Page 1


welcome to the tiny revolution... It’s hard to believe it was our first

body

birthday

health, both mentally and physically.

at

the

beginning

of

May.

Two magazines, two amazing launch a

host

of

appearances,

has

affected

her

Jonatha Kottler (p43) explains the

What a year it’s been for Marbles.

events,

positivity

an

award nomination, and tons of new pals along the way. We feel really psyched to even be entering our second year

creative way she worked her way out of one major depressive bout. On p73, we’re

so

happy

to

welcome

Shamso

Abdirahman, who talks about religion, culture and mental health.

as a magazine, let alone having had

Our returning writers always make

such a swell time over the past year.

us smile, and this issue we have, once

Since the last issue, we’ve been having a wee think about how best to present Marbles to you. We know we’re 100% dedicated to providing amazing mental health writing and interviews. That’s not going to stop. But we’re just as interested in exploring how

again, Arusa Qureshi (p11), this time interviewing and

activist

musician, Ananya

entrepreneur Birla;

Laura

Waddell (p47) writing beautifully on anxiety at the optician; and David Pollock (p31) having a lovely chat with Scottish musician Adam Stafford.

we look at media as we are exploring

There are, of course, plenty more

how we look at mental health. We have

articles to get stuck into, enjoy,

some exciting new ideas in the works.

and

On the

that issue.

incredible

cryptic

note,

We

some

new

have folks

on

back

to

genuinely board

for

Marbles #3. Lola Keeley (p61) tackles the thorny subject of HAES and how

learn

a

little.

We’re

excited

for you to read Marbles #3, excited to still be here, and excited about what the future holds. Thank you, as always, for reading.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE... PERSONAL ESSAYS 7 //

MAGIC HABITS & ANXIETY

65 //

ATTITUDES ARE THE REAL

Alice Tarbuck

DISABILITY

Ricky Monahan Brown

73 //

TALKING TO AN OLD WHITE

MAN IN A CHAIR

Shamso Abdirahman

27 //

FRAGMENTS OF GRIEF

Dave Mackay

35 //

THE PRICE OF SALT

Eleanore Reid

39 //

THERE’S A GREMLIN IN MY

STOMATCH

Jo Marjoribanks

43 //

I WROTE MY WAY OUT

Jonatha Kottler

47 //

KZNHD

Laura Waddell

51 //

MAD & BAD

Lilith Cooper

61 //

HEALTHY (BUT NOT AT THIS SIZE)

Lola Keeley

77 //

BREAKING FREE

Sharon Jones

81 //

RECOVERY

Stella Hervey Birrell

89 //

WHEN MATHS GIVES YOU

PANIC ATTACKS

Yasemin Fischer


INTERVIEWS & FEATURES 11 //

ANANYA BIRLA

69 //

WILD AND KIND

Arusa Qureshi

Sarah-Louise Kelly

17 //

SELF-CARE THROUGH

85 //

TRIGGER

FLEXIBLE WORK

Kirstyn Smith

Becca Inglis

21 //

DAVE CHAWNER

Kirstyn Smith

31 //

ADAM STAFFORD

David Pollock

55 //

LILY ASCH

Kirstyn Smith

ILLUSTRATION 93 //

BENZO & JERRY’S

Rachel Rowan Olive

SPECIAL THANKS TO JOE MCMANUS Edited by KIRSTYN SMITH Designed by RITA FAIRE Printed by MIXAM

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without written permission from the publisher.

The views

expressed in Marbles are not necessarily those of the contributors, editors, or publishers.


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MAGICAL HABITS & ANXIETY by ALICE TARBUCK

Colloquialisms

associated

with

depressive

or

anxious behaviour often focus on negative habit forming: one can ‘fall into a rut’ or become ‘stuck’, develop ‘bad habits’ or lose positive ones.

My

experience

with

anxiety

has

been

mirrored by these phrases. When my mental health is bad, hard-fought for habits such as daily walks, contact with friends, even cooking, fall away. I find these habitless periods chaotic and bewildering. Days may run together, and tasks pile up. Outside my head, time seems to move in strange ways: hours are like lightning or treacle, weeks curious conglomerates of missed deadlines and undrunk cups of tea. On a microlevel, anxiety can upset time. However, in a broader view, time continues to move exactly as it should. If I find hours and

days

comforting.

difficult, They

I

unfold

find as

seasons

they

will,

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

deeply within 9

MAGICAL HABITS & ANXIETY BY ALICE TARBUCK


broadly outlined, but ultimately non-specific, purple

time.

crocus

does

The not

appear

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

on the same day every year–but, crucially,

it

always

appears.

For me, seasonal unfolding stops the unmoored feeling brought on by anxiety, because it gives me an

entirely

externalised

time-

MAGICAL HABITS & ANXIETY BY ALICE TARBUCK

frame to focus on. This, for me, is where rituals and habits can come in. However I am feeling about

my

life,

the

moon

will

be full once a month. The moon! That

beautiful

celestial

body

which pulls our tides. For me, honouring

the

moon’s

to go out and see people.

first

fullness,

whether that is sitting in her light for ten minutes (a habit rather brilliantly called ‘moonbathing’) or lighting a candle, or doing some basic spellwork, is a way of moving out beyond the brain-prison of an anxious state, even when I’m too unwell

Faith

can

be

an

enormous

succour, and although I am not religious, I find that I have increasing

faith

in

the

world

beyond me: the sea, the moon, the

earth,

is

where

and

small magic

dwells,

plants. comes

for

me:

This from,

in

the

interactions that occur between myself

and

the

natural

world.

Whatever you believe magic is - or if you disbelieve it altogether - the potency of ritual is welldocumented. Just as prayer can lift the spirits, so spells can. Burning

negative

candle-flame, out

of

thoughts

over

coaxing

seeds

making

herbal

earth,

offerings, each plant a potent symbol.

All

connect

me

larger

than

of back

these

things

to

something

myself,

something

that keeps going whether or not

“THE SEA, THE MOON, THE EARTH, SMALL PLANTS. THIS IS WHERE MAGIC COMES FROM...”

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MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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11

can

keep

Something

going

that

in

is

my

bigger

life. than

thoughts

or

Focus

something

on

bigger,

the

web of life, makes me feel less

inscrutable motions, or on the

alone, makes my suffering feel

seasons

with

less anguished and urgent.

changes,

and

There

is

also

something a place

conducive to reflection - on the natural world or not. I recently set up a proper altar, and enjoy lighting

a

candle

on

it

and

sending up my thoughts into the universe at large. Magic is, for many

people,

the

identifying

and exertion of the will in the

and

its

on

myself, the whole interconnected

wonderful about having

universe

catastrophising.

their

slow,

cyclical

celebrating

have given me a grounding point, and hugely helped in managing my anxiety.

Bringing

myself

helping

things

world

helps

me

rediscover

robbing

condition,

which

often

makes the sufferer feel utterly powerless,

trapped

by

swirling

my

will: it gives me the power to say, as some Wiccans and witches do at the end of spellwork ‘so mote it be’.

align

for oneself. Anxiety is a will-

into

closer relation with the natural

world: setting intentions, taking action,

that

focus through ritual and magic,

ALICE TARBUCK is an academic & writer living in Edinburgh. Her first poetry pamphlet, Grid, is published by Sad Press. @atarbuck

MAGICAL HABITS & ANXIETY BY ALICE TARBUCK

I


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ANANYA BIRLA by ARUSA QURESHI

For most 20-something pop musicians, enacting social change may not land right at the top of the to-do list, but, for Ananya Birla, music and social change go hand in hand. The Mumbai singer-songwriter signed to Universal India in 2016, with her electro-pop sound proving popular among fans as well as future collaborators Afrojack and Mood Melodies. But, aside from her success in India with her debut ‘Livin’ the Life’ and platinum selling 2017 single ‘Meant to Be’, Ananya’s passions have long extended beyond music to business, entrepreneurship and social justice. At the age of 17 she launched Svatantra, a microfinance organisation that helps empower rural women and, more recently, she co-founded mental health initiative MPower, which aims to lead the movement towards better mental health care services in India. With an EP due later this year, Ananya’s new single ‘Hold On’ may signal a blossoming pop music career, but her many projects, campaigns and initiatives also highlight her innate desire to make the world a better place. We catch up with Ananya to hear

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

13 ANANYA BIRLA BY ARUSA QURESHI


more about her music, the growth

Could you tell us more about your

of MPower and why she chooses to

new single ‘Hold On’? What does

keep

your

business

and

philanthropy

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

Having grown up in India but spent time working around the world, how have different cultures and experiences

impacted

how

you

make music?

ANANYA BIRLA BY ARUSA QURESHI

I’ve

the

so

many

learning

I

travel!

privilege people

of from

experience

whenever

But,

thing

one

I

have realised is that no matter where

you

go,

however

wildly

different it may be to your home, universal emotional experiences bind

us

love,

together:

falling

breaking-up,

in

rejection,

loneliness, joy. I

create

Authenticity music

to

sake.

But,

music

offers

reach

and

based

on

people

the

world

I

also the

share

like

that

potential an

to

emotional

experience with people anywhere. is

this

amazing

universal

language that people can connect with regardless of nationality, gender,

sexuality,

or

social

background. From

the

most

based

on

either

personal

my

own

or

from stories I relate to from enjoy

writing

about

love

and

stories of overcoming adversity. Sometimes

it

starts

with

lyrics, sometimes with a melody that I think captures the emotion I’m trying to convey. I am still growing as an artist, so I don’t necessarily have a fixed process. I am always open to being led by

what

feels

right.

If

it’s

meant to be then the song comes you move on. Especially seen

recently,

relationships

I

have

which

have

been challenged because of social pressures, whether that’s race, religion, sexuality—all sorts of things. With ‘Hold On’ I wanted to address this, and to praise the brave people who overcome it. I wanted to tell couples going through a difficult period that, if

you

love

someone

and

they

respect and love you in return, perspective,

it’ll be worth it and the journey

wherever I travel I observe how

only makes you stronger as an

the culture of a place influences

individual and as a couple.

its

a

is

together. Often it doesn’t and

music

over. I love music for music’s

It

is

experience,

emotional experiences which are relatable

usually

important thing to me. All my

different cultures. It’s always a

process

the people I meet. I particularly

had

meeting

writing

involve?

closely connected.

sound

music.

I’ve

found

that

the identity of a nation or a

How do you balance your role as

community

a musician and entrepreneur with

music.

is

so

bound

to

its

various projects on the go?

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14


grades, to run my business back in India, to play at gigs every

I am so fortunate to have such

weekend,

amazing teams working with me on

impossible to do it all well. I

my music and my businesses. It is

battled against anxiety and panic

because of them that I am able to

attacks and found it difficult to

prioritise and delegate when it

reach out for help. I was nervous

is necessary.

that people would undermine my

Over

the

past

year,

I

have

to

socialise.

It

was

abilities.

for

issues around addressing mental

MPower. I have been able to take

health became even more evident.

a much more strategic role with

Today,

Svatantra, the business I set up

students in India is at one per

when I was 17. Svatantra, which

hour, over 20% of young people

means freedom in Hindi, empowers

suffer from a disabling mental

women in the Indian countryside

illness,

by

3000 psychiatrists for the 20m

and

working

on

helping

campaigns

them

grow

their

businesses. Currently, little

I

more

managing

have

to

be

innovative

my

time—I’ll

a

with

jump

on

Skype calls with my team while

the

suicide

and

rate

there

among

are

Indian

people

battling

health

issues.

Even

only mental

when

help

is available, people are scared to

reach

out

because

of

the

devastating stigma.

getting makeup done for a shoot

My mother and I started MPower

or go through paperwork while on

to make it easier for people to get

a flight.

help and to empower individuals and their families dealing with

What

made

MPower?

you

Why

want

is

to

start

breaking

down

mental

health

disorders.

We

provide

world-class

the stigma that surrounds mental

services

in

health important to you?

and we run initiatives such as

I was

had at

a

tough

university

Initially adjust—the

it

was

time in

when the

difficult

transition

from

I

UK. to

our

holistic

care

centre,

concerts and cyclothons to raise awareness and encourage education to stamp out the stigma.

the

Starting MPower was extremely

intensity of Mumbai to the uber

important because of my personal

quiet streets of Oxford and a

connection, I know how it touches

whole new group of people was

people’s

harder than I expected. Then I

shy

struggled because I began to put

the situation better for other

myself under too much pressure

people who found themselves in a

to do everything. To achieve the

similar position to me

away

lives from

and

I

trying

couldn’t to

make

ANANYA BIRLA BY ARUSA QURESHI

When I returned to India, the

been really focused on my music

15

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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Surrounding yourself with good people is essential for success.


