FAN CLUB ZINE #11
About the Contributors! Annie Dornan-Smith (Front page + pg16 + back page) I created these illustrated affirmations as little, physical reminders to keep around the house. I wanted to create something positive, gentle and beautiful that would look beautiful on your wall and be a source of encouragement. I sell prints in my shop over at anniedornansmith.co.uk Rose Robbins (pg 3 + 6 + 24) More of Rose’s work can be found at roserobbins.co.uk
Rachel Nelson (pg 4 + 5 + 23 + 31) Rachel is one-third of Fan Club; zine editor, DJ and glitter queen. She has stopped even trying to remove the glitter from her bed. Read her stream of consciousness at @rachellous Karen Blower (pg 7 + 11) @SunSparks4
Julie Gough (pg 4 + 5 + 31) apalelandscape.co.uk illustratedwomeninhistory.com
Julia Emiliani (pg 9) Julia Emiliani is an illustrator living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. She has been recognised by the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. Julia created this work for a collaborative zine called ‘Our Bodies, Our Voice’ Zine, which focused on body positivity and self-care. juliaemiliani.com Alanna Jean (pg 8 + 10) Alanna is a Nottingham-based artist. Alanna also runs Brave Kids Club, which is an independent shop for people who love glitter, empowering messages and nostalgia. bravekidsclub.co.uk Amy Super + Super (pg 12 + 13) Amy is an artist who works to lift other female artists through her interview series ‘Women Who Create’ Willow Graham (pg 12) www.supersuperhq.com is a final year mental health nursing student.
Emma Plover (pg 13) Queer, working class artist based in the North, making work about her brain, how much she loves her pals, and self care and survival under capitalism @emma_plover Cynthia Rodríguez (pg 16 + 17 + 19)
Cynthia is a writer and performer based in Leicester and shouter/songwriter at queer noise girl band ANATOMY IG @cynstagrammy / T: @cynthiaescribe / cynthiaescribe.com Jemma Timberlake (pg 18 - 21) Jemma is an illustration graduate based in Liverpool Georgia (pg 22) jemmatimberlake.co.uk Georgia is an artist based in Nottingham. IG: @eggboyirl / newhive.com/georgialemons Meryl Trussler (pg 26 + 27) Meryl is a freelance writer / editor / illustrator / Anxiety Machine meryltrussler.tumblr.com Leoni Bunch (pg 28 - 30) Leoni is an illustrator living in Sydney, Australia. She spends her free time saving animals she finds on her way home from work leoniebunch.net Francesca Vaney (pg 29) Francesca is a zine editor, DJ and reluctant crafter at Fan Club. She can be found on skates with Nottingham Roller Derby @noisyhearts Natalie Fisher (pg 30) Natalie fell into writing by accident and still isn’t sure how it happened. words / hypable.com voice / @NATWpodcast @nataliefisher
This zine contains experiences and thoughts on mental heatlh from lots of different people who have lived experiences of mental health, anxiety and depression. There may be articles or pieces of writing that may be triggering. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tried to capture these below
A special thank you to Alanna (Brave Kids Club) who has very kindly helped us with lots of things over the last few zines and events with posters, doodles, backround patterns and illustrations <3
by Rose Robbins
pg 5 - suicide ideation, drowning pg 18-21 - dementia, death pg 25 - suicide, death pg 26-27 - skeletons, death, insects, alcohol, smoking, pornography, cutting SAMARITANSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; new free helpline number is 116 123. Calls to this helpline number do not appear on phone bills.
