This Year’s Logos

Hi all,

I have today just uploaded this year’s logos for both ‘Member Authors’ and ‘Member Blogs’.

Some of you have emailed me concerning the obtaining and displaying of these logos and I promise that replying to you is on my to do list (which I have to admit – due to health issues and other personal commitments – is pretty long as it is) and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you and I assure you that I will respond to all those that I have received.

But, in the mean time, feel free to visit the ‘Member Authors’ page or the ‘Member Blogs’ page and to copy and display the appropriate logo on your blogs.

Kind regards and God bless you.





Apologies For Absence, again!

Man lostTransBordWell all, it seems that I am back in a position where I need to apologise for yet another long period of absence.

The truth is that the way my mental health issues present themselves is generally not with a sudden dramatic or obviously noticeable ‘crash’ (although yes they sometimes happen) but with gentle, slow, gradual declines.

Which of course means that very often I – and others – don’t notice them.  Until I reach a point where the resultant fall-out – bills not being paid, the house becoming a total mess, greater levels of isolation, emails not being answered and thus mounting up etc. reach a point where they do become noticeable.

It also, of course, also very often means that the resultant damage of such episode is greater as the episodes themselves are more drawn out than with a sudden crash.  And additionally, since I do tend to isolate most of the time anyway and since most of these signs are specific to the confines of my home or personal accounts , it also means that to all intents and purposes to any onlooker, I appear to be ‘coping’ normally.

So yes, I do apologise to all those who may have emailed me or submitted articles for inclusion in respect of the Guild and it’s blog.  My apparent lack of response or enthusiasm is neither intended or deliberate.  Nor does it reflect on your emails or articles.  It is just a result of where I have been within my own head for some time now.

Once again, I find myself in a position where, as I look at my own personal blogs and blogs such as this one and others which I run as a community service or in order to raise awareness of issues close to my heart, I am stunned by the amount of time which has passed since my last posts.  And this concerns and saddens me greatly.

You are all, very important to me. Just as are the issues for which these blogs are written around. And I am so very sorry for the long void of activity.

I am hoping that over the next few days/weeks I can catch up on the emails I should have responded to and also begin to publish articles or guest submissions which have been submitted.  Should they be suitable of course.

So please accept my apologies and please bare with me.  I will do my best, I promise.

Kind regards and God bless you.




An Open Letter to Parents of a Child with Mental Illness – Guest Post by Whitney Hawkins

As members will know, I have a policy of encouraging members to submit unique, original and  previously unpublished pieces for publication as a ‘Guest Post’ here on the guild’s blog.  And I have always been delighted by the response in both the submissions that I have received and the feedback that these have generated.

Today’s  ‘Guest Post’ is perhaps shorter than a lot of the ones that I usually receive and covers a topic which – being a community whose members are predominantly adults experiencing mental health issues – we don’t always hear enough of.   That being children with mental illness and the parents who have children with mental health issues.  So I am delighted to be able to share this with you, and my thanks go out to Whitney Hawkins from StressFreeWithWhitney for sharing this with us. 

An Open Letter to Parents of a Child with Mental Illness,

I see you fumbling your words; trying to come up with reasons for your child’s behavior.

I see you hiding the therapist and doctor’s visits from other children, parents, friends, and family; afraid of judgment and unanswered questions.

I see your pain when you try to comfort and understand your child, falling short one more time. Their tantrums, mood swings, or anxiety test your patience.

I see you blaming yourself; searching for the reasons why and people to blame. Eventually blaming yourself.

I feel your shame, your embarrassment, and your desire to understand.

I feel your pain as you witness your child being robbed of opportunities, of acceptance, and of life. The type of pain that hits you deep in your stomach.

I know you yearn for the life they could have had – the life you dreamed for them. The college acceptances, apartments, and weddings that may never be.

I see, feel, and understand the pain of parenting a child with an invisible illness.

But I also see your bravery.