Do you think there is a particular

scientific and medical knowledge.

difference in how mental health is viewed and spoken about in

We

also

know

how

important

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

India?

it is still a topic that people

to

aren’t that vocal about and feel

this at all levels of society.

the need to hide from society.

We work with industry leaders,

The perception is slowly changing

influencers

ANANYA BIRLA BY ARUSA QURESHI

it is to start at the top in

but there’s a long way to go. It

make

is a global issue, but the degree

that’s

influencing

to which Indians have to suffer

driving

greater

silently is alarming.

providing proper care.

convincing people that there is

Most

definitely.

Currently

Depression and suicide rates

no shame about mental health and normalise

discussions

and

positive

Eventually

about

governments change;

to

whether

policy

or

investment

for

I

want

afraid

help

this early stage I want to focus

because they don’t want to be

on issues in India, where we are

judged or perceived as inadequate.

already making a big impact.

reach

out

for

Particularly in rural India, you still see parents taking unwell children to temples instead of hospitals.

but

take

MPower

to

international,

to

are on the rise, and people are

at

// Find out more at ananyabirla.com and mpowerminds.com.

What do you hope that MPower will accomplish in its work in mental health in India and beyond? With

MPower,

we

hope

that

eventually people will know that their

mental

health

does

not

determine their right or ability to contribute to society. And, that sometimes it is okay not to be okay. It’s for and has

extremely

people

to

accepting a

mental

important

be

supportive

when illness,

someone and

be

empowered to understand how they can

help,

rather

than

blaming

external circumstances. We want to continue to raise awareness and encourage education based on

ARUSA QURESHI works as an Editor for The List. She was the winner of the Postgraduate Student of the Year award at the 2016 Scottish Magazine Awards and her dissertation on the role of women of colour in the industry won the Postgraduate Dissertation prize at the 2017 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards. Most recently, she was announced as the winner in the features category of the 2017 Allen Wright Award for arts journalists under 30.

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ARTICLE TITLE BY AUTHOR


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SELF-CARE THROUGH

FLEXIBLE WORK... by BECCA INGLIS

Freelancing, on the face of it, is a terrible idea when you have depression or anxiety. Job insecurity and an unstable income are pretty much guaranteed, which is stressful enough without a lack of self-belief. Networking, every socially anxious person’s worst nightmare, is necessary, as is the ability to sell yourself in spite of your tendency towards negative self-talk. When I first thought about working for myself, headlines like ‘Why Freelancers Are So Depressed’ and ‘How Self-Employment Can Impact Your Mental Health’ dominated

Google’s

first

page.

The

received

wisdom seemed to be ‘don’t do it!’, and I very nearly didn’t. But there is a flipside. Self-employment is hard, but there are ways in which it has helped me and others better manage our mental health. The most obvious benefit is the adaptable lifestyle. ‘You have a lot of flexibility in your work

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

19 SELF-CARE THROUGH FLEXIBLE WORK BY BECCA INGLIS


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

Wilson,

For Heather McDaid, co-founder

who promotes gigs in Edinburgh

of 404 Ink, self-employment has

as Flow State Music. ‘If you’re

meant committing more consciously

having

to time away from work.

schedule,’

day, out

says

a

particularly

you to

can

do

thinking

Kyle

take

your

thing

positively

productively.’

some

For

shit time

and

and

get work

Kyle,

and

for me, that means disconnecting

SELF-CARE THROUGH FLEXIBLE WORK BY BECCA INGLIS

from the internet for a few hours and going for a walk. Not a lot cures heart palpitations and a frazzled head like a march around the block with your headphones

‘I can see the red flags on me slipping into a darker place and I try to combat it early,’ she says, ‘even if that’s stopping work at 11am and watching trashy TV. Instead of feeling like a wasted day, I’ve tried to refocus it as making me feel better enough to work fully the next day.’ At

in. Getting to know your personal stressors and how to manage them is part of being self-employed, partly

because

its

pressures

are what triggers them. My own anxiety and depression are very

the

end

of

last

year,

Heather and 404 Ink co-founder Laura Jones published a blog post titled ‘We are tired af’, which detailed

their

burnout

from

a

year of solid work. ‘We

made

pledges

and it really has worked,’ says

and comparing myself to others

Heather. ‘It’s about structure,

being the main culprits—that I

giving

am forced to confront every day

space, and coming back to work

I

with a clearer head. It’s easy

work.

CBT

(cognitive

of

to

thinking—a fear of the unknown

to

care

how

better

go

take

on

much tied to certain patterns of

yourself

breathing

behavioural therapy), where you

when

work to notice and challenge your

home, to think you need to work

own negative thoughts, has been

constantly, but balance is key.’

prescribed to me in the past, and I have never been much good at it. But it is an evidence-based form of self-help, and after two years

of

freelancing

there

is

now a stack of that proving I am able to deal with stressful situations, can keep sourcing new projects and proving my work’s worth, and that I can do it over and

over

again.

Practice

has

working

ourselves

yourself,

and

at

I read the blog post at the time and felt enormous comfort. It was reassuring to know that other

freelancers

found

things

hard, and that I wasn’t in some way deficient. Kyle believes that even more of us should be opening up about our mental health. ‘More

people

are

being

open

about mental health, but there

helped me reframe uncertainty as

still

something to be comfortable with.

attached,’

seems he

to

be

says.

a

stigma

‘You

are

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some

he

freelancers I’ve spoken to are in

own

business

and

in

fear of losing out on future work

it’s good to get an outsider’s

because of their mental health

perspective. We’re all human at

situation.’

the end of the day!’

says. your

‘Someone situation

has

been

before

and

But talking about it can show that

freelancing

with

mental

illness is not only possible but relatively

common.

survey

Kyle

published

quotes

by

Help

Musicians UK, which found that 74% of workers in the creative industry reported suffering from mental health issues. ‘Chatting freelancers,

with and

other

friends

in

general, about issues, can help,’

BECCA INGLIS is a creative nonfiction writer and reviewer based in Edinburgh. She is the Books Editor for The Wee Review, writes about music for The Skinny, and her essay, ‘Love in a Time of Melancholia’ appeared in 404 Ink’s 2017 collection Nasty Women. Becca has also performed her work at For Books Sake’s ‘That’s What She Said’ and Interrobang.

“SELF-EMPLOYMENT IS HARD, BUT THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH IT HAS HELPED ME AND OTHERS BETTER MANAGE OUR MENTAL HEALTH. THE MOST OBVIOUS BENEFIT IS THE ADAPTABLE LIFESTYLE.”

SELF-CARE THROUGH FLEXIBLE WORK BY BECCA INGLIS

one

21

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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DAVE CHAWNER interview by KIRSTYN SMITH

Dave Chawner is an award-winning comic, published author

and

mental

health

campaigner.

He’s

been

featured in The Guardian, The Independent, The Metro, Tomorrow’s World, Mental Health in the Metropolis, and BBC Breakfast. His 2015 Fringe show, Mental, was a vulnerable look at living with anorexia, and his 2017 Fringe show, C’est La Vegan, talked about his complicated history with food.

// I always say it started at 17, but I don’t think it manifests overnight. But when I was 17 there were numerous different triggers. One of the bigger ones was that I really enjoyed my childhood, unlike, I think, a lot of mental health stories. I had a fucking great childhood. And I think I didn’t want that to end. I got a lead role in a play and I had to lose a little bit of weight for it and everyone kept on telling me that I looked good. At that point, I had UCAS deadlines, I had exams, I had resits and coursework, and I didn’t feel good. I felt like I was on a conveyor belt with no way to stop it. I could see I was going to move away from my friends, who I got on with so well, my family, my girlfriend.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

23 DAVE CHAWNER BY KIRSTYN SMITH


Anorexia became a subliminal response

to

my

situation.

In the end, a woman from Lambeth Talking

Therapies

said:

‘We’ll

and

try and treat your depression,

challenging and out of my reach,

but I’m telling you now, it’ll

that it was quite nice to have

do bugger all if you don’t see to

a

that

the anorexia. Your brain doesn’t

was above life that I could do

have the energy to release the

something about.

endorphins.’ If you don’t charge

Everything

felt

so

big

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

distraction—something

your laptop, you can’t be annoyed

DAVE CHAWNER BY KIRSTYN SMITH

// My

it’s not working.

relationship

with

anorexia

would go in and out of focus. I decided to do a show about it because I wanted to use humour to engage people and to raise awareness guilty

of

anorexia.

meeting

these

I

felt

people—

these mothers, brothers, sisters, boyfriends—whose lives had been ravaged.And

here

was

me,

some

little jumped-up prick. So I had this massive relapse. It

was

a

very

dangerous

relapse, because I knew exactly

I

was

always

really

staunch

that if I got offered treatment I

would

engage

to

100%

of

my

ability. Although my BMI was low, it wasn’t a critical level. It’s hard to reconcile that it’s not actually a binary thing: it’s a sliding scale of severity, and that’s why I want to be the change that I don’t think was around. It’s not about BMIs, it’s not about waist size, it’s not about kilos, it’s about the impact it has on people’s lives.

was a slow form of suicide, and I

//

was very much aware of that and I

A key point in my recovery was

started to speed up that process,

instead of looking at it like

started writing the letters and

losing the anorexia, I started

started getting the videos ready.

seeing

what I was doing. The anorexia

// The

only

reason,

depression.

honestly,

I

Depression

is

shit. I felt rubbish for ages and I had sustained low moods, and there was one particular week where

everything

as

gaining

my

life

I remember feeling like I did

engaged with therapy was because of

it

back. One Thursday in March 2016,

was

perfect—

everything I’d ever asked for was coming true. I just didn’t feel it at all and I went to the GP.

all those years ago when I was in sixth form: silly and having fun, and I realised I used to really enjoy being that kind of person. Happy-go-lucky, silly, a bit cheeky, a bit of a lad. That was

a

critical

turning

point,

realising the thing I’m gaining back is actually quite fun. I hate to admit it, but I think

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one of my biggest triggers for

the moment, I’ve had an argument

anorexia was loneliness. I put

with my girlfriend and I feel

pressure MARBLES MAGAZINE,

a

really guilty about it and I’m

partner because I thought I would

pushing people away and this is a

die alone. I hate that, because

constant pattern and I don’t know

it’s

how to break it.’

on

the

myself

sort

of

to

find

shit

that

Hollywood spins up, and I don’t think you should ever put your recovery

into

somebody

else’s

DAVE CHAWNER BY KIRSTYN SMITH

hands. It put a hell of a lot of pressure on Una, my girlfriend, as well. Hopefully she’s going to be the girl that I spend the rest of my life with, and I think she was a huge turning point, but whether that’s helpful is a very different question.

I had a bit of a blip last year. I was really down and out, so the

Samaritans

man

I

I’ve

think

said: got

you’ve

‘I’m to

got

really

stop the

you, wrong

number.’ I said: ‘But you said this was the Samaritans.’ And he went: ‘Yeah, the charity shop in Willesden Green. Would you like to make a donation?’

//

// Googled

The sorry,

on

my

phone. The bloke picked up and I said: ‘Hi, I just feel so bad at

I feel a duty to say that I know there are a lot of men out there who feel that they get overlooked by the fact that perhaps there isn’t the presence or awareness for men. However, I’ve never been

“A KEY POINT IN MY RECOVERY WAS INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT IT LIKE LOSING THE ANOREXIA, I STARTED SEEING IT AS GAINING MY LIFE BACK.”

✂ TEAR HERE

26


was like: ‘Mate, you wanna get

I’ve never really defined myself

that checked out.’ I wish people

that much as a bloke. I’ve always

had been like that with my mental

been

health.

feminine

and

camp

and,

actually, that was one of the things I loved about the anorexia because I was always terrified of my own sexuality.

