lalaina is a writer and artist currently ghostwriting LGBTQ novels in the toocold state of Vermont. Having dabbled in illustration and screenwriting, they are currently shifting gears to work on a super-secret novel! When they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t writing, Lalaina can be found rollerblading or chugging green tea. This is their first Lalaina Miner zine publication.
Jennifer Olivares is a DominicanAmerican linguist and college student living in Brooklyn, New York. She enjoys learning foreign languages and cultures at City College of New York, but writing has been a passion for the past eleven years. Her works are often fictional short stories and poems exploring race and mental Jennifer Olivares health. In her spare time, she frequents Barrio Poetix, which is a community open mic meant to showcase works by AfroLatino writers and stimulate discussions about the role of literature in the lives of people of color.
Audio dramatist, lyricist, librettist, and graphic novelist living in the north of England. Has a wild sense of humour and was born to be absurd. Early diagnosis bipolar, late diagnosis autistic, long haul anorexic. The Ornamental Hermit
Ciarรกn Parkes lives in Galway, writing and taking photographs, and sometimes swimming in the cold Atlantic. His poems have been published in The Rialto, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Threepenny Review, and other places. He writes song lyrics for the Galway band This Lunar Mansion.
Anna is a writer from Nottinghamshire, England, who likes to write about the world as she sees it (with the odd twist and turn). Her work can be found online at sites such as 101 Words, A Quiet Courage and Fifty Word Stories, and in numerous zines and anthologies, including Razur Cuts, The Magnizidat Anna Sanderson Literary and Maelstrom. You can follow her on Twitter at @annasanderson86.
Abbie Stoner writes about queer girls, magic, and magical queer girls. She is the creator of The Green Mountain Witches Tarot and her work has been published by Crack the Spine, Slink Chunk Press, Dirty Words, Bad Apple, Perfectly Normal Magazine, and Stonehenge II. When sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not writing or talking about intersectional Abbie Stoner feminism, she can be found doing tarot readings and avoiding cilantro at all costs.
Name: Solachi Voz City: Oakland, Ca Writer. Musician.