Hi guys, gals, gents, ladies, dudes, dames, anyone and everyone!
I’m certain a good bunch of you will have never heard of me before, so first off- hello, my name is W, and thanks for checking this page out 🙂 I’m a student, a blogger and a cultural magpie (i.e. gets easily excited by anything bright and shiny).
I’m not too shabby with a pen and some paper, either, and below is the sort of thing I can do:
So far, so broody. I can draw other things, like this…
…and I’m always looking at ways to improve what I can do. The only thing I need is a Byro and some paper; everything else is made up as I go along, and I can draw like this pretty much anywhere.
Here’s the important bit: I draw like this for fun, because for the longest time drawing was my only way of fighting the anxiety I get from being around other people. I’ve spent a lot of time around mental illness, as a support worker and as a patient, and recently I’ve seen a lot more people start talking about it online. I’ve linked this post to several of them in the hope that they will help me reach more people 🙂
I believe 100% that the more we talk about mental illness, the more people are going to start listening, and the more we listen the less isolated we as individuals are going to feel. I know just how easy it is to feel worthless and forgotten, and the only reason I’m here writing this is because I was lucky enough to be reminded by other people that none of us should have to face our feelings alone. I’m well aware that other people aren’t so lucky, who deserve our respect and support as much as the next person, and I want to do something about that too.
So here’s what I’m going to do. Right now I have a piece of blank A3 paper, and I want you to help me fill it with thoughts and feelings about what it means to live with a mental illness.
Once I’ve got enough words I’ll post again with the concept I’ve come up with (if you want to know my current ideas please comment, and I’ll do my best to respond), and as soon as I’ve finished the piece I’ll take a picture (using the best means available) and upload it onto this site. I’ll also email a copy to anyone who gets in touch over email 🙂
Anything you want me to include can be as personal as you want. For now, I’m not going to include names, but if enough of you respond then I’ll include a list of everyone who contributed in the drawing itself (with everyone’s express permission). I will put down exactly what you say, but obviously nothing offensive- I’ll reply to confirm that I got the email, and if I’m unsure about anything (like, for the sake of argument, a possible spelling mistake) I’ll get back to you first before using it.
That’s it, more or less.
This is an idea, and it’s only as big as you want it to be. If no one responds, I’ll draw something entirely to do with my experience of mental illness; if five or six respond, it’ll be to do with those people (and I’ll probably spend more time planning with them to make sure it turns out alright).
If lots of you respond, who knows- I’ll do as I’ve just said, and after that it’s entirely up to you what you do with the finished drawing. I’d be grateful if you let me know before using it for anything, so I can follow things and spread the news if anything interesting comes of it. In the past I’ve made T-shirts for people, and I’d love to get charities involved to help support those suffering from mental illness, but right now I have no idea what to expect from this post. By all means share it!
Serious bit: I’m always going to be trying new things so if any of this does get intentionally misused or misappropriated, it’s not really going to impact on my end (although I’d be leery about trying this again in the future, as you’d expect). Please don’t, is all I can say. I’ll do my best to be open, considerate and clear with my ideas and views on this, so it’s not unreasonable to expect the same from everyone else 🙂
This is my message to anyone else who has suffered from mental illness, a friendly reminder that you are not alone and that the world is listening.
Who wants to shout with me?
Email to contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Apologies if anything about this has upset or offended you- it was totally unintentional, and I’m not all inclined to criticize anyone for having a different opinion. Stay honest, stay safe and stay awesome.
In the corner of a house there’s a room full of books. Big books, small books, books full of color and books full of black. No one could possibly read every book in this room full of books, surely; there are books about cooking, books about history, books about dinosaurs and books about what Sally did on holiday when she met Harry. No one could be interested in all of these books enough to read them all, cover to cover. But no one minded if no one did, because someone read some of these books and read them cover to cover. A kid.
A kid? Of course a kid, what else but a kid. Scrawny and white, all pale and shy, with dark brown hair and bespectacled eye. A kid in form, in mind and in wit, a kid whose heart and mind was lit by literature and writings, all ordered and free. For no one would push back the pages they read, and no one would pinch or say what they said, for in this room in the corner of a house this kid read alone as hushed as a mouse.
As they read alone in this room so quiet, in their mind the world was a colorful riot- what wonder, what power! What passion, what sorrow! How they smiled at the thought of what words had to follow. This is faith, this is light, this is everything right! So the kid read through each day and waited each night.
Time, though, wraps its chain onto every living soul, and as time carried on so the kid became old. Soon gone were the days that they could fill with written page- the rat race soon came forward for those of their age.
The day that it came the kid ran, feeling dread, for the world was not the way that literature had said. Right had no sway on the evil that walked, and the kid needed teaching in rules that weren’t taught. The way of kindness was hollowed with every mistrust; for every step that the kid took, their faith began to rust. Every lesson took heart until the heart gave no more. The kid wandered and stumbled and never found whatever for.
