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hey all - anyone want to talk about your challenges in writing about mental health stuff, how you deal with them, your process, etc.? I feel this conflict between wanting strongly to express my experience, and at the same time, anxiety and depression getting in the way of creating those kind of zines. For me it's having fear or insecurity about my writing, especially personal writing, and sometimes wanting to distract myself from the hard things. I've done a lot of zines, but very few personal and especially about my mental health/illness and I feel like I have so many more to do. I'd love to hear about your experiences and any advice specific to creating this kind of zine.
thank you in advance!
big hearts to all you rockin zinesters!!
xoxo Niku

Tags: health, illness, mental

Views: 169

Replies to This Discussion

some really good points - thanks for sharing them!
I created a whole zine once, based on my stay on the psych ward of my local public hospital. I wrote it when I was in there, but when I got out, I never did print it. I feel very cautious about it. It's so personal and so private. We're so vulnerable opening ourselves up to judgement like that - or at least there's the anxiety that harsh judgement may befall us. But there was more than one reason why I didn't print it, although my memory is muddy when I try to recall specifics. I still have the original pages. I might one day.
wow - if you decide to revisit it, I'd love to read it.
It's definitely weird to put out something written in the past/about the past. you could rework it into a version you feel good about now. Also, even though in a way when you put your zine out there, it's out there, you can control it somewhat depending on where/if you decide to sell it, or just trade it or whatever makes sense to you.
I'd love to hear your story, even if it doesn't end up being that one specifically...

lofipi said:
I created a whole zine once, based on my stay on the psych ward of my local public hospital. I wrote it when I was in there, but when I got out, I never did print it. I feel very cautious about it. It's so personal and so private. We're so vulnerable opening ourselves up to judgement like that - or at least there's the anxiety that harsh judgement may befall us. But there was more than one reason why I didn't print it, although my memory is muddy when I try to recall specifics. I still have the original pages. I might one day.
For me, I feel like my mental health issues are such a big part of me that it would almost be a crime *not* to write about it. If I don't tell anyone what it's like, I can't ever expect to be understood. One thing that really helps me to continue writing the kinds of things I write is all the feedback I get from people who read my zines. Unfortunately, it seems like those who "get it" are far away, and on the rare occasions that I let someone local read my zine, they just think I'm weird... and not really in a cute, charming way the way they think before they know me well, but in a pretty scary way, I guess.
in the past, fear and insecurity have played a big role in preventing me from sharing my experiences. the best thing for this has to been to push through and do it anyway--like maranda said, the feedback from the zine community is a huge influence, and once i realize that other people feel the way i do, and can benefit from my experiences, it feels wrong to not make zines.

it's one of those things that just gets easier with time and practice. eventually you realize there is nothing to fear, especially when your words are helping others. also, getting letters and emails from readers is a huge inspiration to me, and the process of providing comfort/receiving comfort is a beautiful interaction.

as much as I hate the pushiness of this statement, for me it was feeling the fear and forcing myself to do it anyway. I'm cringeing now just looking back at some of the things I wrote in the last few years but I've chosen to put them out there anyway. There are always going to be people that like what you do and people that don't. However, when you've opened yourself up to strangers by writing so honestly about your mental health, you'll find that most people salute you for your bravery and find it inspirational.

One thing I'd say to keep in mind is to keep yourself safe while you're writing. Writing about it can be such a great release but I get very easily triggered and writing my zines can send me on a downward spiral. Just keep on mind some things you know you can do to take a break from a potentially emotionally draining activity.

For me, writing is how I process the world & my emotions, how I deal with all the big scariness of life. I write about the same things over and over again in order to sort out my feelings. It makes me feel more powerful, more in control, to tell my story.

Once I've written something, I have a compulsive need to share it. There are some things that I keep private out of respect for my family & other loved ones, but my ideal situation would be complete candor about everything in my life. That includes mental health struggles. Also, as Maranda said, people tell me that my openness about depression & anxiety has helped them, and that feels really good.

as i got older i wanted to share my struggles with mental health, that it was not some secret that i had to hide from. it was hard at first, it still is. i am always afraid to put to much out there. like 'if i talk about having to wash my hands a certain number of times - will people ever want to read my zines again'?

i want my zines to be positive, i want others to know that they are not alone. that having a mental illness is not a bad thing - it is a different thing. we are all different! i feel that my zines (especially recently) i have tried to advocate for those living with ocd and chronic anxiety.

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