Although I do want to use humour to engage people who feel awkward or isolated or ostracised with eating

disorders,

I

also

want

to educate people who’re lucky

felt that made me, by default,

enough to have no experience with

a bit of a pervert. Especially

it. I strongly feel that the onus

if you look in the media: Harvey

isn’t on the general public to

Weinstein,

go

pay

upskirting,

gaps—it’s

an

gender

embarrassing

out

eating

there

and

disorders,

learn I

about

honestly

gender to be. I’ve always been

think

it’s

scared of my sex drive, and that

lived

experiences

was one of the things that came

interesting enough. I just have

up in therapy: it’s okay to be

no

a man and it’s okay to have a

stand-up for nearly 10 years—so

libido.

how beautiful is it to combine the

broke

my

little

to

people to

make

lose—I’ve

with it done

two: something that’s harrowing,

// I

dignity

about

has the highest mortality rate of finger

a

couple of years ago, and everyone

any mental illness, and ravages families—and

using

humour

engage with that.

“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN FEMININE AND CAMP AND, ACTUALLY, THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVED ABOUT THE ANOREXIA BECAUSE I WAS ALWAYS TERRIFIED OF MY OWN SEXUALITY.”

to

DAVE CHAWNER BY KIRSTYN SMITH

Being a straight bloke, I always

27

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

✂ TEAR HERE

massively aligned with my gender,


✂ TEAR HERE

GRIEF FRAGMENTS OF

by DAVID MACKAY

I’m slouched on the wall of a graveyard, outside a basilica at the top of a mountain which overlooks Florence. I’m sitting next to Oisin, a man I met properly about a week or two ago. My feet dangle over the high wall to the ornate headstones below, and blood has gathered in them; they feel swollen and heavy. The sun is low in the sky, partially gilding the buildings of the cityscape. My phone starts vibrating in my pocket. The screen, hard to read in the sunlight, displays an alien phone number and underneath I can make out the word ‘Jamaica’ which anchors it to earth and to my parents.

// The hearse drives past us with Mum in her green cardboard coffin. I feel its magnetic pull. I am aware of a crowd of people around us, observing us,

observing

grief.

Every

action

I

make

feels

massively important. I am hyperaware of my immediate MARBLES MAGAZINE,

29 FRAGMENTS OF GRIEF BY DAVID MACKAY


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

surroundings, but any sense of

I saw my brother’s face after he

context

both

went into that ornate room to see

lost Mum and am observing myself

her plain body. The waiting room

lose Mum. I am matching up my

was

experiences to the deaths I’ve

books, placed there in a vain

witnessed in fiction and to the

attempt

fiction that is other people’s

the young. There was no adult

lives.

section.

is

A

gone.

film,

I

a

have

story,

a

scattered to

explain

character, an arc. I never thought

FRAGMENTS OF GRIEF BY DAVID MACKAY

anyone

would

die,

not

funeral, this feels in some way clichéd, a pantomime I’ve seen a thousand times before. Seeing so many others who loved Mum swells my heart and snatches breath from my lungs.

children’s death

to

//

really.

Although I have never been to a

with

I cover my face on the plane as I sit crying in relative silence next to a couple who don’t know what to do, so do nothing. My face is contorted, tight, teeth bared,

eyes

and

nose

leaking

slowly. When I meet my uncle at

//

Edinburgh airport, the floodgates burst as I see reality reflected

Oisin and I are sitting behind

in

the basilica on a slope of grass

into the Prayer Room where my

his

face.

He

shepherds

me

surrounded by trees. Occasional

brother, sister and her partner

tourists

local

churchgoers

are waiting. Grief saturates the

I

crying

and

air, dripping from the ceiling

My

and burning our cheeks with a

fingers tremble as I attempt to

salty sting. There’s an altar at

roll a cigarette between bouts

the end of the room with pews

of laughing and looking to the

on either side. Behind the altar

treetops

lies

meander

and by.

laughing

am

hysterically.

for

answers

through

a

selection

of

religious

seen

texts: the Bible, the Quran, the

stressed people smoking in films.

Torah, others I’m sure. Take your

The unreality of the situation and

pick.

subaquatic

vision.

I’ve

the ridiculous predicament Oisin

//

is in makes me laugh. ‘Whose Mum just fucking dies?’ I inquire to no one. I burst into tears again and wonder what passersby might think has happened.

The piece of information bore no relation to my environment. An absence is harder to comprehend

//

than a presence, perhaps. You’ve

I never saw Mum dead, but I saw

can’t remember where everything

something commensurate, perhaps:

used to be. You are told that

been robbed but you’re not sure what

exactly

they

took,

you

✂ TEAR HERE

30


and her necklace from her dead

then know that they are dead.

fingers and throat. They left Dad

Perhaps you can only ever slowly

standing there with no help. ‘She

feel

A

has passed,’ is all the doctor

feeling that changes every day,

says as he turns his back. No

with no indication, sudden and

attempt is made at resuscitation.

unexpected.

My mum died in the Blue Mountains

that

they

are

dead.

As we ascended the stairs to the post-funeral brother

broke

the

reception silence:

‘Imagine if Mum suddenly jumped out from behind that wall.’

stole

her

attack,

dead.

Death

is

not

a

poet. No indication, sudden and unexpected.

I

remember

telling

myself that maybe it was for the

// They

UTI, pus, blood poisoning, heart

best, a good death, it could have been worse. She died in my Dad’s wedding

ring

arms. poet.

DAVID MACKAY is an artist and picture framer living and working in Edinburgh. In 2015 he was awarded the John Kinross Scholarship by the Royal Scottish Academy to live and study in Florence. He also received the Alistair Smart Memorial Prize for his sculpture and audio installation Standing Reserve. He was invited to show work at the New Scottish Artists exhibition in London, 2016, by The Fleming-Wyfold Foundation. Last year David completed a residency in a small village in Italy, taking part in a project called The Museum of Loss and Renewal, where he embraced writing into his practice.

Death

is

not

a

fucking

FRAGMENTS OF GRIEF BY DAVID MACKAY

my

drinks

of Jamaica. Death is not a poet.

31

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

✂ TEAR HERE

someone is dead, but you do not

“I NEVER THOUGHT ANYONE WOULD DIE, NOT REALLY.”


✂ TEAR HERE

ADAM STAFFORD by DAVID POLLOCK For an artist with a 12-year history of recording albums both under his own name and at the head of his own band Y’All is Fantasy Island, and whose short documentary films have won awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Palm Springs Film

Festival

and

Brazil’s

Belo

Horizonte

Film

Festival (all for 2009’s The Shutdown, created with writer and fellow Falkirk native Alan Bissett), it seems fair to say that Adam Stafford’s latest work is his most personal yet. The

double

released

this

album May,

Fire a

Behind

largely

the

Curtain

instrumental

is

work

inspired by the minimalist compositions of Steve Reich, Meredith Monk and Ingram Marshall. Written over the past eight years of Stafford’s life, it’s also what the press release describes as a ‘personal exorcism and a testimony of (his) internal struggle with anxiety and severe depression’. Although the songs are largely instrumental mood pieces, they all

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

33 ADAM STAFFORD BY DAVID POLLOCK


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

have their own stories, and the

of the illness, and it was done

biographical details behind them

really

are areas which Stafford is happy

was written in maybe a month and

to discuss.

a half.’

quickly—the

whole

disc

ADAM STAFFORD BY DAVID POLLOCK

‘I’d say I’ve definitely had

As a package, the album is a

depression since I was about 13,

powerful, evocative listen, but

maybe even earlier than that,’ he

there’s

says. ‘I was severely dyslexic

tone between the lighter, string-

throughout school, and I think

filled

the fact that I was struggling

intensity of the second. ‘There

and couldn’t even write my own

have

name until I was about ten—my

elements to my music in the past,

arithmetic was really bad, too—

but this time it’s more detailed,

meant I had quite a disruptive

more

childhood.

definitely first

a

shift

record

always

been

constructed,

and

in the

disturbing

it

has

more

ADHD

dissonant, atonal elements,’ says

regular

Stafford. ‘There’s a song called

problems when I was a kid, which

“Penshaw Monument”, which is like

all coalesced when I became a

a ritual chant for ten minutes,

teenager. I would say from that

it gets more extreme and more

point on, depression has always

extreme. To me, the process of

been lurking in the background.’

that kind of performance is like

and,

you

In

I

also

know,

tracing

over

recent

maps

the

had

just

Stafford’s years,

the

mood album

a purging, like an exorcism.’ Through

his

titles

Stafford

severely

also explores other areas, for

depressive episode. ‘All of the

example misogyny dressed up as

first disc was written while I

pious

morality

on

was trying to sort things out in

Hunt’

or

masculinity

my late 20s and early 30s,’ says

‘Museum of Grinding Dicks’.

the

path

of

a

now-36-year-old,

‘trying

to figure out what direction I wanted my life to go in. Not just speaking musically, but in terms of whether I wanted to raise a family and have children, or what I wanted to continue doing for the rest of my life [he’s now a father]. Then, in 2016, I had a really bad depressive episode— it

frightened

my

friends

and

toxic

‘The

Witch on

‘Looking back to when I was a teenager and thinking about the males I grew up with, I realise what a toxic culture we all were part of,’ he says. ‘I guess it comes back round to trying to sort things out in the mind, to make sense of what your opinions are and how you reached them.’ ‘Creativity

family, to be honest—and then,

conversation

just

is with

like my

a

mental

the

health,’ he continues. ‘I find it

second disc to the album. It was

cathartic, in fact I wish I was

an extreme reaction on the back

doing it all the time. I don’t

after

that,

I

wrote

✂ TEAR HERE

34


35

it certainly takes my attention away from wallowing in a dark mood.

I’m

having

much

completed

happier this

for

record,

and I think it’s testament to the fact you can become pretty ill and still manage to come up with something creative. A lot of you think, “I can’t achieve that” or “what’s the point in trying to

achieve

it’s

anything?”

recorded

and

But

now

pressed

and

going to be released, and for me it’s a really big deal that I’ve gone through that and I’ve made something at the end of it.’

// Fire Behind the Curtain by Adam Stafford was released via Song, By Toad Records on May 4th.

DAVID POLLOCK is an arts, music and feature writer from Edinburgh. He writes for The List, The Scotsman, The Independent, The Guardian, Mixmag, The Big Issue and many other titles, and has discussed music and other subjects on BBC Radio Scotland. @thelatedave

ADAM STAFFORD BY DAVID POLLOCK

the time when you have depression

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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know if it’s a distraction, but


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THE PRICE OF SALT

by ELEANOR REID

SHADES OF COOL Full

disclosure:

I’m

writing

this

essay

while

listening to Lana del Rey’s Ultraviolence on an Urban Outfitters’ vinyl, and that’s very much an appropriate starting point for the issue at hand. By this point in my life, I’ve learned to take del Rey with a pinch of salt. I openly enjoy her music, but I have a good sense of humour about how ridiculous she can be and I know she’s ultimately problematic. Del Rey is just one of many ‘Sad Girls’ who are important to me, because it’s always reassuring to find someone who seems to struggle with their sadness too. But I didn’t always take things like lyrics with the pinch of salt that I do now and I can’t help but feel she’s one of many powerful figures playing into a trend. I have a problem with Lana del Rey, and that problem is reflective of something much deeper. I’m addicted to being a Sad Girl™, and though I joke about it, the scarring impact on my life has been very real and tangible in

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

37 THE PRICE OF SALT BY ELEANOR REID


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

the form of a lingering self harm

represented as doing; they were

problem and a massively delayed

trying to work through it.

recovery from several depressive

THE SAD NET™

episodes. I’m not blaming this on del Rey.

My

worship

of

other

Sad

Girls all began long before Born to Die even hit my black iPod Nano in 2012. But Lana is one

THE PRICE OF SALT BY ELEANOR REID

of many who cleverly manipulate a trend to make money. When you break it down, her lyrics have (on

average)

told

young

women

with mental illnesses that it’s attractive to want to die and encourage

them

to

hold

on

to

their sadness.

Sad

Net™

is

not

a

new

phenomenon. I’ve been hooked for over a decade. In my teen days, while my friends were Googling other

worrying

things

like

‘thinspiration’, 15-year-old me was looking into cutting trends and

enviously

pictures covered

of in

appreciating

pretty scars

teenagers

and

tattooed

with Paramore quotes. They all looked the way I felt (probably emo, tragic, clever, depressed,

My first Sad Girl crush was Sylvia

The

Plath.

