I am a writer, lay herbalist, cartoonist, surfer, napping enthusiast, and general lover of the outdoors. In April 2012, I overdosed whilst living in San Francisco. I had started therapy and my lifetime of trauma had surfaced. Post-Traumatic Stress was flooding me, and life after my suicide attempt completely overwhelmed me. Since then I have often felt lost and scared of the path I have been walking. I have yearned for anything that makes what I have been experiencing ‘make sense’ and feel more manageable, and less lonely.
Whenever I share my story and read others stories, this yearning is lessened. I feel understood and connected. I feel so much less alone and my experience feels so much less overwhelming and confusing when I can see it out on the paper in front of me rather than just swirling around inside of me, especially when I realise that loads of other people experience what I’m experiencing, too. Writing and drawing help me articulate my internal experiences that are difficult to explain through spoken words.
For this reason, I have written and drawn cartoons solidly since my attempt. I journaled on my blog, and wrote for Elephant Journal, Rebelle Society, and co-edited This Place Is Yours. I now write for Huffington Post, The Mighty, The Bristol Cable, Films For Action, Live Through This, and To Write Love On Her Arms.
I have fallen in love with the power of telling your story – of sharing our human experience in order to feel heard and connected, to raise awareness and talk about things that need to be talked about, and ultimately to heal. But no matter how much I have talked about life and my experience of it over the years – and read about people’s stories, too – there is still a gap in the dialogue out there. Surviving suicide and living with Post-Traumatic Stress was, and still is, such a silenced subject.
I started this zine project because, after years of writing for other magazines, I wanted to create a space where people could share whatever they wanted without being edited. Writing for online/in-print magazines is amazing, but whenever my words are edited, even if only slightly, it feels like a bit of my heart is removed from the page. Sometimes that is okay, but when the subject matter is so tender and close to my heart, being edited hurts. For this reason, I wanted to create a space where people could share whatever is there and needing to be shared, in whatever way they feel comfortable sharing.
Seeing health as a political issue is, and has been, fundamental in my journey. By beginning to un-pick and challenge the beliefs modelled to us by the society we live in, and exploring the impact they have on my health and relationships (with myself, others, and my sense of place in the world and global community), I have realised we can only be liberated from them through having these conversations.
I hope this project can be part of bringing a voice to both subjects and a community that needs and deserves to be heard.
If you would like to be part of the team, or help spread awareness about the project, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org