Event Production/Zine and Design Kaylea Mitchem Zine Managing Editors/Event Support Rachel Nelson Francesca Vaney
LOVE CURLS LIKE A FIST AROUND MY HEART CRESCENT NAILS PRESSING IN TWIRL OF FINGERS, A WAVE, A RELEASE, BEATING AWAKE AND THEN ENVELOPED AGAIN AND PRESSED ALMOST FLAT I WOULD COMPARE MY HEART TO A STONE IF ONLY IT DIDN’T HURT SO MUCH. STONES DON’T FEEL. MY HEART HAS THE BURNT CRUST OF A LOAF THAT HAS BEEN LEFT IN THE OVEN FOR FAR TOO LONG. SOMEWHERE IT IS SOFT BUT MOSTLY IT FEELS LIKE TOAST, TOAST, TOAST I START WATCHING BLUE PLANET AND COMPARING MY LIFE TO UNDERWATER TRAGEDY “YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE CORAL,” I IMAGINE SAYING. “YOU HAVE THROWN OUT YOUR GUTS AND DISINTEGRATED ME.” EVEN IN MY IMAGINATION YOU ARE KIND BUT UNIMPRESSED. HE TELLS ME I AM THE MASTER OF MY OWN DESTINY. I BEGIN TO CASUALLY CROSS BUSY ROADS. MAYBE I WILL, MAYBE I WON’T.
- I DREAMT OF CHOOSING A WATCH TO SMASH
TAKE ME UNDERWATER WHERE MY TEARS WILL BE AIR SLICE MY NECK, I CANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T BREATHE UP HERE GIVE ME GILLS AND LET THE DESPAIR FLOW THROUGH ME AN OCEAN OF SALT WATER AND ME, WEBBED FINGERS AND TOES PUSHING MY BODY FURTHER DOWN INTO DARKNESS ECZEMA-DRY SKIN BECOMING SCALES COLD WATER COOLING MY FURY A COLD COMPRESS MY FOREHEAD NO LONGER DAMP BUT SOAKED MY EYES NO LONGER SORE BUT SALTY ENVELOPED IN THE SILENCE BENEATH THE SURFACE BENEATH THE WORLD
by Rose Robbins
Anxiety affects us in different ways. Whilst experts have identified a number of classic anxiety symptoms, for me it is the physical symptoms that I struggle with most. The physical effects which often plague me include a constant tightness in my chest, feeling lightheaded, a racing heartbeat, shallow breathing, and a heavy knot in my stomach. I’ve written about some of the ways I manage these horrible effects of anxiety, which may help you too.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE SYMPTOMS Acknowledge the horrible symptoms and make an effort to continue on regardless. I realise that this is not easy and that anxiety can stop us in our tracks. In order to take back control, decide to get on with your day in spite of the physical symptoms you are experiencing. Go shopping in spite of that tight knot of dread in your stomach. Try to see friends in spite of the tight chest and shallow breathing. The intensity of these physical feelings often reduces once our attention is engaged elsewhere. You will see that you can live your life alongside anxiety symptoms; you do not have to wait until you’re free of anxiety to live. KNOW THAT THE INTENSE EFFECTS OF ANXIETY ARE NORMAL AND THAT THEY WILL PASS At my worst, I repeat this phrase over and over in my mind. It’s okay to feel anxious sometimes. Feeling anxious is a normal reaction to the ups and downs of life, and it does not mean that you are mad. Experiencing anxiety does not mean that you are weak or incapable. Berating yourself for how you feel is not going to help you – give yourself a break! SHIFT YOUR FOCUS Anxiety means that we focus on the inside, on our thoughts, and as we continue in this cycle of fear our perspective can become skewed. Trying something that takes our attention outside of our head can be an antidote to the gnawing anxiety inside. Doing something physical helps me - I have been known to crank up the music and dance around the house like it’s 1999! Taking an exercise class, drawing, taking the dog for a walk or crafting are other activities which force our focus to the external world. CHOOSE DISTRACTION A simple but effective way to manage the symptoms of anxiety is to engage the brain in something challenging. Giving the mind something other than thoughts to focus on can help dampen the feelings of anxiety. Distractions come in many forms but the ones which are most effective are those which absorb our attention and require our brain power. Good examples of this are puzzles, video games, Sudoku, knitting; whatever is your thing. TALK ABOUT IT Again this is another seemingly simple thing, but it’s not always easy to do. Chat to a trusted friend about how you feel. Sometimes saying out loud what you fear most brings concerns into the cold light of day and you can better see your worries for what they are. Having another perspective on your worries can help you work things out. Most of all, sharing your experiences will help you feel less isolated. The main thing to remember is that sometimes these things will work, other times they may not be as effective. Rather than worry, know that this is okay. If something doesn’t work that doesn’t mean it won’t ever work for you again. Move on and try something else. Anxiety is baffling and confusing, and often paralysing and frightening, but you are capable of managing your symptoms. by Karen Blower