Plath

should

be

empty) but with the addition of being beautiful. With my low self

everyone’s first Sad Girl crush

confidence

if

it

was

so

easy

to

right.

look at these others and decide

However, she (perhaps unlike del

to emulate the ways in which, I

Rey, though I can’t back this up)

believed,

had an actual mental illness to

sadness attractive.

they’re

doing

it

deal with. I blame the internet for making Plath a stereotypical Sad

Girl

(the

greatest

internet—whose

tragedy

is

perhaps

misquoting and decontextualising mentally fans,

ill

artists).

myself

among

glorified

words

who

about

wrote

(for

example,

Interrupted

Online

them,

from

have

others

suffering

author

of

Susanna

too

Girl,

Kaysen,

playwright Sarah Kane, Virginia Woolf

and

Kate

marketers

have

interest

tenfold.

Chopin)

jumped

on

But

and this fans

like me need to remember that these

women

weren’t

praising

mental illnesses or encouraging it in they way they are often

they

had

made

their

I’ve found what could be called ‘Sad Circles’ on Bebo, Myspace, Tumblr,

Twitter,

Instagram, shops

and

like

Facebook,

even

in

Redbubble,

online Amazon,

Etsy and Urban Outfitters. I find it hard to believe that it hasn’t been turned into a marketing scam when you can so easily buy black heart-shaped say

‘SAD’

For

many

pins and

of

the

that

nothing same

simply else. reasons

I’m always wary about the empty commercialisation

of

feminism,

it’s important to ask who the people making money from these sales are. There’s a line between self

expression

of

mental

✂ TEAR HERE

38


avoided by comedies; bisexuality,

commercialisation

BPD,

of

it.

Young

surrogacy

me found it, and bought into it

suicide,

completely.

More

In

2016,

I

went

through

counselling for my idealisation of death and sadness. It doesn’t even

take

the

full

hour-long

first session with someone new main thing slowing my recovery. It’s

been

called

addiction.

I

an

aesthetic

sometimes

think

masculinity.

interestingly,

it

does

this through music and humour. A standout song has to be ‘I’m in a Sexy French Depression’, which straight up parodies the Sad Girl aesthetic. Humour can be healing, and Crazy Ex responsibly goes on to show that the character needs help and depicts how recovery can be a rollercoaster.

‘being sad’ is what makes me me.

The marketing and commercial-

And how could I ever let go of

isations of fashionable despair

who I am? I’ve learned that I’m

hurts

part of the problem too, when I

(and presumably everyone else),

promote it as trendy. In March

and the romanticisation of de-

2018, I still search for ways

pression as an enviable ‘look’

to justify the thread of hope

is the reason I first decided to

I have holding on to my ‘cool’

self harm. Even now, I need to

depressive attitude. My logical

keep

side can’t find many.

out for better representation. I

REPRESENTING SAD

know I can’t fully avoid bad rep-

Representations

of

importantly

still

do

need

songs,

poetry

and

overwhelmed with depression. But we don’t need the encouragement to click on an advertisement and consume it as a fashion trend. also

definitely

don’t

to

look

member the taxing price of doing otherwise.

how

online discussion about becoming

We

myself

with that pinch of salt, and re-

we represent and consume them. We

reminding

girls

to remind myself to take things

mental is

vulnerable

resentation yet, so I also need

illnesses are so important, but more

young

need

#PrettyWhenYouCry hashtags. I think Crazy Ex Girlfriend has some very good representation. It cleverly tackles things usually

ELEANOR REID is an Irish writer and journalist now working in the UK publishing industry as an editor. She has a particular interest in LGBT writing, mental health issues and feminist publishing. She’s recently been featured in Monstrous Regiment’s The Bi-ble: Anthology of Bisexual Essays, and in Motley Magazine. She spends her time tackling bi erasure and discussing feminist approaches to literature. She is based in Edinburgh.

THE PRICE OF SALT BY ELEANOR REID

for them to discover it as the

toxic

39

hormones, MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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illness and the glorification or


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THERE’S A GREMLIN IN MY STOMACH ANTHROPOMORPHISING PHYSICAL ILLNESS by JO MARJORIBANKS

Anthropomorphising—the

act

of

ascribing

human

characteristics to non-human entities—is such an integral part of our lives that we barely notice we’re doing it. We refer to menacing rain clouds, temperamental

technology

and

stubborn

colds

in

the same way we would describe a person as being irritating and obstinate. It doesn’t matter that these things are not sentient and can’t actually exhibit the emotions and motives we attribute to them. The act of referring to them in those terms makes them more relatable and easier to integrate into everyday conversation. For

example,

remarking

that

‘the

sky

looks

menacing’ is far more likely to build a rapport with someone than commenting on ‘the dense formation of cumulonimbus clouds’. Both statements essentially mean the same thing, but the way they’re expressed determines how the person hearing them responds. It’s no secret to people who live with mental and physical illness that the language used to describe these conditions has a direct effect on the way

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

41 THERE’S A GREMLIN IN MY STOMACH BY JO MARJORIBANKS


they

are

perceived

by

others.

My gremlin and I do not get

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

Even for those with a willingness

along.

to learn more and offer support,

I am either in relatively mild

medical

discomfort

jargon

and

societal

Depending or

on

bent

his

mood,

double

in

an

agony. I do my best not to anger

environment that prohibits open

him, but he’s very unreasonable.

discussion and understanding.

Recently,

preconceptions

often

create

I’ve lived with poor physical health

for

over

half

my

life

THERE’S A GREMLIN IN MY STOMACH BY JO MARJORIBANKS

and, although I’ve accepted my condition is chronic and unlikely to

improve,

provoke

it

anxiety

continues and

depression

that

rob

motivation

and

hopes

bouts me

of

for

to of my the

future.

at

a

bra

fitting

appointment, I was told that the bras I currently wear are too big and was given one in the correct size to try on. Despite the fact that it was a much better fit and supported me properly, the gremlin reacted as though I had donned a straightjacket and gave me no choice but to accept the bigger size. (To be honest, he

At this point, I could begin a

would prefer I wore no bras at

lengthy explanation filled with

all, but I’m stubbornly refusing

medical terminology and a long

to make that concession).

list of symptoms to explain my diagnosis, but instead I’m going to say this: I have a gremlin in my stomach. I don’t mean the cute, cuddly ones that make adorable noises. I mean the nasty, evil creatures with sharp teeth and nefarious plans.

I left the appointment feeling frustrated, than

a

defeated,

little

angry.

and

more

To

make

myself feel better, I wrote an imaginary

exchange

between

the

gremlin and I in which we argued loudly in the middle of the M&S lingerie

department

in

front

“CONSIDERING I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT MY HEALTH WITH MY DOCTORS IN STRICTLY MEDICAL TERMS...”

✂ TEAR HERE

42


painfully honest terms. On those

the bra fitter. I sent it to my

days,

friend and we both laughed about

anxiety and a profound feeling

my grumpy gremlin.

of

Anthropomorphising my illness in this way allows me to take ownership

of

my

condition

and

poke fun at it on my own terms. Having

seen

the

state

of

my

camera, I much prefer the image of my gremlin stomping his feet and cackling to himself than the reality of what’s going on in there. Considering I have to talk about my health with my doctors

experience

hopelessness

43

terrible

that

things

will continue to get worse and adversely affect my future. But then I feel a sharp pain in my stomach and imagine the gremlin’s annoyance at being ignored, and I chuckle to myself. Living with a chronic illness can make me feel weak and powerless, so whatever I can do to take some of that power back is worth doing, even if it means imagining there’s a little monster living inside me.

in strictly medical terms, it’s a relief to be able to discuss it in a more humorous way with my friends and family. Telling them that the gremlin is practising his drumming is much easier and more

light-hearted

than

saying

that my stomach is very painful. There

are

some

days

when

I

don’t feel able to make light of the situation and find myself discussing my health in stark,

JO MARIJOBANKS is an editor and writer who lives in West Lothian with her gremlin and a growing collection of Star Trek memorabilia. Her short story, ‘What Remains’, was featured in the Almond Press anthology, Apocalypse Chronicles. You can find her tweeting about books, writing, mental health and random geeky things. @JoMarjoribanks.

“...IT’S A RELIEF TO BE ABLE TO DISCUSS IT IN A MORE HUMOROUS WAY WITH MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY.”

THERE’S A GREMLIN IN MY STOMACH BY JO MARJORIBANKS

digestive system via an endoscope

I

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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of curious onlookers and Janet


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I WROTE MY WAY OUT by JONATHA KOTTLER

I was lying in my bed, face hot and wet with tears, another long night of no sleep. Third? Fourth? I watched TV shows on Netflix on my iPad, nodding off for two minutes, three, waking up to the sound of my husband’s snoring. Repeat all night. I could wake him up, and we could talk, hissed whispers so we didn’t wake up our teenaged son, with whom we shared a bedroom wall in the tiny flat in Amsterdam. But the conversation, too, would fall into its rut. ‘I hate it here, I wish I’d never moved’ (me) ‘I know. I’m sorry. I have to work in five hours’ (him). There was nothing unsaid (except everything) and he couldn’t lose this job from showing up exhausted, so eventually I would just let him sleep and suffer alone. We had moved for a huge adventure and instead of being a partner in it, I was a broken wreck—so depressed that raising my head felt like a day’s worth of effort and nothing had prepared either of us for this.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

45 I WROTE MY WAY OUT BY JONATHA KOTTLER


MARBLES MAGAZINE, I WROTE MY WAY OUT BY JONATHA KOTTLER

I

One day after months of this I

hate it. I would like to die.

saw a copy of Natalie Goldberg’s

Buffy’s vampire adventures were

Writing Down the Bones in the

loud enough to drown out my toxic

public library. I read it and

refrain. I marked each hour as

remembered

the Westertoren clock struck—the

simple act of filling a notebook

same one whose bells Anne Frank

with my own words. I bought a new

writes

about

hearing

her

notebook and it was beautiful to

hiding

place.

Anne

My

me. I bought a pen. I read some

mind sought parallels and then

internet article that said Jerry

that gave me something else to

Seinfeld used to make an X on

hate

was,

the calendar every day that he

free, and able to do whatever I

wrote, as motivation. He didn’t

wanted to and I still felt like

want to break the chain of Xs. I

a prisoner. What a stupid idiot

wanted something more physically

I was.

real, so I took that notebook

This

was

about

We

moved

our

very

a

huge

mistake.

from

Frank?!

myself—here

to

I

Amsterdam

stable

from

middle-class

American life—two cars, a house, two jobs. I was a busy lecturer and community volunteer, but we had always wanted to live abroad, and when the job came up for my husband we could hardly believe it,

so

we

jumped.

My

husband

landed into an interesting and challenging looked

job

around,

and and

I

landed,

realised

I

wanted to go home.

The

and pen, and free wrote for a few minutes one day. After a few days I grabbed some paper clips. I chained them together, one clip for each day of writing, until with my pen and my notebook I forged a chain that linked me to the world, and to myself. I kept showing up to my notebook, and I wasn’t willing to let that chain break because it represented so much more than a string of words. I began to post mysterious images

burning

number (18, 47, 153). Eventually

with

I began what turned into a novel

as

when a question occurred to me

if I wasn’t depressed, denying

out of the blue. My chain got

even using the word in my own

longer, I slept every three days,

mind much less aloud, much less

two, every night. I needed a new

in a sentence calling for help.

notebook. And then another.

exhaustion,

Me

writing.

on Facebook—paper clip chain and a

My son and I spent the days together.

free

trying

to

act

He would go to see friends and perform in improv classes and I would spend the time he was gone crying and then trying to make my face look normal before he got home.

I

do

not

recommend

this

to

anyone. Please get help. Don’t be afraid of being labelled. Don’t be afraid that a doctor would just laugh at your pain as I was.

✂ TEAR HERE

46


made this mistake. But somehow I survived that time. I wrote my way out, one day at a time, and when, finally, the chain was ungainly

after

more

than

two

hundred seventy days, I missed a

day.

But

it

didn’t

matter

any more. They had served their And

my

own

writing,

aside from money or publication, very literally saved my life.

“PLEASE GET HELP. DON’T BE AFRAID OF BEING LABELLED. DON’T BE AFRAID THAT A DOCTOR WOULD JUST LAUGH AT YOUR PAIN AS I WAS. GET A BETTER FUCKING DOCTOR.”

I WROTE MY WAY OUT BY JONATHA KOTTLER

purpose.