You should be more like him, but less like them, they said, in a loud and righteous cry. You should worship her and him and be grateful for their time, they said with suspicion and fire in their eye. You should be strong, they said, you should be funny. You should know all this.
Why can’t you be more like them? The kid asked themselves, unable to answer. Why couldn’t you learn? The kid asked again, still unable to answer. Why did you turn out this way? The kid cried, over and over, still unable to answer. What good has come of all the time that you spent? They all asked, again and again, and each time the kid was unable to answer.
Until the heart had enough and took everything it had. It screamed to the kid and drove the kid mad. It chased the kid back to the room full of books. It hid from the sky, and the world, and the looks.
In this room full of books, full of memory and peace, the kid found their smile, and the heart its release. Alone in this room of accordance and dreams, together they could hope, reflect and believe. The kid’s story was written and the kid had grown old, but its words can be read again, and the story re-told. Believe in this heart, wherever it may lead, the kid told themselves. Believe in all the good from the things that you read. Believe and be kind, whether you see or remain blind, for this world will forever remain empty and hollow without a song to be sung and dreams it can follow.
And with that, the kid walked into the world once, knowing nothing of strength or of love, or what for. But the words in the room that raised them remain, and what good is a hero without troubles to be slain?
…sometimes, it’s hard to know which part of the question you’re expected to answer; “How was your day?”, for example, usually has it’s own subtext, and if you’re not reading carefully you may find yourself having a very different kind of conversation to the one you expected, let alone wanted. If your day has been poxy, say, it’s rarely the best option to actually say so, because if their day has been poxy too you’ll either be arguing over who is being a stronger character by having a more poxy day than the other person, or cutting the conversation dead because one or both of you wants cheering up.
If their day hasn’t been poxy, however, they might ask you what made your day poxy- and if you’ve spent the first part of the day incapable of avoiding the source of this day being poxy, you may well not want to discuss the matter after removing yourself from that position. You might want to forget about the day being poxy. Following this, it’s common to then be asked if there’s anything they can do for you, and if there isn’t anything that springs to mind, you will then either have to explain that this is no personal fault of theirs (honest!) and navigate the issue of this being totally okay, or be told in no uncertain terms to cheer the heck up…
…thank Ned HH hasn’t asked that…
Still, the word “Aperture” is the kind of word I’d quite happily throw into a furnace to fuel the establishment of more pleasing words, like “obamadoo” or “pootata”. If I wasn’t me, I’d make anything out of the damn word, ’cause I wouldn’t have a clue what it’s supposed to mean- it’s not in itself bad, as words go*.
I’m not sure I’d enjoy telling HH what it means. Actually, scrap that, I’m as near to damn sure as it is within my accuracy at predicting such things as it is possible to get. If I tell HH just what I make of the word “Aperture” and things feel better, I’m gonna bite something on behalf of the world being wrong…
Imagine a lab- not the dog, the place-full of lots of men and women in white coats, in a clean white lab full of expensive-looking machinery. Some of them wore jumpsuits, I think, and those were orange, but I don’t care about the guys in the jumpsuits because far as I know, they were only there to do maintenance. No point in blaming the guy who cleans scalpels for a living.
Imagine that lab originally designed shower curtains, only now it makes ideas. Only the problem there is that ideas don’t necessarily work by default, and this place needs ideas to work, or else all those men and women in nice white coats and orange jumpsuits won’t get paid. And that’d be bad, right?
Imagine someone else gave all these men and women their ideas. These men and women need paying, right. Almost all of them have families and for one reason or another, they can’t just quit working at this clean white lab full of expensive machinery, the thing that their lives depend on, so they take these ideas and try to get them working.
Some ideas don’t, and some of these are discarded. But others stay, because these ideas are special. These ideas have promise, and potential, and if they’re not working already it’s because something else needs to be fixed.
In this pretty white lab, full of lots of men and women in clean white coats, some of whom instead of white coats wore orange jumpsuits, surrounded by expensive machinery- they made ideas work.
Huh? Oh, right. I wonder how long he’s been waiting on me, patiently, playing his own little game of detectoring while I pick at the scab of a memory “Aperture” brings to mind.
“You alright? Only you haven’t said anything for a good while*** now, and as a TimeLord it’s sort of an obligation for me to get answers to at least some of the questions I want to ask. You don’t have to answer that one, though, if you’ll tell what’s with the coat? Did someone hook you up with an Igorina**** while you weren’t looking again?”
“Shut-up, I was thinking anddon’tyoudaresaycareful! Why Aperture?”
Shrug, and a smile. No surprise that he’s excited by the thought of another bloody adventure. Come to that, why am I here? Wait. Damn!