We took to twitter to ask for examples of how people enact self-care. @corsiicana Recognise what i am missing and follow that through. Missing endorphins = run, tired = drink tea and watch ‘The Good Wife’. These seem silly but 10 minutes of stretching in the morning, or washing my face at night. @technecat I follow the ‘3 Good to 1 Bad’ rule myself. 3 positive things/rewards to combat every 1 negative/stressful thing you go through. So if you know you have something stressful coming up, plan a nice break for yourself and “rebalance” the negative with calming/fun things. @rachellous One of my self care actions is definitely allowing myself to be away from my phone for long enough to remember that it doesn’t complete me and it’s not my job to be contactable at every second of the day. @catlikemayhem changing my bed sheets, putting on a fresh set of pyjamas and allowing myself to spend some time resting – remind myself it’s OK to cancel plans if I need time and space to feel whatever it is I’m feeling @siobhangx I had too many things but my key tips are always BE PREPARED and STAY HYDRATED so here’s my handbag -
SELF-CARE NERD’S HANDBAG - Drinking water - High calorie snacks (hunger makes MH worse and impedes decision-making) - Paracetamol and ibuprofen - Eye mask and sleeping tablets (in case you unexpectedly want/need to stay away from home) - Earplugs (foam ones – can make trains, buses and crowds less stressful) - Face mask that covers your mouth and nose (keeps you warm and encourages people to give you space) - Scarf (keeps you warm, can be wrapped round your head like a hood if you feel tired or overwhelmed) - List of things to do if you get anxious (ie. Drink water, eat, sit down) - Portable phone charger and cable - Notepad and pen
by Julia Emiliani
by Julia Emiliani
This illustration represents two of my favourite tools that help me to deal with depression and anxiety. Affirmations remind me about the good intentions that I have for my life. I repeat this particular affirmation, sometimes daily, when I feel low. The circle of crystals represent how they help me find calm and stillness. My flat is full of them! Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m particularly drawn to amethyst and rose quartz - I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because of their healing properties and because they amplify feelings of peace. - Alanna Chamberlain (Brave Kids Club)
SELF CARE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T ‘DO’ SELF CARE by Karen Blower The term ‘self care’ has received a lot of press in recent years. But if you’re someone for whom the phrase holds wishy-washy connotations – mindfulness and scented candles, anyone? – then you may have dismissed it, believing it’s not for you. To be clear, self care in the terms of our mental wellbeing refers to the things we can do to take care of ourselves; the little things which often get neglected in the busyness of life but which contribute to our equilibrium. In spite of its widely reported benefits, you may think that self care is self-indulgent, unnecessary or just the latest fad doing the rounds on Twitter. Self care doesn’t have to be mindfulness and scented candles; these work for some but there is much more to self care. You don’t have to indulge in regular navel gazing in order to promote self care. The key to meaningful self care is to personalise it so that it is worthwhile to you. So, why should I reconsider self care? You know those days when you’ve had a rubbish time at work, your car’s MOT bill is huge and nothing you say or do seems to be right... Rather than doing what you might normally do to deal with this - you could consider self care. Immediate reactions to our emotions can bring short term results, but what if there was a better way to deal with life’s ups and downs? Here’s where self care comes in. And the good news is: • • • • • •
You don’t have to wait until you hit a bad patch to try self care It doesn’t have to cost the Earth You don’t have to beat yourself up if you don’t use self care all the time It’s the little things that work best Regular self care is the key You can build up your own little collection of activities for your own ‘self care kit’
Choose something that you enjoy and that you do just for you and nobody else. Something that is not destructive, but which positively improves your mental wellbeing. You could choose: • • • • • •
To paint your nails a bright colour Cook your favourite food Have an early night Share a drink with a friend Craft something beautiful Take a fitness class
Self care doesn’t have to be restricted to solitary activities. Self care for me often involves quiet alone time activities such as reading or drawing, but for others being with friends may be of benefit. Some final words on self care: Enjoying self care activities must be done without guilt. Find something which recharges your batteries, lifts your mood, comforts you or that just makes you feel better. Experiment and get creative!