JONATHA KOTTLER is an Edinburgh-based American writer and educator. She currently facilitates a reading and writing group for people with disabilities for the charity ECAS. Her work has appeared in Nasty Women, and in publications including The Ogilvie, The Guardian, and NY Magazine’s The Cut. @jonatha_kottler.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

✂ TEAR HERE

47

Get a better fucking doctor. I


✂ TEAR HERE

KZNHD

ANXIETY AT THE OPTICIAN by LAURA WADDELL

KZNHD

I am early. I want to use the extra time to try on glasses before my vision test, because I need all the time I can get. The receptionist wants to know when my appointment is, calls me over, says ‘fill in this form.’ There are pre-tests before the test. I rest my chin. I look at a static air balloon floating in an illustrated blue sky. Air blows into my eyes in short gusts. There is no time before I am ushered into the optician’s room and the door clicks closed.

DSHCN

It is a small room, with a gentle hum. We are in close proximity, the optician and I. Will it be awkward, when we sit knees together on either side of the lenses? He fiddles with equipment while I sit weighing up what might be normal conversation for such a situation. The optician is a middle aged man with a pen in his pocket. He is professionally MARBLES MAGAZINE,

49 KZNHD BY LAURA WADDELL


superior to the pre-testers, who

What if I give a false impression

were all women. Will he find me

of

attractive?

are

I

brisk

my

small

my

vision?

slightly

If

the

lenses

off,

will

I

get

MARBLES MAGAZINE, KZNHD BY LAURA WADDELL

talk. This stranger looks closely

headaches? For all the implements

into my eyes with a light. I hold

in the room, it’s all down to me

my breath so as not to breathe

and the order of tiny letters. I

on his face. It is there, right

balance on the line before the

there.

alphabet starts to dip and dance.

RSNKR

I can hear myself breathing, and

The lenses are ready. The chart

swallow,

loudly.

is lit. First the left eye, then

I

the

the right. Jacket sleeves rustle

but only just. What if I’m just

near my ears when slipping a new

guessing, and my guess is right?

disc

I can’t tell.

into

the

slot.

I

the beat of my heart against my chest. I am inside a warm shell, with

recall

temptation to bite the dentist’s

sound

think

reverberating Left.

Left

is

as

I

Right. clearer,

entered my mouth. My neck is at an

KZYHD

awkward angle. My fingertips are

He

numb, tucked beneath my thighs.

I feel the letters of the last

HDOCN

line on the screen curling on my

plastic sheathed finger when it

I

focus

on

the

test

reads

out

my

prescription.

tongue, the letters I offered up for numbers on a card.

ahead.

I

want to do the best I can at

KJPOR

identifying small letters. Red.

Everyone else waiting seems like

Green. Red. Green. Green. Gold star. I am longsighted. Once I read cats are too, which appealed to my vanity. I entered a glasses wearer of the year competition, but

did

not

hear

back.

But

I

also want to prove I am not a fraud. I need glasses, even if my prescription is mild. I have reason to be here.

ZHSKH

a

regular.

I’m

an

interloper.

They know how to behave in this environment;

it’s

natural

to

them. I’m a fish out of water, flopping my gills, oddly. I pick up

a

pair

of

glasses

from

a

rack and approach a mirror, but as soon as I catch sight of my face, I look away, reflectively disgusted. natural

A and

combination electric

of

light

brightly illuminates my awkward expression. I want to look sexy.

✂ TEAR HERE

50


✂ TEAR HERE

I want to look businesslike. I

51

want to look learned. I want to look cool. My skin disgusts me. light head. A drip of sweat runs down my back. Other browsers are too close for me to concentrate. Others waiting on chairs look in my direction while I try a pair

LENSES

ARE

A

ridiculous

choice.

Freakish.

I narrow down to three pairs. I try them on, one after the other, swapping them in and out of the circle. I can’t decide. A B C. 1 2 3. I’m stuck in a loop. I ask the assistant to note down their serial numbers. I have to go. I have something to do. I’ll come back soon.

READY.

THE CHART

IS

LIT.

LAURA WADDELL is a publisher and writer based in Glasgow. She sits on the board of Scottish PEN and Gutter magazine and her writing has appeared in publications including McSweeneys, 3:AM Magazine, The Guardian, The Pool, The List, The Skinny and the books Nasty Women, Know Your Place and The Digital Critic.

KZNHD BY LAURA WADDELL

THE

which do not suit my face at all.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

My breath is quick and hot in a


✂ TEAR HERE

MAD & BAD

by LILITH COOPER

Between the period of 2012 and 2014, I was charged and convicted of four separate incidents of arson. The offences were closely tied to my mental health— after the first incident, I was detained under the mental health act and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Though my sentences varied, they always included some element of supervision by probation services and compliance with mental health treatment. I was lucky: because there was a clear causal relationship between my mental health and my offending, because I was of ‘previous good character’, because I was white, because I was middle class, I never went to prison. The

ways

we

treat

offenders

and

ex-offenders

disproportionately affects people with mental health challenges. We cannot have a conversation about MARBLES MAGAZINE,

53 MAD & BAD BY LILITH COOPER


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

mental health without addressing

is that while your mental health

our criminal justice system at

challenges may not bar you from

all levels—from the stigma faced

the role, their impact on your

by

life, on your employment history,

ex-offenders

in

employment,

to how mental health is treated

education,

in the prison system—and to do

criminal record, will. I often

so

excludes

fall at this last hurdle when HR

of

people

a with

huge

proportion

mental

health

MAD & BAD BY LILITH COOPER

People

with

conditions

are

victims

than

or

your

withdraws my offer of employment after a risk assessment I am not

challenges.

be

housing,

of

mental more

health

likely

violent

perpetrators.

to

even party to. My peers can and do fall at any stage. I moved to Edinburgh in April

crime

Campaigns

last

year

and

was

offered

a

have worked hard to sever the

support worker role. In Scotland,

link between mental health and

membership of the PVG (Protecting

crime in the public perception.

Vulnerable

‘Strange Voices Made Her Do It’

required for anyone undertaking

wasn’t exactly a headline that

work

was going to help the cause. But,

Several

in working so hard to cut that

I was sent a letter informing

link, many campaigns have left

me

people like me—and the issues we

‘consideration

face—invisible.

This

Meaningful

employment

is

indicated in recovery outcomes, social inclusion and wellbeing. But, there is a social stigma and structural discrimination around mental

health

challenges

and

having a criminal record which can make this impossible. When

employers

say

Groups)

with

I

vulnerable

weeks was

meant

scheme

after

being

adults. applying,

placed

for

that

is

under

listing’.

the

Scottish

Ministers would have to decide whether I was to be barred from working with vulnerable adults. I made representations and provided the requested evidence. This was nine months ago, and I am still yet to hear the outcome. In both the PVG system (in Scotland) and the DBS (Disclosure and Barring

they

Service)

system

welcome applications from people

you

regularly

with experience of mental health

draw on resources and privilege

challenges, what this often means

that many of my peers don’t have

are

(in

England),

required

to

✂ TEAR HERE

54


myself. When I was in court the first time, the judge referred

evidence from a GP or an employer,

to my ‘previous good character’.

understand

Can I ever be ‘good’ again?

to—the

ability

complex

to

processes,

engage in legal discourse, and tolerate all the emotional and financial uncertainty. Some

people they

people

commit

control. It is a story we tell crimes

that props up our systems, and

some

power structures decide who falls

because

one side of it and then the other.

commit are

‘bad’,

crimes

While we continue to perpetuate

they are ‘mad’. When

you

acceptable the be

are role

penitent forever

chances

‘mad’, to

sinner: grateful

given

me,

the

play

is

I

to

am

for

and

the

silent

about the ways I or others have been

failed

by

mental

health

the binary between bad and mad— between those who need care and those who need punishment—we fail the most vulnerable members of our community. People with mental health

challenges

continue

to

die in prisons.

services or the criminal justice

Criminal justice is a mental

system. In the midst of the PVG

health issue, and none of us is

process, I sometimes wonder if

free if one of us is chained.

I am being punished for every joke

or

flippant

remark

about

my history of offending or for feeling

anything

other

than

shame and contrition. It is not as simple as being a victim of this binary: I too am responsible for perpetuating notions of ‘mad’ and ‘bad’ when doing so reduces the stigma and social exclusion I experience as an ex-offender. Whether mad or bad, in violating the

social

contract

I

became

less than a full citizen. I will always have to prove or explain

LILITH COOPER is currently based in Edinburgh, where they co-run the Edinburgh Zine Library and scrape a living waiting for their PVG. They qualified as a Peer Support Worker in 2016, and graduated from the Open University the same year. They can normally be found talking or writing about cycling, mental health and criminal justice, peer support, zines and zine libraries, DIY culture and non-binary gender identity.

MAD & BAD BY LILITH COOPER

because

‘Mad/bad’ has a long history as a tool of oppression and social

55

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

✂ TEAR HERE

make

written representations, provide

access


✂ TEAR HERE

LILY ASCH

interview by KIRSTYN SMITH

Lily

Asch

is

a

storytelling

apprentice

and

the

Director of Real Talk, a workshop programme that encourages storytelling for mental wellbeing through real people, real stories and real talk.

// The beginning of Real Talk and the beginning of my mental health experiences are a separate thing. I was institutionalised when I was 14, so I have lived experience of mental illness. As a young person, I went to an hour-long psychologist appointment and, at the time, was self-harming and had ideas of death. And that was enough for this practitioner, who said: ‘Actually, I think you’re a big enough risk to yourself,’ so I got taken to the emergency room, brought to a psych ward and spent a week there. There was a lot of dissociation happening. The whole reason I had to go to see a psychologist was because my parents were getting divorced. In the

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

57 LILY ASCH BY KIRSTYN SMITH


US

we’re

courts

quite

get

litigious,

involved

in

and so it was actually required. MARBLES MAGAZINE,

I

think

bit,

I’d

and

been

it’s

suffering

still

hard

a

for

me to wrap my head around where I was at at that point, but it was going unnoticed. It was only because of this external thing

LILY ASCH BY KIRSTYN SMITH

that it really got picked up and recognised,

and,

in

//

the

stuff,

hindsight,

blown out of proportion. I hadn’t had any other treatment and then it was: ‘Bam! Send her to a psych

I took two years out before coming to

anyone what the story was. The only people who knew I’d spent time

in

really

a

psych

close

ward

were

friends.

I

my

told

everyone else I had swine flu. It was the swine flu time, so it was the perfect excuse. In many ways, I was running

‘traumatising’,

but

it

was.

There were 25 kids thrown into a space that was just two hallways. I went outside for a total of 30 minutes in the seven days I there.

The

treatment

that

was happening there was mostly medication and group therapy. It didn’t seem to have a purpose to it—no-one

really

told

me

what

was happening. As a minor being treated, you lose a lot of your agency,

particularly

when

it’s

so clinicalised. I ended up getting a lot worse I

came

out,

because

my

parents were going through their own stuff and didn’t really know how to help. I ended up on really high doses of mood stablisers and was in CBT for about four years, doesn’t

from

everything.

I

was

like: ‘Move halfway across the

I shy away from using the word

which

Edinburgh.

through this, I wasn’t telling

away

//

after

in

During the whole time I was going

ward.’

was

university

really

make

any

sense, because CBT is normally a short-term intervention.

world. I’m free to find myself!’ It was super empowering and I really got to tell my own story, whatever that meant. In my second year

at

uni

I

got

involved

with TEDX at the University of Edinburgh; I’d always seen Ted Talks and wanted to do one. I didn’t

think

I

was

going

to

speak about mental health, but I realised my expertise was in my lived experience. It was a process, because once I started to crack the talk, I had far more conversations about it. That was when the idea for Real Talk started to come to my mind. Once I’d gone through the whole thing and realised how powerful it was for me and how it changed the way I interacted with people, I wondered why we don’t have more spaces that we actively dedicate to

having

conversations

about

mental health. I reached out to a professional

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58


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59

ARTICLE TITLE BY AUTHOR

illustrated by TERRI PO


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60

LILY ASCH BY KIRSTYN SMITH

storyteller

and

we

created

a

hopeful that we can get to a point

process where we delivered two

where

workshops for anyone who wanted

the role that our mental health

to come through and we’d teach

plays in everyone’s lives, not

them how to craft their story.

just mental ill health, but the

Then I facilitated an event at

idea that we all have brains and

the end where people who’d worked

we all experience stress in life,

on their stories could then share

and that’s just a part of being

it

on this earth.

with

an

audience.

So

that

we’re

became the first Real Talk.

able

to

recognise

//

//

I think people are more motivated

We feel as though if we speak

now, because we are having more

about mental health someone might

of

respond badly to it or judge us,

are beginning to recognise that

or walk away and call us crazy.

we’re not alone in it and that

But

we can connect and support each

I

think

we’re

at

a

point

in society now where there are many movements happening around stigma reduction and visibility and starting conversations. I’m

these

conversations

other.