I see you standing up for your child and being there every day. You have one of the hardest jobs on this planet. You are a social worker, a body guard, and a therapist. You are not invisible; you are so brave.

I see you and I know your child does too.

[Editor’s Note:  Again my thanks go out to Whitney for sharing this with us and I hope members will take time to comment on it.  As someone who grew up experiencing mental health issues from a very early age, but at a time when mental health and mental illness was far less understood than it is today – and thus dealt with in an extremely poor way – I understand (at least to some degree) the challenges that this can present to parents.  And I feel it is an extremely important issue.]


Exciting Times and Changes to Membership

Hi all,

I hope that this post finds you well?  I just wanted to publish a quick post to let every one know about some exciting changes to our membership and how we have been doing things.

As I hope you all know, and as has always been stated on our ‘About The Guild’ page,  the Mental Health Writer’s Guild was set up so as to “provide a community open to all bloggers and writers  who write pieces which are either directly or indirectly related to mental health and mental well-being and where the perceived focus of said pieces is not to intentionally bring sufferers of mental illness or poor mental health, their family and friends, or those working within this field, into disrepute.”

And providing that community which was open to all who write about Mental Health and Mental Illness in a positive way has always been important to me.

But it has come to my attention that actually the way that the Guild was set up – albeit unintentionally – has made it difficult for those who write about Mental Health or Mental Illness and yet who do not have their own blogs or websites to become members.  For example folk who have written books or who publish articles on this subject within medical journals or offline magazines etc.  And the fact that they were inadvertently excluded saddens me.

So because of this, and in the hope of including such folk and extending our membership to them I have today created a new kind of membership and have also slightly altered the current membership (in name only).

We now have two separate types of membership.  Our usual membership – now entitled ‘Blog Membership’ and awarded the new ‘Member Blog’ logo, and ‘Author Membership’ and awarded the ‘Member Author’ logo. (Featured to the right here.)

MHWGmemberBlog2015As you know, membership has previously always been awarded to the blog and not the blogger.  This is out of respect for and a desire to include those who wish to blog anonymously.  And this will continue with little to no changes other than a change to the name of this membership and a slight change to the logo  applicable to this membership  – which  now looks like this.

Ad apart from the slight change in name (and indeed to the membership logo) nothing else will change.  And it is my sincere hope that this membership will continue to grow and to show support for each other as it has always done.

And on that note I also want to take a moment to thank you all for your continued support both for the Guild, myself and more importantly for each other.  It is without doubt, you all – and the support you do show each other which makes the Guild so important.

(Please note that whilst the new logo applicable to Blog Membership  is available now  – to those who may wish to change it.  The current logo will not be being removed (and full use of the new blog membership logo) won’t actually be introduced until January 1st 2016 and so there really is no need to worry if you don’t want to change the logo that you currently use at this time.)

In terms of the new membership type, “Author Membership’ this is afforded to those who, as I mentioned above, do not necessarily have their own blogs or websites but who do write about Mental Health or Mental Illness.  Either by having written or published a book or books on the subject or by writing about the subject in off-line magazines or medical journals.

And, as I mentioned above, there is a new logo specific to this kind of membership and which is featured to the left here.

And it is my sincere hope that not only will this open up our membership and support to those who previously could not be members of the guild and yet who write about the very self-same subjects and experience much of the experiences that we do. But that it will also increase the resources available to our current membership.

Of course it is entirely possible, if not probable, that some of our members will actually fall into both categories.  Being both writers who have written and had published Mental Health related books or articles in off-line magazines and journals and who do indeed have their own blogs.  And if this is the case for you, please be assured that whilst having one type of Guild membership does not automatically infer the other type of membership , there is nothing to stop you from also applying for that kind of membership.  (Please see our Guild Membership page for more details concerning this.)

Ok that’s about it from me.  I truly hope that you are all as excited by this new membership as I am and I really hope that it extends a welcome to those who – through nobody’s real fault – previously did not fit into our membership guidelines.  And I look forward to receiving and reading any comments you may have on this.