One way we practice self care is by keeping a steady stream of inspiration running through our social media feeds. We use instagram to follow our favourite artists and we’re constantly being signposted to more amazing people. One artist we follow is Amy of
SUPER + SUPER. As well as running her own craft workshops to help people get creative, she also has an online interview series called ‘Women Who Create Things’, which we love! Amy talks to women who inspire her, about the things that inspire them, which in turn inspires others! Amy tells us about why she started the series... I started the Women Who Create interview series a year ago over on my website when I fell out of love with blogging about craft DIY tutorials. Having worked with my creative coach for 6 months, the direction of my creative business and its values had changed somewhat, and so had my ideas about what is valuable to me as a woman in a creative business. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafts, and making is inherent to my daily practice as a crafter/designer... but my focus has shifted and my passion for sharing in-person craft skills and creative workshops, as well as mentoring others, is most definitely where my heart lies. Once I had taken away the self imposed pressure to create a craft tutorial once a fortnight / month, with steps, images, patterns etc (as my main blog focus), I had room to explore all the new and exciting ideas I had around community, women who create things their way, and crafts and creative events in Nottingham.
It all just seemed to come together on my page like magic! I am so fortunate to have met and worked with some amazing women since 2012 as I continue to forge my path with Super+Super, first in Brighton/London, and now in Nottingham. I continue to make connections with totally inspiring women who run their own businesses, so it made total sense to reach out to some of them with the blog interview idea and see what came of it. I approached peers, business besties and also women who inspired me, who I hadn’t worked with yet but admired and would love to work with in my future and just thought... what’s the worst that can happen? They can say no, right? I was totally thrilled when most of the first round of women I approached were super excited to talk to me about the project and get involved, sharing their journey so far, and a little wisdom they had collected along the way. I continue to feel totally inspired by the articles/ replies I receive to the series.
When I did a shout out at the start of 2017 for round 2 of the interviews my heart literally felt like it was going to burst when I had almost 30 messages from peers, instagram contacts, and women who had seen the series online who were excited to get involved this time around.
work in their studios alone most of the time, so building a creative community online or in person outside of that which can be tapped into is so so important. It keeps you grounded and helps you grow, can get you out of a rut, builds friendships, and allows you to appreciate your own experience as a valuable offering.
This project has most definitely reshaped the way I see my creative business and is allowing me to grow in a whole new direction without the constraints I had set myself previously. I am currently mid-way through planning the first WWC weekend event which is happening in June this year and also have ideas for more collaborative The WWC blog series runs projects too. on a fortnightly basis over on the S+S blog but I have plans to move it to it’s Working with other women in creative own website as it continues to grow! If business is a constant source of you’d like to know more or get involved inspiration. It allows me to share and i’d love to hear from you! grow ideas, check in with different sets of values, fill in the gaps in my Drop me an email to knowledge, and feel supported in what email@example.com I am doing whilst offering my support and expertise to those in my community. www.supersuperhq.com Like me, many creative people I know IG/TW/FB @supersuperhq
WORKING WITH LIVED EXPERIENCES I began studying mental health nursing after having some experience working in the community in social support. This was challenging from the start as we have placements throughout the course but I felt I was doing well and achieving my best both academically and in practice. During my second year I began to withdraw from my friendship group, I started feeling irritable, tired and sad a lot of the time. I brushed this off as being stressed with university work. However, during my first placement of third year I became increasingly anxious to go to work, I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly. I thought my mentor might be helpful so I was open and honest and spoke to her about this however, not everyone who works in mental health is understanding to colleagues who have lived experiences. This made me feel worse, I ended up signed off sick with depression and anxiety, and put on medication. It shocked me that my mentor was not supportive considering that she had been working in mental health for a long time. It worried me that she would potentially be this way with service users. I found it really difficult to have this conversation and I already felt guilty about asking for help and as she didn’t support me or seem understanding, I felt more guilt and shame. I also felt my confidentiality was broken as she discussed my situation with colleagues and asked me about it in front of them. Thankfully, I have