she says that self-diagnosis was ruining her illness,
that kids who are 14 and looking up why they’re sad
without speaking to a doctor are somehow less worthy
of the label “sick” than she is, as if we’re sitting
in a club called The Fucked Up Kids and membership
requires a note from a doctor saying “yeah, it’s true,
she can’t even get out of bed, I mean, how pathetic”

and I want to tell her she’s barking up the wrong tree
because I have never seen a therapist and have
never spoken to a doctor about this, that the stigma
against teens saying “I think something might be wrong
with me” is half of the reason I never spoke to anybody
because I felt so small and so unworthy, I felt like
there were people who were seriously broken and I
was just a little attention-seeking shithole who couldn’t
keep my lunch down who couldn’t get through the day
without looking for blades who didn’t have the energy
to do anything

I want to talk about how it’s not safe in a lot of places
to speak to your family about feeling crazy, about how
the reason so many 15 year-olds feel like they’re drowning
is because we have nowhere for them to go but
shitty school counselors who don’t take them seriously
and say “it’s just hormones,” that depression removes
your ability to speak freely to everyone about being
so sick of this world that you’re considering just
moving out, that just because in public it looks like
you’re happy doesn’t mean shit and doesn’t make it
reality, that even if your mother and father are somehow
supportive of you, there’s still a chance they won’t be
able to find a physician who actually works for you
because there are a shortage of adolescent psychiatric
doctors and just because she got lucky the first time and her therapist fit with her style
doesn’t make that the case for everyone, that my best friend
cycled through about eight shrinks before he just gave up
and ate the front of a gun, how little boys sit at home and say
nothing because boys aren’t supposed to hurt like this, how
little girls try to get help and are told they’re just hyper sensitive

I want to talk about how I actually never realized I was
depressed, I just thought I was seriously fucked in the head, that there was literally someone inside of me trying to end this existence, about how self-harm makes a liar out of good kids
so when people ask about the scars we swear we’re not hurting, about how it’s fucking terrifying to admit to it
since if we get rid of this white cloud of self-hatred,
who the fuck are we even going to be
at least feeling sad is feeling

I want to talk about how when I figured out there was a name
for almost walking in front of traffic, it didn’t make me proud,
it made me feel less ridiculous, that the reason I think it’s okay
that teens are actually admitting to their mental illness
is because I grew up in a generation where we were
supposed to hide it and that fucking killed us
I mean so many wonderful kids died because of this so

let them talk about it, let them express how sad they are, let
them work through it. Don’t you ever fucking tell someone they’re
not bad enough to really earn the title of depression. It’s not your
special something. Telling people who think they’re fucked up
enough that they google their symptoms, “well self-diagnosis
really means nothing” is the same thing as saying “get worse,
and then we’ll focus on your problems.”

It’s okay to talk about feeling crazy. It’s how other people learn
they aren’t. It’s so fucking good to raise awareness about this.
Stop silencing the voices by saying they’re romanticizing
illness just by talking about it. If you’re not calling depression
beautiful, aren’t you just admitting to your sickness? Aren’t you
just saying to some fourteen year old nerd like myself “you’re
not fucking alone you can fucking make it through this I’ll be
there with you we can do it together.” Taking about having the flu
isn’t the same thing as saying everyone should get it. You don’t
tell kids who say “yeah I think it’s probably a 24 hour something” that their suffering isn’t legitimate just because it’s passing. You wanna know what actually makes depression and hurting seem like it’s a big fucking honour?
When you say only certain people own it.

Look, please. I know it hurts, I know there are people you feel
worse off than. I know that there’s this fucked up “gamer girl” idea of people who are only pretending to have serious problems for attention – but nobody I know has ever actually been like that. and besides, if they’re at the point when saying they want to end their lives
is the only way that anyone gives a flying fuck, aren’t they putting up
with more than enough?