Kind regards and God bless you.





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Health Anxiety – A new way of coping. Guest Post by Julie Mariner.

As part of our policy of publishing guest posts submitted to us (normally but not exclusively) by members, I am delighted to be able to share the following guest post from one of our more recent members – Julie Mariner.  Who’s personal blog can be found by clicking here.  

Julie’s blog and especially the following post (written for us and published with her permission) offers some interesting information and techniques in dealing with an illness which is probably one of the lesser-known ones within the metal health blogging world. And, as we all know to our personal cost, being lesser-known does not make it any the less important or the less difficult to deal with.  And so we are extremely grateful to Julie for writing this for us and sharing this with us.

Health anxiety – A new way of coping.  By Julie Mariner

If you suffer with health anxiety then you’ll know what a lonely illness it is. Whilst there are forums online where other sufferers offer support, often what we want to write about will be a trigger for someone else. Or maybe you are like me and are terrified of such places in case you read something that then becomes a trigger for you. So what do you do when you are in the grips of the worst fear possible?

I have been a health anxiety sufferer for thirty-two years. At times, my anxiety has laid dormant (the longest time being three years) but it always rears its ugly head again. I have had counselling, CBT, psychotherapy and more medicines than you can shake a stick at. I have fought so hard to beat this fear of cancer but no matter what I throw at it, it always wins. When I am at my worst all I want to do is hide away from the world. We all know that talking through our problems is a much better solution but who do we talk to? If you are lucky enough to have a family member or close friend that you can lean on then fine. For me, it was my Mum and a friend who lives many miles away. I know I can call them any time of the day or night and they will help me but for some reason I rarely do that now. Instead I find myself becoming a recluse and fighting it alone. I have no idea why I do this but I suspect it’s because talking about it makes it more real and also I have a huge fear that they’ll say the wrong thing like ‘you should get that checked out’ and that would send me into a complete meltdown. You’ll know that avoidance is a hard habit to break and I have yet to manage it.

I always think of that saying ‘You have to experience something to be able to understand it completely.’ and I often wonder just how many doctors, counsellors and therapists have ever experienced true anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I think they all do a wonderful job but how can they truly understand what it feels like to experience such crippling fear on a daily basis. So we try and explain it and we pour our hearts out to a complete stranger who then comes up with a plan of action. This will usually be something along the lines of CBT, medicines and a whole load of printed sheets on coping strategies.

Some of the strategies we are given are really helpful but nearly all of them are physical such as standing under a cold shower, squeezing a tennis ball, getting some exercise etc. These are all well and good for some people but not terribly helpful for others. I could do all of the physical strategies and my brain would still be trying to convince me that I’m dying at the same time. Over the course of my thirty two years of this crippling mental illness I have learnt some ‘mental’ coping skills that really do help in my darkest and most frightening moments. I make no apology for how whacky they may seem. They often work for me and maybe they’ll help you too. I call these my ‘voice strategies.’

Let me explain why for me ‘voice strategies’ work better than physical ones. As human beings we can physically multi task which means we are capable of doing more than one thing at once. A physical strategy might well occupy your hands and body but for many of us it doesn’t quieten the mind. I can be doing the housework and still convince myself I’m dying. A mental strategy however is very different. You can only think one thought at a time. You might be having racing thoughts one after
another, quick as a flash but you simply cannot think two thoughts at once. When you think a thought you are effectively talking to yourself. You are hearing yourself, your voice as you think and this is where ‘voice strategies’ really do help. I’d like to share them with you. These are my top four.

No matter how hard it is, when you are gripped in the middle of anxiety and panic, focus on singing. It doesn’t matter if you sing silently in your head or belt it out for the neighbourhood to hear. Either play a song that you love or sing one in your head but the secret to this coping strategy is to sing along to the correct words. Keep replaying if you have to until you’ve got it right. Pretend you are on the stage and cannot get it wrong. Turn the volume up and concentrate really hard on the words. Your brain cannot do this and focus on your health at the same time. The second your brain deviates from the song you need to get back on track. Dance too if you want and lose yourself in the moment of stardom. You will honestly be surprised how much this distracts you and actually lifts your mood.

