“Water Striders” addresses the mundane through a surreal metaphor. Focused on the abstract feeling of monotony or depression (or whatever it is the reader can find in it), “Water Striders” juxtaposes this with a fantastical realm, creating a mystical narrative of negative emotionality. Finally, when the protagonist breaks the cycle, the readers are left wondering whether this leads to something better, worse, or just different — we can’t know.
How often do you question your existence or the existence of others? Can we ever feel completely certain of the external world (or even our own inner world)? The following visual art series, “Disintegral,” focuses on the alienating effects of dissociative disorders, in which the sufferer feels fragmented, solipsistic, and unreal. “Disintegral” focuses on this fragmentary feeling through a series of pen and ink drawings.
“Clean Kitchen” addresses the issues of elder abuse and the devastating effects dementia has on relationships.
The following personal history piece focuses on the author’s journey in the mental healthcare system, through both psychiatry and psychotherapy. It also deals with how stigmatizing and detrimental the system (and the world) can be to those with mental illnesses. This memoir-style essay tells the story of the author’s illness like it’s the big bad wolf, and walks the reader with her on the journey to coping with it. It’s a piece that not only talks about the author’s individual reality, but also the greater reality of the world of psychology, psychiatry, and mental illness.
Mistakes or poor treatment in romantic relationships create tension and leave the individuals involved with a choice — to forgive or not to forgive? If the goal is to stay together, forgiveness is a huge part of moving on. But is the partner more likely to make the same mistakes or behave in the same inappropriate ways if forgiveness is granted? Holding the partner accountable might encourage changed behavior, but what if that doesn’t work? How do you know when the healthy choice is to forgive or to let go?
Dissociation is an experience of human existence that affects one’s sense of identity or perception of time, and can create a feeling of disconnection from one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. How does a dissociated state impact our youth, our development, or (more integrally) our personalities?
Appearing in Leviticus, the concept of a scapegoat is that of two goats — while one is sacrificed, the other is released into the wilderness to carry the sins of the community. Family dynamics and the process of development can lead to the scapegoating of a family member, as someone unfairly blamed for the errors of the group. How does a process such as this taint an individual’s worldview, faith, or trust in others?
As we age, a common human experience is losing faith in the institutions we grew up believing in (i.e. family, government, economy, education, and religion). Is the American medical industry an institution we should have faith in, or not? Could it be causing unnecessary harm by promoting the invention of diseases, utilizing erroneous mental health categories, and informing its practices on funding? What are the positives of the American medical industry when compared to other countries? How do we fix the errors of this American institution to purely reflect an apolitical agenda intent on servicing those in need?
How important is the organization of society when it comes to individual mental health? The following allegorical short story addresses the impact of ideological brainwashing, its self-perpetuating cycle, its destruction of its opponents, and the pushback necessary to create a balanced society composed of free-thinking individuals.
Depression seems like an obvious flaw in the human condition. The symptoms of depression (everything from apathy, social isolation, and anhedonia to emptiness, sleeplessness, and ruminations) can make engaging in daily life absolutely impossible. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not.” Despite what seems like an obvious evolutionary handicap, research has shown depression has a variety of hidden benefits, such as encouraging attention to detail, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. By acknowledging depression’s hidden benefits, we can alter the way it impacts us individually and societally.