//

and

we


not

just

people

people to get into dialogue about

sharing

that and to find a community, and

their story, we have an informal

to realise that, actually, we’re

question

all a bit wild.

and

answer

session

between the audience members and the speakers, so it’s a really dynamic

space

for

us

to

be

curious about people’s recovery journey

and

about

self-care,

and to be able to ask questions without feeling afraid. The

Mental

I’m

so

passionate

people power over the language they use about their experience. Having

been

clinically

treated

myself, I know that a lot of the time you use words that aren’t yours. There’s a lot of language

Work

that, in order to get treatment,

report came out last year and

you have to mould yourself into.

it

There’s so much out there that

had

some

statistics to

take

Health

at

really

about

time

harrowing

people

support

people’s

positive

mental

is obviously totally valid, but

that’s

because it’s not being properly

knitting,

handled in the workplace, people

that’s

don’t feel like they can be honest

about realising you have agency

about what’s going on. It’s quite

over how you tell your story.

a scary thing. Because of stigma,

That’s a really powerful thing.

we

that

For the people listening, it’s

people who are mentally unwell

a greater insight into busting

are in straight jackets in an

that myth that people with mental

asylum in the 1920s. But so many

ill health are a bunch of sad

people who’ve experienced mental

people in a chair, crying about

illness function and hold down

what’s happening. No, these are

jobs and run incredible projects

people who are standing up and

and are really motivated by what

saying: ‘This is what I’ve been

they’ve been through.

through and I’m fucking trying.

this

work,

can

which

have

off

having

perception

// you’re

meds, or

fine.

and

whether

talking

therapy,

going

on

There’s

a

run,

something

It’s been shit, but I’m making it work. I’m fighting it.’

Everyone has a story to share. Whether

health,

going

through

//

something, or supporting someone

Find out more about Real Talk,

else.

The

stories

supporting

people

important

too,

something

we’re

of

people

including upcoming events and how

are

really

to sign up to share your story,

that’s

at realtalkproject.org

and

starting

to

recognise a lot. I really want

LILY ASCH BY KIRSTYN SMITH

about medication, about the NHS,

Something

about what Real Talk does is giving

61

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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The events are really special. It’s


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HEALTHY (BUT NOT AT THIS SIZE) by LOLA KEELEY There

are

rules

I’ve

created

for

myself.

Rules

about being ‘a big girl’ in public. Always order one course or one dish less than everyone else at the table. Soft drinks? Always diet, no matter how insipid. Always take the sturdiest seat on offer, furthest from the part where people need to pass by. The little negotiations—where to sit on the bus, how to avoid glares in the departure lounge from people worried you might be sitting next to them on the flight, the barely-disguised sneers and raking glances that scream disgust without a word needing to be spoken. The yells from passing traffic, the insulting form of catcalling that’s just as invasive and uninvited. What

comfort,

positivity

then,

movement.

to

Or

be

its

found better

in

the

body

incarnation,

the fat acceptance movement. While body positivity has been hijacked by people saying it hurts to be called slim, fat acceptance is more about beauty and inclusion at every weight. That means it doesn’t stop at size 16, as most of the high street would have you believe.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

63 HEALTHY (BUT NOT AT THIS SIZE) BY LOLA KEELEY


like

to

step

more. If that continues not to

away from to protect your mental

be enough on my part, there are

health,

surgical options.

None

of

something

that you’d

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

and

sounds have

yet

to

that’s

the

strange position I find myself in.

diet.

need

to

exercise

This is where the intersection of

Health at any size is the key

I

physical

turns

and

into

mental

health

something

of

a

HEALTHY (BUT NOT AT THIS SIZE) BY LOLA KEELEY

fantastic

collision. As you may have gleaned

medical

from the opening paragraph about

profession, that their insistence

my rules, I experience anxiety,

on

particularly

message. polemics

There

are

about

blaming

the

every

ailment

on

about

public

weight has done far more harm

perception of my size. Add to

than good. Obesity is linked to

that constant thrum of tension

just about every health issue,

the irrational fear that I’ll be

even though correlation does not

betraying my friends, my sisters,

actually

my team, by accepting defeat and

equate

to

causation. erupted

starting to diet? The guilt is

over Cancer Research’s campaign,

overwhelming, and ramps anxiety

citing

obesity

levels up to nearly debilitating.

cancer.

When

Most

recently,

debate as

a

cause

comedian

of

Sofie

Hagen spoke out about their fatshaming, online war was all but declared.

Not

that

expects

my

that

anything

rational I

other

mind

would than

get

support

from the community that has been

This time I found it harder

a

safe

haven

and

therapeutic

to side with the fat acceptance

buffer. While they might rebel

argument. I’m as heavy as I’ve

against

ever been in my life, and despite

false

my perfect cholesterol levels and

thinness, the key tenet of fat

being nowhere near at risk for

acceptance

diabetes, I am starting to suffer

Of being yourself, in your own

health issues that no amount of

skin, however much of it there

denial

might be.

or

reinterpretation

can

attribute to anything other than simple physics. My knees, ankles, and lower back are all showing wear

and

tear

from

carrying

around a load far greater than they were intended to. Which means I need to do what

diet

promises is

culture of

and

the

aspirational

personal

choice.

Still, my own paranoia makes it feel personal. Like giving in here is tantamount to attacking the

very

advocated

movement my

right

that to

has

exist,

to be treated fairly by public bodies

and

companies

alike.

I

the fat positive advocates have

reach for the scales and feel

been telling me isn’t necessary

like I should offer an apology

for health or happiness: I need

every time.

✂ TEAR HERE

64


of

reconciling

means

accepted

my

my

accepting, fatness,

new as

that

I to

Then when I find my healthier ache

and

my

blood

pressure

doesn’t creep up, I can rejoin

of pain, I need to make these

the

changes. Remembering that I won’t

so

judge or think less of anyone not

insulating my thoughts from what

taking the same steps as I am.

feels

That even if I lose some weight,

I think that sounds a lot like

I’ll never be back within that

looking after myself.

movement much. like

For

that’s now,

helped it’s

conflicting

advice.

arbitrary BMI range that society above

all

other

health

indicators. So

when

a

watery

slimming

shake makes me want to cry, or the weekly weigh-in has me on the verge of a panic attack, the new challenge is to find some selfsoothing

mechanism.

To

find

a

way to be positive about myself and my body, even when the inner voice is shouting me down and calling me out as a traitor.

me

just

LOLA KEELEY is a writer and coder. After moving to London to pursue her love of theatre, she later wound up living every five year old’s dream of being a train driver on the London Underground. She has since emerged, blinking into the sunlight, to find herself writing books. She now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her wife and three cats. Her first novel, The Music and the Mirror, has just been published by Ylva.

“I NEED TO DO WHAT THE FAT POSITIVE ADVOCATES HAVE BEEN TELLING ME ISN’T NECESSARY FOR HEALTH OR HAPPINESS...”

HEALTHY (BUT NOT AT THIS SIZE) BY LOLA KEELEY

retain my mobility and be free

prizes

65

size, the one where joints don’t MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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Part reality


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ATTITUDES ARE THE REAL DISABILITY by RICKY MONAHAN BROWN

Three months after my stroke, a speech therapist comes to the flat to check what help she can offer. She asks me to pick a book off the bookshelf to do a reading test. That’s not entirely advisable, so I glide past Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and James Kelman’s How Late It Was, How Late and alight on Christopher Brookmyre’s Quite Ugly One Morning. That’s probably a safer bet. Right? ‘That looks interesting,’ she says. ‘Can you read me the first page?’ ‘Are you sure about that?’ I ask, indicating the opening two words. They convey both blasphemy and Anglo-Saxon vulgarity with impressive economy. It’s a bit much, so I flick through some pages until we reach a safer passage. Before long, Mary has departed, satisfied. ‘The

Visiting

Nurse

Service

is

really

just

concerned that patients can function at home,’ she tells me. I’m one of the lucky ones. My hemorrhagic stroke saw me diagnosed with a 90% chance of mortality and a one-in-20 chance of what the brain surgeon delicately

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

67 ATTITUDES ARE THE REAL DISABILITY BY RICKY MONAHAN BROWN


a

stroke, and describes a patient

good outcome. Yes, the residual

appearing to develop a foreign

deficiencies

described

to

my

partner

as

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

there.

accent. Except they don’t. The

But today I’m pretty mobile, and

appearance is simply the result of

due to the location of my bleed,

distorted articulatory planning

my expressive abilities are in

and coordination processes, and

good shape.

people’s

are

always

When I discovered in hospital

instinct

to

impose

a

tidy narrative on the condition.

ATTITUDES ARE THE REAL DISABILITY BY RICKY MONAHAN BROWN

of

‘Your speech is fine. But I

speech therapy, I asked my partner

think the nurses would appreciate

about how my speech was. After

it if you would shut up from time

all, my inability to walk and my

to time.’ She grins and turns

continence

already

to our friend, Joe. ‘Oh my god.

with

Can you imagine if he’d woken up

results running along a spectrum

with an English accent? He’d be

from the absurd to the dangerous.

in hell!’

that

I

escaped

was

to

do

issues my

sessions

had

attention,

As well as being concerned that I might be slurring my words, I recalled something about foreign accent

syndrome

from

when

I

could still make memories. It’s a

rare

the

medical

newspapers

condition love

to

that

report

on. It arises most often after

In

any

speech

event,

therapy.

successful therapy

I

undertake

As

well

expression,

encourages

clear

as the and

focused thinking, incorporating memory

work,

organisation.

reasoning, It

also

and

includes

“‘YOUR SPEECH IS FINE. BUT I THINK THE NURSES WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD SHUT UP FROM TIME TO TIME.’”

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68


‘Remember

though,

that

you

extends to being able to focus

don’t hear about the people who

on rebus puzzles and logic games

just stay at home. The people who

rather

much

are depressed and despairing and

actual

angry because of their strokes.’

time

than

on

spending

swallowing

too

and

speech. But

My something

quarter stroke

and

four

survivors

dinner

companions

are

between

a

understandably angry from time to

tenths

of

time. But they also participate

affected

in musical theatre, lead outdoor

are

sports

their stroke. In America alone –

disabilities, and promote aphasia

where my stroke occurred – that’s

awareness. One of them suggests

one million people coping with

my partner and I go to the New

language

ranging

York Disabilities Film Festival.

difficulty

We do, and when we get there,

remembering words to losing the

I pick up a badge bearing the

ability to speak, read or write.

message Attitudes Are The Real

Chest

Disability.

from

difficulties

simply

Heart

believes

having

&

that

Stroke a

Scotland

third

of

the

estimated 12,500 people who have a stroke in Scotland every year will be left with aphasia. For many of the people who experience the condition, their intelligence is

unaffected

and

they

groups

for

people

with

As I survey my new friends in all their variety, it seems to me that this is a well-expressed, organised,

and

even

pithy

sentiment.

can

construct complicated thoughts, but expression of those thoughts is difficult. One night, at a dinner with a group of fellow stroke survivors, I ask a friend who lives with a relatively mild case of aphasia if she has a theory as to why it should be that the people I meet who have been affected by the condition seem to be so nice, thoughtful, curious about their condition, disabled

and

active

community.

She

in

the tells

me in carefully formal sentences that she’s glad that I’ve met so many nice, thoughtful people who deal with aphasia.

RICKY MONAHAN BROWN is the host and curator of the Saboteur Award-winning night of live spoken word and musical entertainment, INTERROBANG?! His fiction and narrative non-fiction has been published in many magazines, journals and newspapers, including 404 Ink and The Dublin Inquirer. Ricky suffered a serious hemorrhagic stroke in 2012 which he writes about in his recentlycompleted manuscript, Stroke: A Love Story, and on apoplectic.me.