Interview yourself.
Yes I know it sounds whacky but I actually do this a lot and it really works. When I’m truly convinced I’m dying of cancer this has worked wonders for me. If you are not alone then go somewhere quiet. Sit yourself down and start an interview with yourself. Ask yourself a question silently in your head (this will be the interviewer) and then answer out loud as yourself. You have to be completely honest in your answers and your questions can be anything that springs to mind apart from anything anxiety related. Interview yourself about your career, your parenting skills, your finances etc. Nine times out of ten your first question will be on something that you would really like to know the answer too. My first question, without any real thought, was ‘Why haven’t you written a book yet?’ I answered myself and those questions so honestly that it was almost therapy in itself and I promise you that it took my mind way from anything to do with health. This coping strategy has been great for me. My book on my thirty two years of health anxiety is currently being written and coming along nicely. I talked myself into starting this blog site with this method too.

You can write about anything but not health in any way. You don’t have to write it, you can type if you prefer. This is what you do. A famous movie producer has approached you and asked you to write at least a 500 word synopsis of a great movie idea. You accept and you sit down and get on with it. Stay focused. Don’t give up or let your mind wander. Come up with the most amazing film storyline that you can. You’ll be amazed at what a great distraction this is. If you enjoy it and go over the 500 words then great. At least you’re not convinced you’re dying right now.

My maths ability is now quite remarkable. Many times I have sat down and written out the most ridiculously hard sums without giving any thought to the numbers themselves and then tried to solve them. Maths for anxiety is great because you need to stay focused and concentrate to come up with the answer. If you find it easy, write harder ones. If you find it hard, don’t give up. Many times I’ve spent several hours working out seemingly impossible sums just to get the right answer. Never use a calculator 🙂

Some more of my tips.
When you are going through a particularly bad bout of health anxiety distraction is vital. If you have children then announce that you are all going to have a fun spelling or maths tests. Once you’ve committed, you can’t let them down can you? If you have a partner, then ask them to dance and have a laugh. If you have pets and are alone then try some trick training. Always try to have music or TV on to distract you from those frightening thoughts. Avoid jigsaw puzzles and drawing at these times as they are easy to lose focus on. It is so easy to end up chewing on the end of your pencil and staring out of the window. Remember the ‘mental not physical’ rule. Ultimately you need your mind to be trying to work something out, to solve a problem or create something wonderful.
Coping strategies will be different for everyone but I hope this article helps you in some way.

Thirty two years of fear and I’m still here and right now I’m coping quite well.
© Julie Mariner.

Julie Mariner

[Editor’s Note:  As I have already said above, I am extremely grateful to Julie for writing this post for us and sharing it with us.  I often get submissions for guest posts which sadly have already been published elsewhere and thus cannot use them.  This being because our guidelines state that – so as not to flood member’s in boxes with articles they have already read elsewhere – guest posts must have been written specifically for first publication on the guild and not have been previously published.  So it really is a joy to have received this submission and especially because of it’s focus and content.  I hope members will pop over and visit Julie’s blog.]

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Mental Illness Is Not Contagious – Guest Post by Marie A. Abanga

It gives me the greatest of pleasure to be able to share this guest post shared with us today by a dear blogging friend of mine from over at  Merry Marie.  Marie has been a great supporter of the MHWG and also a great and much valued support to me personally and the guest post she has kindly shared with us carries a great deal of important truth:

Mental Illness is not contagious: No not even Schizophrenia

I have been following the noble blog Taking The Mask off for a while, and today I decided to do a guest post for the Mental Health Writers Blog.

Wonderful portrait painted by person mentioned in this post.