“It’s where your friend came from, according to this. No harm in checking things out, eh?”
Which reminds me. Has he asked me about him yet? I can’t remember, but he might well have done while I was stuck brooding about bloody Aperture. That’s one I’ll have to keep an eye out for- and why’d he bring up that time with the Igorina?
I nod, before he asks another damn question.
“I’m guessing you’ve never been, right?”
A wistful look comes into HH’s eyes. I wonder what he’s guessing it’ll be like, although for a TimeLord I guess that’s like wondering what the color blue looks like to hermit crabs. The hell if I know even where to damn begin.
“Not yet. And you?”
Which isn’t gonna suffice, is it?
“Oh? What’s it like?”
I’m not good with questions like that. Sometimes knowing the answer isn’t the tricky bit- it’s guessing what you aught to expect from answering.
“It’s very sciency. You’ll fit in well.”
Which is, more or less, true. I mean, I’m not sure how much of being a TimeLord is to do with science- from what I can tell, it’s part-librarian, part-geologist, part-socialite and a good fifty percent bloody idiot. But he’s gonna fit in.
They liked to meddle too.
*Bad words are not necessarily rude, according to nutjobs like Womble (and Ken Keneki) who base their liking of a word as much on how it sounds as what it means. The “C word” is bad, at least in Womble’s view, because when pronounced correctly it sounds like a blunt object being hammered into the space between two immovable objects that is slightly too small for it. The use of this word is made more upsetting by the fact that you could be using the word “vagina” instead, which is both more exotic-sounding and sounds frankly hilarious when someone shouts it out loud in place of the usual swearing**.
**Along with the made-up words parents use in front of their kids.
***The go-to word if you happen to be travelling through a void in time and space, or too lazy to find out exactly how long the determined time has been.
****The race, not the name. Igorinas are generally extremely intelligent and almost always beautiful to look at, depending on that particular individual’s aesthetic tastes. The downside for most non-Igor partners, however, is that they often take a very practical approach to finding their perfect man or woman, and are more than happy to literally make the most of what’s in front of them, as Womble found out.
“…quark.” (I don’t.)
“Quark.” (I really don’t.)
“You really do. It’s uncanny.”
“QUARK!” (It is not! Pen Pen isn’t even the same species as me!)
“But you both have claws, and you both sort of look like an erect-crested penguin- only in your case, with more frill and more fat…”
“QUARK QUARK QUARK. Grrrr…* “(I am not fat…err…grrrr?)
“Right, right. You’re not fat. Just big-boned, I take it? What’s that, by the way?”
Just as I’m about to smack HH- for lying about my shape, obviously- I see it too. Ahead of us is a large, empty patch of space, and between it and the ship is a very large neon pink jellyfish. It’s huge. Really huge- the size of a small planet, in fact, and much much much bigger than my ship.
It’s tendrils crackle with yellow light, and in one of them is a small robot that looks very much like Nibbles. I get the feeling I’ve seen this kind of thing before…**
“…”(Turn back my shark, or you’re heading for a slapper/my name’s Jellyman- the greatest born space rapper!)
“Womble…this one’s on you.”
This is from HH, who looks more lost than a dinosaur in a morphsuit. It’s saying a lot for a TimeLord- judging by his expression, it appears he’s never encountered an interstellar jellyfish quite like this before, not after however many thousands of years he’s managed to remain in existence. Giving Nibbles the mic, I try the obvious.
“Quark-quark quark?” (Why?)
“…”(This shark got balls, hear it asking me why/the jelly don’t like fish, jaws- beat it or die)
Hmmm…right. Unfortunately, I want to go that way. Don’t know why. I just really do. I’m not turning around, whatever HH says, and I’m not getting slapped either. We’re going to have to do this the hard way. Thankfully, on the way to Futurama I got in a bit of training. The Jellyman won’t know what’s hit it.
“Quark quark-quark grrrr quark!” (Cookie fantastic/android made of plastic, spin it on a bottle-top/move it on vanilla pop!)
It works. I can see the jellyfish gearing up for this, preparing a response to my opening salvo. HH has that mildly stunned expression again, and I think he wants to make the “N’awww…” sound, but I can only deal with one thing at a time. Right now, he’ll just have to wait.
I’ve got a battle to attend to.
*It remains to be proven if any other bird- let alone a penguin -is actually capable of growling, but Womble seems to manage it without trouble. No one else knows why this is, or even how he does it.
**Womble is correct in thinking this. Every intelligent life-form without a more convenient means to effectively communicate uses the small, docile type of robot known universally as You-Name-It (or YNI). The YNI are capable of transmitting many thousands of different languages via magic, and tend to spend most of their free time trying to persuade someone to give them a different name to the one given to them by whoever was around their owner at the time of their naming. For reasons unknown, they never ever succeed.