since had mentors who have been supportive and understanding, as we should be to our colleagues as well as our service users. This experience has given me more insight into what it feels like to be a service user. It is really hard to open up to someone you barely know, let alone do that to many different professionals. I’ve felt what it is like to be belittled and not taken seriously. This is something which will affect how I interact with service users in the future. Building therapeutic relationships is key to working in partnership with service users and this is worth spending time doing; it is often put to one side in favour of doing paperwork. Whether or not to disclose lived experiences of mental health as a staff member is a huge deliberation for many as being discriminated against is sadly not an uncommon thing. However, if more people aren’t open about their own experiences with colleagues this stigma is unlikely to change. Having had my own experiences with anxiety and depression, I feel this helps me to be able to better empathise with people in similar situations.
- Willow Graham
by Emma Plover
The morning breaks and the digital sunshine lightens up the blanket fort during Civil War, during World War LXVII. News from strangers, news from friends, news from nowhere. Perfectly curated images of silver linings on Norwegian snowstorms. Concoctions and cuddles, mementos and proofs that life didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t finish last night. The bomb was not dropped on your forehead last night. In stupor you dose off, then come back, then dose off, then come back perhaps for good. In between naps, you gulp the fuel you need tank by tank.
LINDA by Annie Dornan-Smith
by Cynthia Rodriguez
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. You won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 USD, so you don’t. Your bladder begs to differ. Your piss will cost you a fortune. Now get up.
‘I have always found creating in any form - baking, drawing, making christmas cards etc. - to be my coping mechanism in time of stress or trauma. The images provided are taken from a Zine I made called ‘Matter Natter’. I created the zine after my grandma’s long battle with dementia, and it really helped the grieving process and to soothe my mind when we finally lost her. I have made a few zines centred around some various feelings of mental distress, but this one is my most personal. Matter Natter: Matter Natter is a zine centred around the idea of memory loss, particularly exploring my first hand experiences of dementia within my family. My collages were created on reflection of witnessing the slow process of lost inhibition, thought, history and eventual development into a child like state of mind. Created using mixed media collage.’ More of Jemma’s work can be found at jemmatimberlake.co.uk
SEEKING HELP WITHIN THE NHS: DEPRESSION 101 A lot of people worry that their depression is not bad enough to bother anyone else with, or fear their doctor won’t take them seriously. If your mood or anxiety is affecting your life, it is worth speaking to someone about. It’s always worth trying to improve your situation. Book an appointment with your GP and try to keep it in your mind as just something on your to-do list. Don’t forget that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and that having a regular check-up is no bad thing. If you’re worried about the appointment, try making some notes about how you’ve been feeling and take them with you; if you get flustered you can use them as prompts or even hand them over to your doctor. GPs are people, not robots, which means they can differ in their reactions. If you feel that your doctor isn’t taking you seriously, or you feel uncomfortable talking to them, try booking in with another GP in the surgery. You don’t have to feel guilty about being disloyal to your doctor; think of it like a hair appointmentyou wouldn’t go back to a hairdresser you didn’t like! It is likely your doctor will suggest two routes: medication and counselling. If you’re happy to try both, that’s great. If you aren’t comfortable with medication, that’s okay too. If you’re worried about medication, ask your GP to explain a bit more about how it works. Don’t forget that at every step of the way, you are instrumental in your treatment- you have a choice! You can always ask your GP for some further information and think on it, or perhaps discuss your options with someone you trust. Information is power! If your GP refers you for counselling, you will be added to a waiting list that may feel very long. It’s different for everyone, but personally I always feel a little better knowing that I’m at least on a waiting list. It makes me feel like I’m on my way somewhere that isn’t here in my unhappiness. Counselling is a collaborative action which will require some hard work on your part. It is very important that you feel comfortable with your counsellor. I had 8 weeks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with a male counsellor who I did not feel at all comfortable with, but I didn’t feel empowered enough to let anyone know that I wanted to speak to a female counsellor. It was 8 weeks of wasted time, for both me and him. Similarly, if you feel you don’t gel with your counsellor, or you feel the type of counselling you’ve been referred for is unhelpful, speak up. Counselling can be really helpful, but it’s not meant to be one-size-fits-all; so many people are put off counselling for life because of a bad first experience!
