a place for zinesters - writers and readers
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.
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.
I can relate to so many of these comments. Thanks everyone for sharing them. I'm not sure if folks are still pondering over how to write mental health-focused zines but I'll share my experience anyway. I view making zines/perzines as a form of therapy. I'm speaking to a crowd of people who will understand and be interested in my experiences and won't devalidate them. It helps to know my audience when trying to write authentically. There's stuff that I will probably never publish, but it helps to think about the people who will want to read; mostly folks who can relate to your experiences or want to be an ally.