Wonderful portrait painted by person mentioned in this post.

Let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Marie Abanga and I am from Cameroon in Africa. I am every other woman, but also one with her own dose of mental challenges raging from Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and some mood swings which embarrass even my own-self especially when I burst into tears in public.

I am also a sibling who lost her only and dearest brother to Bi-polar disorder last year. He was 33 when he died. To add to my bio, I am a friend to many especially online, who have a mental illness or the other, one of whom has the ‘S’ label and others.

I visited her last month, and although she was in an institution, I stayed at her apartment which I cleaned up and over, and visited her in that ‘jungle’ twice a day for 5 days. I think with that bio, I can aptly write on the above topic.

Who wears the Face of Mental Illness?

I have personally not be diagnosed by any shrink, maybe because there was no thought of even seeing one back in Cameroon at the height of my challenges. It got so bad that I attempted suicide. I lived such parallel lives that even my mum didn’t know or would believe what I was going through. And then, the focus was rightly on my brother who had received a DSM grade because he found himself in the USA after winning the DV-Lottery. Now, several who knew us and me in particular, couldn’t tell that we had any such issues. Not only because of ‘stigma’ which pushes families including mine to ‘shut-up’, but also because back home we generally try to manage such ‘health issues’ differently. I mean you have to be walking naked in the streets and speaking in sort of tongues, before the mental illness label is given to you. This is why I ponder about who wears the face of mental illness. How many people can we point to on the streets who have a mental illness whether diagnosed or not? And if we can’t easily tell who wears the face of mental illness, how then can we treat those who dare to ‘come out open’ about theirs like ‘shit’? Do we think mental illness is contagious? I dare say no it isn’t. Ignorance, intolerance, lack of empathy and above all fear of the unknown can better explain all this ridiculous stigma surrounding mental illness.

If mental illness were contagious

I sometimes wonder where I would have been if mental illness were contagious. I loved my brother so much and we sometimes slept on the same bed. A few times during some manic episodes back home, he’ll ask me to sleep by his side, or stay with him in the hospital. At least back home families are allowed to stay by their loved ones 24/7 if they want. One person at a time. The system is also different, less focus on medication and more on alternative treatments. Indeed, in the memoir I wrote about my brother’s life when he died, his third stage which was in Cameroon, is to me and us his family, his best stage. And so, if I didn’t get contaminated then, why I beg to ask, are mentally ill treated most often ‘despicably’? I visited my friend in VT USA last month as I earlier said, and it was my maiden visit to the US. I even went there only because she invited me, because on my brother’s demise and in bad memory of the way he had been ‘treated’ by that system, I had vowed never to step foot in that country. I recall my own family being apprehensive of the visit to this friend I had never met before and even she herself once institutionalised again prior to my arrival, said I could cancel my visit if I wanted. I however knew it would do both of of us so good if I went, and I did. It took me a lot to get there, I almost lost track of her because she was moved and had no access to the internet, I was prepared to go to the red-cross. Then I had to brave flying in a Cessna for the first time in my life. But in the end it was so worth it and I learnt another humbling lesson in life. Above all, her mental illness was not contagious or else I would have caught it because I hugged her a few times before an RN soullessly told me about the ‘No touch Policy’ in there. Therefore, if mental illness is not contagious, why oh why the treatment why leaves so much to be desired?

I heard taking your meds compared to taking insulin

I was listening to some YouTube talk and the speaker said taking prescribed medication for a mental illness is as indispensable as taking insulin for a diabetic. Don’t ask me which medical exam the patient took before getting one of those ‘denigrating’ labels, or why prescriptions and combinations are sometimes changed and cocktailed ad infinitum.

Don’t ask me why the side effects of the meds can actually lead you to diabetics, eating and breathing disorders, heart complications and … Don’t ask me if there’s no big business going on somewhere in this whole industry, I mean please don’t ask if these mental health patients who for the sake of urging them to take their meds are compared to diabetics, are treated with even an iota of empathy like the ‘real diabetics’.