Just as there are many kinds of counselling, there are also several types of medication. Finding a medication that works for you can be a long and laborious journey, but if you find one that lessens your symptoms then it’s definitely worth it. Make sure you note down any side-effects you experience, as you may find that some medication has more of a negative effect on you. There are tons of apps you can use to note your mood and health; I love the ‘Clue’ app, which tracks periods but can also track mood, energy and sleep. The more information you can provide your GP with, the easier it will be for them to prescribe something that works for you. If you have been taking a medication for four weeks and felt no benefit, it’s important to go back to your doctor and let them know- there’s no point wasting time on a medication that isn’t right for you. Taking charge of your own mental health can be really empowering. Check in with yourself regularly, ask yourself how you’re doing, and be honest with yourself and with other people about how you feel. Try to remember that although you may feel worthless, you are more than just a set of symptoms, and your health and wellbeing is worth fighting for. Your happiness is important. by Rachel Nelson
by Rose Robbins
How to leave the house in times of trouble First, open your eyes. If you never open your eyes again, you won’t know what you’re missing and you won’t know what to call out if possible. Have any medication you require to move on: water, antidepressants, herbal remedies, a wank. Get up and, if you can, have a shower. If you feel Herculean enough, have breakfast and a shower or shower and a breakfast. Superheroes prepare an English Full Monty or, to stay in touch with the times, a Continental. For basic self-preservation, make a smoothie or chug a yogurt. You need the fruits to bring back colour to your skin. Get dressed. Wear something pretty and revealing, but not revealing enough to attract negative attention. You want a dress to hug your curves, not hands to suffocate them. When you feel stronger and ready to fight back, run naked down the road wearing nothing but a Swiss knife hanging from a necklace. Put on your makeup. You may cry while putting on eyeliner. If that happens, put it on again. Have makeup remover within your arm’s reach, and your phone next to it to call 999. Can you text 999 instead? Tweet 999 if possible. Put on some comfy shoes. Don’t be scared of betraying your gender or lack thereof. You’re still a woman on trainers. You’re still a man on stilettos. You’re still a person on boots. I recommend boots, in case you piss yourself and want to avoid soaking your socks in the puddles. Or, better off, in case your enemies piss themselves terrified by the fact that you’re not afraid to leave the house. (even if you are, they don’t need to know) Now get your umbrella, get your sunglasses, get your keys and open the door.
- by Cynthia Rodriguez
I WAS A BLUR I COULD BARELY FEEL THE EDGES AND EACH DAY CREPT UPON ME AND PUT ITS BONY HANDS ON MY SHOULDERS I SHRUGGED THEM OFF, SHUDDERED UNTIL I WAS A SHUDDERING MESS A HYPERVENTILATION AND THEN ONE LONG DRAWN-IN BREATH WORDS PRESENTED THEMSELVES TO ME FAMILIAR AND TERRIFYING IN THEIR PLAINNESS AND THEN GONE THEIR ABSENCE EVEN MORE UNSETTLING I AM STILL A BLUR THIS TIME CONFUSION MUDDIES MY EDGES Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;M UNSURE WHAT I GOT UP TO DO, OR WHY I AM SCARED MY BOUNDARIES HAVE BEEN LOST I FEEL SHAPELESS SHATTERED
- PANIC ATTACK