ATTITUDES ARE THE REAL DISABILITY BY RICKY MONAHAN BROWN

by aphasia in the aftermath of

69

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work on swallowing. My good luck


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WILD AND KIND by SARAH-LOUISE KELLY

The Wild and Kind studio is small, cramped and full of inspiration. From the plants in the window to mindful images on the walls, and the words ‘PROMOTE, EMPOWER, SUPPORT’ on the window that reflect onto the studio wall, the Wild and Kind girls are enthusiastic about their company values. The project was recently granted ‘community interest’ status, and founders Megan and Trudi are determined to always be as fair as they can in both their business and creations. After starting out by making feminist patches and clothing, Megan and Trudi soon found that they wanted to do more with their resources. Trudi, who lives with anxiety, wanted to connect with new people— and bring others together—in an environment that was both safe and sober. Pairing up with Megan’s natural

knack

for

empathy

and

creativity,

they

started bi-weekly workshops. From collage making to cupcake decorating, Megan and Trudi offer accessible workshops to anybody who identifies as female, and

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

71 WILD AND KIND BY SARAH -LOUISE KELLY


In

they’re completely free. ‘We can’t ever ask anybody to

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

pay to come along because that’s a barrier and we need people to know that this is a space they can always come to, no matter what.’

starting

have

provided

disadvantaged

and

Kind,

women

from

backgrounds

with

mental ill health a genuine safe space that is not only supportive and

welcoming,

accessible

Compassion is at the core of the

Wild

Megan Ansdell and Trudi Donahue

quiet,

but

on

completely

every

unassuming

level. place

A for

WILD AND KIND BY SARAH -LOUISE KELLY

Wild and Kind brand. From their

art, thoughtfulness and company

apparel to their future vision,

is

everything is produced with care

sufferers

and precision to ensure that they

alike. With current budget cuts

remain completely cruelty-free.

and

‘I’d

rather

pay

a

little

more and know that our fabrics haven’t come from the result of

crucial

to

and

restraints

mental

trauma on

health

survivors

facilities,

there’s a loss in safe spaces for those who desperately need it. Humble

and

unprotective

of

somebody’s suffering than accept

their

lip service from suppliers about

encourage anybody to start their

“trying” to be fair,’ say Megan.

own nights, wherever they are.

brand,

Megan

and

Trudi

In Glasgow, it can be difficult

‘We’re often told that it’s a

to find ways to socialise without

shame this is only available in

alcohol—something that can make

Glasgow and to that we say: start

mental

your own!’

health

issues

worse—and

the workshops are an alternative for people who are looking to meet

people,

but

don’t

feel

comfortable in traditional meetup spaces. Their ethos has worked; the workshops are like no others. The atmosphere is calm, serene

To Wild and Kind, the workshops aren’t a business but a movement. An opportunity to use kindness and creativity to provide safer spaces

for

those

looking

for

them.

and gentle. It feels like old friends coming together and every interaction between the attendees is earnest and friendly. There’s no pretense around the art being created, in fact, creation feels as it should at Wild and Kind: completely

cathartic.

They’ve

kept this environment as it is by asking all attendees to review their Safe Space Policy before the nights.

SARAH-LOUISE KELLY is a twenty-something independent writer from Glasgow.

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ARTICLE TITLE BY AUTHOR


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TALKING TO AN OLD WHITE MAN IN A CHAIR by SHAMSO ABDIRAHMAN

I share with my father a fear of the dark, the same jawline, and a tendency to speak too fast when excited or nervous. Despite these likenesses, forever etched in my brain is the look of discomfort and unfamiliarity he wears when I try to discuss my struggles with mental health. I was 17 when I first experienced depression and severe anxiety; once a loud, demanding older sister, I became a quiet figure in our home. I found everyday tasks tiring and became distant from loved ones. ‘A difficult gap year,’ I told myself and others. And so nobody seemed to raise an eyebrow when I stayed cooped up in my room for weeks on end, or when I cut off all my hair when my bundles of curls became matted from neglect. My

parents

were

ever-present

figures

in

my

life, priding themselves on having raised children

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

75 TALKING TO AN OLD WHITE MAN IN A CHAIR BY SHAMSO ABDIRAHMAN


who, an

more

than

attachment

feel

counselling won’t be a cause for

another.

celebration. The very image of

anything, to

one

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

However, I remember how all four

their

of my siblings looked at me as if

about her problems with an ‘old

I were an alien when they were

white man in a chair’ would hurt—

told I was to have a Quran Saar*.

it would be a symbol of their

‘Doctors will give you drugs that will make you slow. Only God can help,’ is what my dad

TALKING TO AN OLD WHITE MAN IN A CHAIR BY SHAMSO ABDIRAHMAN

said after trumping my mother’s suggestion of a visit to the GP. It was my youngest sister who snuck into the room to watch,

eldest

daughter

talking

failure to instil in me trust in God (and only God) for solace. Instead

she

offers

prayers

which I welcome, but this only illustrates my parents’ avoidance to use the clinical terms that have helped me but frighten them.

£20-an-hour

Labels are heavy and set you

sheikh screamed holy verses into

apart. But, for me, a diagnosis

my numbed ears and soaked me with

came with relief. I knew what it

the water he’d blessed.

was—it finally had a name, one

giggling

as

the

As a Muslim, making dua** to a creator and daily prostration

separate to mine. My

grandmother

would

say

my

have always been personal comforts

siblings and I were born with

whether

‘English’

connected

I’ve

felt

or

not,

spiritually yet—to

my

hearts—soft,

weaker

and not very Somali. She had won

parents—my illness has marked me

her

with a questionable low iman***.

the resilience her people have

Often I would hear that feeling

shown in the face of hardships.

depressed was unhappiness caused

I grew up never questioning my

by arrogantly rejecting God and

relatives

prayer as medicines. The only sin

them?’ upon hearing of a death

my depression has caused me is to

back

do is lie. Often.

is a truth, it is passed down

I’ve lived away from home for nearly four years now, and my mother calls me every other day to chat and check up on me.

I lie, knowing that my justwill

one

asking

home.

rewarded

‘who

to

killed

Generational

trauma

when there is resistance to talk and unpack the suffering a parent has

experienced,

resulting

in

them not being forthcoming with their own issues.

‘How are you feeling, Shamso?’

having-a-tough-day-mum

strength,

Mourning, assimilating

the to

trials

foreign

of

lands,

be

loss, and displacement are common

met with: ‘you’ve forgotten to

themes in the Somali immigrant

pray. That’s why you’re sad like

narrative,

this.’

deeper pains when retold to the

I lie because my progress with

one

which

conceals

fortunate children of refugees.

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76


health journey, but for now it

list my privileges of physical

remains a secret from my parents.

health, shelter, breathing loved

//

ones and an education—all which should reflect a stable mind. A well mind. But depression is not selective, it exists in different forms and in different bodies. Conversations of about mental my

were

home.

and

suicide

topics.

slim

Sex,

to

none

drugs,

were

Fluency

white in

in

alcohol,

my

on someone, mostly for healing purposes **DUA: prayer ***IMAN: faith

people mother

tongue doesn’t extend to aiding me in explaining my depression, I simply don’t know the words for it. When I use the medical terms within my Somali, they feel more foreign—scarier, infect

the

warm

even—and

only

conversations

between a mother and her child. Today, tablet

a

before

routine

single

breakfast

and

a

seat opposite a therapist every

SHAMSO ABDIRAHMAN is a 23-year-old London-born aspiring writer. Currently an English & Politics student based in Glasgow writing words that focus on nostalgia, identity and surviving her 20-somethings. notshyjustshook.wordpress.com

fortnight have helped me be. And soon I will move back home and want to be open with my mental

“BUT DEPRESSION IS NOT SELECTIVE, IT EXISTS IN DIFFERENT FORMS AND IN DIFFERENT BODIES.”

TALKING TO AN OLD WHITE MAN IN A CHAIR BY SHAMSO ABDIRAHMAN

health

*QURAN SAAR: to read the Quran

77

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I feel guilty and, in my head,


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BREAKING FREE by SHARON JONES

I hold myself hostage in a cage I built myself; a cage to tame the beast that is the bipolar brain. I was 30 when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type II and I was devastated. My psychiatrist was a seasoned veteran in the mental

health

field

and

seemed

surprised

at

my

reaction. I was shocked and inconsolable in the consultation room. The fluorescent lights glared brighter, the room narrowed, and my sweaty hands gripped the arms of the chair. From that moment I felt like I had lost control of who I was. My identity was given to me in the form of a label I will never be rid of. The doctor ended our session and I left the surgery a different person to the one who had entered an hour before. That was a decade ago, and while I have a much better understanding of bipolar and how to manage it, the fear of not being in control has never left me. When you have a mood disorder you are taught that self-monitoring is everything. You have a mood chart to track and predict highs and lows, sleep is a major contributing factor to mental health, and so you must ensure you are getting enough. Too

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

79 BREAKING FREE BY SHARON JONES


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

much sleep could indicate that

it

a depressive episode is looming,

which have their own challenges,

too little and you may be about to

but there is a certain Jekyll &

soar up to the dizzying heights

Hyde aspect to bipolar.

of hypomania. You learn that your diet is crucial, especially if your

medication

includes

mood

stabilisers. You need to exercise enough to keep depression at bay

BREAKING FREE BY SHARON JONES

but be careful not to trigger hypomania. And on it goes.

with

personality

There

are

hilarious

a

and

disorders

host

of

tragic

both

stories

to tell from my journey, but it is the current bend in the road that worries me. In trying to maintain an element of control, I have stamped out any flicker of

Bipolar took over my life. I

fire in my personality. For years

lived in constant fear of becoming

I exerted such control over my

ill

was

emotions and moods that it has

diagnosed I still had bipolar,

become second nature. I became

I just didn’t know it. I lived

adept

life

abandon.

inside or consciously reining my

Yes, I crashed into some major

behaviour to fit in. I am not

lows, but I had some of the most

as quick to laugh, to join in,

exhilarating

or

again.

Yet

wildly

and

before

with

times

I

of

my

life

at

to

masking

have

fun.

I

hold

back.

get myself into some embarrassing

and feeling and made myself a

situations;

almost

prisoner within my own mind. I

fired for playing ball games in

have done this so successfully

the office. (I think the stress

that I have forgotten who the

of

real me is.

the

tax

once

return

deadlines

went to my head). Then, during a particularly intense bout of hypomania, I left my job abruptly and

moved

to

Aviemore

because

I had an overwhelming urge to escape. Of course, I was trying to

escape

from

myself,

but

I

It

is

no

every

felt

I

was

shackled

I

with hypomania. Although I did I

have

how

longer

thought

enough

simply be well. I want to feel alive. I want to find that girl who used to be the life and soul of the party and get her dancing again.

didn’t realise that at the time. My friends refer to my move as a ‘hypomanic misadventure’. I have had many of those, but moving halfway up the country was one of the more dramatic ones. Sometimes I feel as though I am two people. I think anyone with bipolar disorder can relate to that. I don’t mean to confuse

to

SHARON JONES is a writer of fiction and non-fiction focusing on themes of mental health and LGBT interest. She is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing and leads workshops with community groups. @Proof_Write

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ARTICLE TITLE BY AUTHOR


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RECOVERY by STELLA HERVEY BIRRELL

My

partner

suffers

from

night

terrors.

Once

he

dreamt he looked over to my side of the bed and instead of me lying there, he saw two dogs. Then he noticed one was dead, and the other one, on top, was eating the corpse. Sometimes I feel like a dog that is so disgusting it would eat another dog lying beneath it; sometimes I feel like a dog that has already died and is still giving of itself, by being eaten by those around it. And sometimes I feel like a 39-year-old with a poor mental health history. This is what my recovery looks like. I am better. I have not been hospitalised since the late 90s. I have a home and a family. I’m not in counselling or therapy. But paid work, which I loved, became too much once the children were born. Going part-time didn’t help: it made me feel incapable in both jobs (parenting, working for money). So I stay at home. This creates problems I hadn’t anticipated.