Comparing it to insulin for me is a ‘mockery’ period. I know and I am one of those people who fares better without ‘meds’ – I tried them but I couldn’t even fake compliance. I didn’t let the shrink out here get me to trying another one. Thank my Heavens I am learning more and more ways to deal with my ‘bad moments’ the earlier the better. Advocacy is one of the ways I do so.

Dear all, I will argue until it is proven beyond reasonable doubt, that mental illness is not contagious. Some say if it runs in the family, there is a high risk of it passing on to generations. That’s true, but there’s also a higher risk that it would not. It isn’t automatic that if your moma is obese you’re a sure next, and we can quote more examples. I advocate this openly and passionately for mental health because someone has to do something, just like what this noble blog is doing. I am not afraid of critics or what people might say or try to ‘stigmatize’ me, I am actually trying to ‘stigmatize stigma’ in return. Thank you all for reading and be assured that you can at least hug or smile at a mentally ill because their illness is not contagious.

[Editor’s Note:  Again I would very much like to thank Marie for writing and sharing this with us.  There are some important issues touched on and some essential questions asked in this post.  And I hope you will all visit Marie’s blog as well as commenting below.]


“Familiarity Can Go To Hell!” – Guest post by Kelsey G.

I thought it was probably time for another guest post.  I haven’t published one for a while now and if honest haven’t really felt like writing much myself lately.  So I was absolutely delighted to have received the following article from Kelsey G, who is not herself a blogger but who has a wonderful writing style.

So it gives me great pleasure (and of course my thanks go out to Kelsey for allowing me) to publish this piece for you…

Familiarity can go to hell.

go to hell
I turn the light out and stand stationary in the doorway of the bathroom, waiting until I can act on the realization that I shut everything down again too quickly. I flick the light back on, continue to brush my teeth, take my pills, re-evaluate my perception of “self” in the obnoxiously brightly lit mirror. Just on time – that catch in breath that sends shock waves down the spine. A signal of impending doom without the gratifying feeling of inevitable death soon to come, the guilt of viewing it as gratifying in its place.

So this is life. This is life? When did this happen? I’ve cried so many times: over The Office finale for an hour until I was ridden with such a nauseating stress migraine I couldn’t even think about moving; over numerous failed dates with failures of human beings, just wanting someone to listen to their rendition of “all seven types” of their cat’s meows; over food – so many times over food. There’s something intrinsically different about these involuntary fits of tears, though.

I turn on the decorative hanging lights in my room, hung on a night when I desperately needed to forget. To move. To do something – something that required planning and space evaluation and every other “completely legit!” concept we make up when so desperately avoiding what’s most legitimate in life – pain. PAIN! Woe is me, you, but definitely me, the bearer of all pains when feeling any pain.

Seriously, to hell with it. But don’t for one second doubt its ability to shake every foundation you’ve ever known, as naive and already fractured as they may be.

color-earthquakeThe floor at the foot of the bed will have to do this time; my body is too exhausted to make it downstairs again in an attempt to crawl beneath the dining room table and pull in all the stools, creating as tight and secure a panic room as possible, courtesy of IKEA. This room will have to do. The lights strung along its walls are usually a source of invaluable relaxation, their pattern still unpredictable in the most time-consuming and mind-numbing way. But tonight they just remind me of every conversation we’ve had under them. I fiddle with the empty socket on the strand right next to my pillow.

“This little one looks so sad. So empty.”

“Just wants to be loooved, poor thing.”

I compare the dark and lonely socket to myself in the following moments of silence between us and immediately have to recount all the ways to stop from tearing up. Who the f*ck am I?

Back in the present, the pressure of god-damn living these past several months is condensed into a sudden burst of heinously bizarre sobs and choking noises, followed by the familiar snapcracklepop of salty snot bubbles erupting from each nostril and I wonder why I’m still so alone in these critical moments. I say “critical” like I’ve actually experienced anything substantial, and I say “alone” like the internalized sad clown, moon-boot-fanatic version of my eighth grade self. The fact of the matter is, I have several people in my life that I can talk to about this- this, anxiety? Panic? Stress overload?

Three people, to be exact. More, on a good day. Far fewer on a normal (every) day. First, there’s the “number-one-go-to, hands down will always understand friend” who’s lived almost exclusively “substantially”. Oh, crying under the table again? Talk to me. But then, should probably check on that. Here’s why. Go. Then there’s the “obligated/still concerned family members”, one of which just doesn’t understand to the point of complete destruction, bless her god-damned, unintentionally ignorant heart. The other knows everything about mental health (or the lack thereof) but just can’t express the necessary emotions needed for a conversation on account of her inability to feel them in typical ways. On good days, there might be one of the occasional passers-by in life, the meaningful people who share their lives and expect the same in return and inevitably disappear into god-knows-where at the time of their choosing. I don’t call on these people in these moments, though. Actually, I don’t call on anyone. I drop a story here and there about these little panic episodes, making sure to add the precisely measured amounts of humour and sincerity in order to have the fresh-out-of-the-oven product: depth, desirability, just enough sanity (or the lack thereof). I don’t call when the breath catches and the tears start and the fetal crumpling kicks in, because what would I say when or if they answered? What do any of us say?

Things happen. F*cking duh, said every person ever who ever said something obvious. But really though. Things are always happening, and we learn to always expect the always-ness. Life has been pretty saturated these past few months. Anyone could see that the resulting anxiety attacks are a pretty natural reaction. Graduation (but maybe not?), moving cross-country and getting real jobs like real people and getting into actual graduate schools like actual assholes (after graduation FERSHER, but like..
maybe, maybe not even then), coming to terms with the most twisted, embarrassing and realistic cause of complete shame, misery and longing for portable IKEA panic rooms: Tinder.

Cue: An unlikely match that killed the conversation one minute in, only to still be the topic of most, months later – with myself, my friends, mycrosoft word at four in the morning after this “Shit Show Beneath the Stars.” Beautifully introspective and self-deprecating, everything I’d want to be but also not, because it would mean not being able to see it exactly the way I see it in him. The deal was “casual”. Why would we do anything else? I’m leaving in two months. Fuck, Two Months came and went over a month ago. Close to the time I hung these lights, hoping to avoid the inevitable darkness these realizations would hurl me into. The power of unstated discomfort cannot be overstated, but my god, what hope do the socially inept, anxiety-ridden souls of this world have? The simple (ha!) act of living is one disproportionate belch of unstated discomfort, wriggling and writhing within us until we throw up in our mouths as the inexpressible discomforts of existence finally force their way out, knowing we can’t possibly take anything else on in that instant. But in a moment, the crying will stop, the strange choking noises that I’m sure have been reported by neighbours as criminally offensive sex acts will subside, and the snapcracklepop of snot bubbles will dissipate.

This come-and-go routine is just as familiar as any other. But while we’re left seasoned and more impervious to the timing and mechanics of these unwelcome, gut-wrenching reactions to anything and everything, the fact still remains: this is life. What does that mean, exactly? No idea. “Knowing” this leaves us just as lost and helpless as ever. But I do know that I’ve had some really great days and some incredibly beautiful moments in this life as well, and I know I’ll have them again. And when I do, I’ll probably appreciate them for what they are – great, and beautiful – because I’ve gone through hell to understand the alternative. So we wait. And wait. And maybe wait some more. Because eventually the sun has to come up and shit on all this darkness, because this is life. And that’s how life works, right?

[Editor’s Note: I would again like to thank Kelsey G for sending me this piece and for allowing me to share it with you all.  I believe that real, raw, well written, descriptive and informative pieces such as this one are so very important.  And I hope that you will have enjoyed reading it as much as I did and will take time to comment accordingly.]