On a Monday, I will chat to adults, children and even dogs on the way to school. I like people. By a Thursday, I am loathe to enter the playground to pick up my children. People exhaust me. The natural ebb

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

83 RECOVERY BY STELLA HERVEY BIRRELL


MARBLES MAGAZINE, RECOVERY BY STELLA HERVEY BIRRELL

and flow of parental friendship

leg,

broke me all over again. After

right?’ You will nod. ‘It’s the

trying to ‘get over myself’ for

same for your head. If you need

three

taking

an antidepressant, even just for

antidepressants so I could care

a few weeks, shouldn’t you be

less about what people thought

looking after yourself in that

of me. I keep my headphones on,

way? Or asking for a referral,

scan the asphalt for a ‘safe’

someone to talk to?’ Then I will

person,

people

encourage you to think whether

without an ‘unsafe’ person in it.

there is anything you can put

My children don’t understand why

down, before your burdens crack

I won’t let them play after the

you

bell rings.

skull.

years,

or

I

a

started

group

of

I am terrified of mania, and keep a tight hold on myself every

you’d

like

take

teeth

painkillers,

embedded

in

Sometimes, I even take my own advice.

spring, when the revolution of the seasons tries to pick me up and shake me out of my senses. Peaks

and

troughs

have

been

replaced with what I like to call ‘the shame spiral’. If something happens,

if

I

do

something

I

feel stupid or cruel for doing, I will descend on this corkscrew for days, weeks. In the mornings, I remember with a lurch what a terrible person I am. It does not take too much tip me into this downward place of self-loathing. I don’t ask to feel like this. Being

a

natural

over-

sharer, I never hide my health history, an

and

consider

unofficial

myself

ambassador

for

mental health awareness. A selfawarded position, but if you are spiralling friend

who

yourself, will

I

say:

am

the

‘There’s

no shame in going to your GP. I

mean,

I

know

there

is,

but

there shouldn’t be. Look at it this way. If you had a broken

a

STELLA HERVEY BIRRELL is an emerging writer and awardwinning poet living in East Lothian. She has written for the Scottish Mental Health Festival Talking Heads project, the Ropes and Frangipani journals, and the Dangerous Woman project. You can find her blog at atinylife140.wordpress.com.

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ARTICLE TITLE BY AUTHOR


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TRIGGER interview by KIRSTYN SMITH

Trigger is a publisher dedicated to opening up and continuing stories about mental health. They publish authors who live with, or have recovered from, mental illness, in order to work towards getting rid of the stigma that surrounds mental ill health. Interview with Trigger’s Senior Editor, Chris Lomas.

// Trigger was officially launched in August 2016 as the publishing arm of The Shaw Mind Foundation, a charity devoted to opening conversation, erasing stigma, educating children and young people, and supporting those with mental health issues on a global scale. Adam Shaw, the founder of both The Shaw Mind Foundation and Trigger, decided to spend his efforts on mental health after suffering from OCD and intense anxiety himself. He founded the charity alongside his psychologist, Dr Lauren Callaghan. Their self-help book, Pulling the Trigger: OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression was the first book that Trigger published, but not the last. A significant percentage of proceeds from all books sold at Trigger go to The Shaw Mind Foundation, and Trigger authors speak at charity events.

// MARBLES MAGAZINE,

87 TRIGGER BY KIRSTYN SMITH


Adam

struggled

anxiety

for

with

OCD

decades

and

before

of

the

the

condition

and

evidence-based

explain treatment

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

receiving therapy and recovering

techniques that they used to help

from it. Given that he has had

their patient recover.

a

personal

illness,

battle

the

with

company

mental

has

been

set up to be understanding of the issues that we deal with and the people who are going through

TRIGGER BY KIRSTYN SMITH

them.

However,

Adam

isn’t

the

only one. This kind of publishing tends to attract people who have an interest in the books that we are putting out there, so a large part of the workforce at Trigger

either

has

dealt

with

mental illness themselves in the past or knows someone who has. This can only help the company, as we understand the nature of what we’re dealing with due to our specific experiences. We are in the best position to deal with

The second range is called The Inspirational we

and

Trigger

range,

a

series of self-help books written by patients with lived experience condition

and

their

psychologists that specialise in the treatment of that condition. As such, the book is split into two halves, the first of which

voice

second the

which

learned

to

Through

and

allow

them

to

talk

about what they went through, how they recovered from their lowest point, and how they cope with their illness now. Though both our series are non-fiction, we are open to publishing fiction and are waiting for that allimportant

fiction

submission

that will blow us all away.

//

and more still needs to be done. Trigger not only gives people a space to read about mental health without judgement and shame, but it also gives people a voice and platform. Our books make sure that people know they’re not alone in the way that they feel and that things can get better. That is what Trigger is all about.

//

the patient in their own words. by

or

illness.

this series, we give people a

deals with the personal story of The

their

discussed, but it isn’t enough

book series. First, there is the

a

recovered

manage

brought to the surface and being

Trigger currently publishes two

of

mental

Mental health is finally being

// the

non-fiction

which

have gone through mental illness

books in the most compassionate

Pulling

in

health stories from people who

authors and people who read our way possible.

publish

Series,

is

written

It’s

psychologist,

through

people who don’t live with poor

nature

mental health to hear the stories

they

half explore

the

incredibly

important

for

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88


that we need men to understand about sexism and white people to understand about racism, we need able people to understand mental health. It does us no good to speak only to the people who suffer from mental health difficulties. We need to encourage those who health to listen and learn too. In 2017, The Shaw Mind Foundation, along with Trigger, managed to get over 100,000 signatures on a petition for mental health to be taught in schools, which meant that the subject was debated in Parliament late last year. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We want to make sure that everyone understands the difficulties of mental health and to learn the tools to deal with it.

// We need to give more funding to mental health services. The NHS as a whole is in danger right now, so we need to fight for it— and not only for those who find themselves but

for

physically those

of

injured, us

whose

problems are far more insidious than a broken bone. We need to lobby our MPs to take this issue more seriously; we need to lobby the

government

and

engage

the

general public. Our petition to begin teaching mental health in schools is just the start. We need to be heard.

TRIGGER BY KIRSTYN SMITH

are not affected by mental ill

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of those who do. In the same way


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WHEN MATHS GIVES YOU PANIC ATTACKS by YASEMIN FISCHER

This is going to be a journey of numbers, so let’s start with some fun statistics: approximately 40% of adults live with anxiety. Only 4% of people are directly affected by synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon that links two or more of your senses. That means the number of people who suffer from both is very small. But I can’t focus on that maths. All I can focus on is the number four in those statistics. She’s glaring at me. She? Yes. She. Four is a mean girl. I don’t like Four. It’s personal. If this sounds familiar to you, you might have Ordinal Short:

Linguistic OLP.

OLP

is

Personification a

form

of

synesthesia.

synesthesia

that

awards numbers, letters or even months their own personality. With OLP and anxiety having a ball in my brain, my life consists of constantly balancing a neurological and a mental health diagnosis.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

91 WHEN MATHS GIVES YOU PANIC ATTACKS BY YASEMIN FISCHER


It

started

very

simply:

I thought I was losing my mind. MARBLES MAGAZINE,

When

I

learned

to

solve

my

first maths problems in school the

numbers

made

sense

in

my

head, but then I told my mother: ‘Nine needs to protect Six at all costs’ and I got that look. That look grown-ups get when you’re a

WHEN MATHS GIVES YOU PANIC ATTACKS BY YASEMIN FISCHER

kid and you don’t know anything and you’re so amusing. It kept happening, and then other kids started giving me the other look. The look that says you’re weird and we don’t want to play with you. At that point, I didn’t know

who

weren’t

accustomed

to

my

‘quirks’. How was I going to tell my flatmate that I couldn’t have eight of anything? Eight is the worst, and I’d rather starve than cut the pizza into eight slices. She would think I’m crazy. She was going to tell everyone at uni,

and

then

they

would

all

write me off as mad. Bonkers. Ready for the rubber room. Except those fears come from anxiety and catastrophising.

No

such

thing

happened, and we sliced the pizza into six pieces instead. That was it.

the word ‘anxiety’ or what it

Eventually, I got the chance

meant, but it took over my life.

to research synesthesia for a uni

I constantly felt judged, every

project, and I found an online

word off my tongue another reason

space full of people with OLP.

for people to give me The Look.

For all of ten seconds, I felt

Fast forward through years of holding

my

tongue

and

forcing

myself to solve maths problems the way teachers want me to—even though their way makes no sense to me. I started getting panic attacks in my teens. One of the worst ones? All just because I broke a glass. No, not A glass. A glass in a set of three. Now I was stuck with two. I couldn’t breathe. My chest ached. Three has always been there for me. She is so kind. She loves wearing pretty red dresses and a look at her cheers me up. How could I break glass number three? I felt like I’d betrayed one of my best friends. Sooner or later I was bound to be confronted with new people

a weight lift off my shoulders and I breathed a little lighter. Finally,

people

who

could

understand my struggle! Except, not. Turns out, everyone has their own associations and not everyone thinks

Three

is

wonderful.

It

took me a long time to connect with

other

synesthetes

because

I felt like I was betraying my numbers by talking about others’ OLP.

In

the

end,

however,

no

matter what anxiety whispers in my ear, three is nothing but a number.

//

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92


my numbers:

7: They’re a bit of an outsider. Doing their own thing. Who even

1: He’s kind of a bland, blue-

knows?

jeans-and-white-shirt guy. Okay,

8: The most horrible number. He’s

I guess.

only out for his own gain, no

2: If she were a person, she would

regard for anyone or anything. No

be the kind of friend who is part

moral compass here.

of your group, but who you never

9: He’s the big brother of the

hang out with individually. Lovely,

bubbly

personality,

group

and

protects

the

weaker

numbers from being bullied.

supportive and kind. I’ve grown incredibly attached to her. It’s safe to say, she’s my favorite number. 4: She’s a vindictive mean girl. 5: He’s the people’s person among the numbers. Everyone seems to get along with him. 6: I’d consider him the youngest and weakest of the numbers. Kind of naïve.

Despite her parents’ wishes, YASEMIN FISCHER didn’t become a scientist or politician. She’s a writer, graphic designer and social media manager by day and wannabe YouTuber at night. Always looking for new challenges, she recently moved from the German alps to the Scottish seaside.

“I DIDN’T KNOW THE WORD ‘ANXIETY’ OR WHAT IT MEANT, BUT IT TOOK OVER MY LIFE. ”

WHEN MATHS GIVES YOU PANIC ATTACKS BY YASEMIN FISCHER

3:

93

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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For those curious about some of


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BENZO & JERRY’S by RACHEL ROWAN OLIVE

This pun is courtesy of my friend Andie, who is much quicker-witted than I am. Last year we accidentally synchronised our mental health crises, so we were admitted to a women’s crisis house at the same time. We were both having a rough evening so obviously we took our respective benzos and panic-bought Ben & Jerry’s—it just seemed like putting the pills in the ice cream would save time all round. I

sent

psychiatric

a

version

of

the

hospital

as

they

image were

to

my

local

looking

for

service users’ work to display, but they decided it was ‘inappropriate for an acute setting.’ I can’t help wishing they took the same attitude to me when assessing me for detention under the Mental Health Act. I’m a member of Studio Upstairs, a therapeutic community of artists based in Dalston, London, which is where I make most of my artwork. Drawing cartoons is how I deal with needing help from systems and organisations which sometimes give me what I need, but

sometimes

cause

me

incredible

pain—such

as

mental health services and the welfare system. Being silly makes it possible to handle the gap between the way things should be and the way things are.

MARBLES MAGAZINE,

95 BENZO & JERRY’S BY RACHEL ROWAN OLIVE


MARBLES MAGAZINE,

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96

BENZO & JERRY’S BY RACHEL ROWAN OLIVE

I

am

and

on

Twitter,

Facebook

and

my

prints

of

as

Instagram

@rrowanolive

artwork—including Benzo

and

Jerry’s—

is available to buy online at etsy.com/shop/rachelrowanolive More information about Studio Upstairs

is

on

their

studioupstairs.org.uk.

website:


MARBLES MAAGZINE,

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ARTICLE TITLE BY AUTHOR


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health difficulties, you are not alone. Here are some organisations you can contact if you need to. IN AN EMERGENCY

FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Call 999

The Samaritans

Visit your nearest A&E

PHONE free from any phone

FOR NON-EMERGENCY SITUATIONS Visit your GP. If you feel in any way that your GP is not taking your concerns seriously, ask to speak to another doctor. Visit NHS Choices via nhs.uk

116 123 EMAIL jo@samaritans.org WEB samaritans.org

Offering a safe place to talk any time you like about whatever is getting to you.

Rethink Mental Illness PHONE Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm 0300 5000 927 WEB rethink.org Offering practical advice on different types of therapy and medication, money issues, and your rights under the Mental Health Act.

SANE PHONE daily 4.30-10.30pm 0300 304 7000 WEB sane.org.uk Offering emotional support and information for people affected by mental illness, as well as friends and family.

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CONTACTS


0 604565 133649

Profile for Kirstyn Smith

Marbles #3 Tear It Up  

Marbles is an independent publication exploring mental illness with irreverence, truth and humour. Marbles is interested in looking at the...

Marbles #3 Tear It Up  

Marbles is an independent publication exploring mental illness with irreverence, truth and humour. Marbles is interested in looking at the...

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