Depression isn’t a badge you earn, it isn’t some treehouse fort
for the kids who have already poured bleach down our throats.
We should be talking about it, we should be holding the hands
of the little ones, we should be saying “listen, I know where you’re
coming from, let’s see what we can do about making you feel
less like you relate to this” instead of saying “you have no idea
what you’re talking about, kid.”

because people told me I was too stupid and too young
to know what it was like to really be sad, so I never fucking
spoke up it wasn’t until I was 19 that my parents knew I
cut, it wasn’t until I had already tried to kill myself six times
that on the seventh I realized I might need help to stay alive
and I still said nothing because I didn’t think I was as bad as
other people were and I had a perfectly okay life I was just
some attention whore that nobody liked

see, this shit gets into your head. And that’s not alright.

I’d like to see your degree in psychiatry before you say “oh, they’re just pretending.” /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

Fucking hell this is so perfect

(via mum-im-lesbian)

Originally, in the 20s and 30s, the stereotype of someone who was schizophrenic was the housewife who was sad and withdrawn, and would not do her duties as a housewife; would not do the housework. This was the typical case of schizophrenia. And then, in the 60s, something shifted. The actual criteria for schizophrenia shifted. A lot of psychiatrists and hospitals and police were encountering young, angry black men who were part of the civil rights movement. Who were part of the riots – the uprisings – in the Black Power movement. Who were angry. Who were perceiving a conspiracy of power against them, that was called paranoia. They would see it is white privilege, but it was called paranoia. And so we actually see the diagnositc criteria for schizophrenia change. So now you have anger and paranoia and hostility being included as criteria, whereas 30 years before they hadn’t been. Because the stereotype has changed. So there’s a way in which the DSM and the perspectives of the psychiatrists and the doctors who were giving these diagnoses is thoroughly politically constructed, and thoroughly dependent on the culture and context that they’re within.

Will Hall at Unitarian Church Vancouver Canada March 2012 - Transcript | Madness Radio (via blinko)

for anyone interested in reading more about how schizophrenia moved from being a diagnosis assigned to white, middle-class women to one used to pathologize and institutionalize noncompliant black men in the 1960s, jonathan metzl’s the protest psychosis: how schizophrenia became a black disease is a good place to start. i have a PDF scan of it, too — just ask.

(via onegirlrhumba)







This is so important


Their son/daughter kills him/herself “I didn’t know he/she was having serious problems”

"Why would you try to kill yourself?" "Why do you do this to us?" "Do you think you are the only one with emotions and problems?" "Why don’t you talk to us??"

Actual statement from my mother when she saw my self-harm scars for the first time: “If you needed more attention, why didn’t you just tell me?”

yeah… my mom laughed the first time i told her i was cutting. 
it took me getting admitted to a psych hospital almost 4 years later for her to realize it was actually something serious. 







This is so important


Their son/daughter kills him/herself “I didn’t know he/she was having serious problems”

"Why would you try to kill yourself?" "Why do you do this to us?" "Do you think you are the only one with emotions and problems?" "Why don’t you talk to us??"

Actual statement from my mother when she saw my self-harm scars for the first time: “If you needed more attention, why didn’t you just tell me?”

yeah… my mom laughed the first time i told her i was cutting. 

it took me getting admitted to a psych hospital almost 4 years later for her to realize it was actually something serious. 


I check my Facebook page 36 times a day for the sole purpose of making sure I have not accidentally posted a nude photo of myself
I reread an email 13 times before pressing send to ensure I have not written something in the email that could convict me of a crime
Before taking a stage when asked if I allow flash photography I always want to say “No” because I’m terrified flash photography will give me epilepsy
I know it doesn’t work like that, still
I never eat nuts on an airplane out of fear of that I will suddenly develop a nut allergy and if I have to asphyxiate I don’t want it to happen at 30,000 feet
Twice in the last two years I’ve been aborted from an airplane for running screaming down the aisles as the plane was taking off
I can’t walk through San Francisco without worrying my indigestion is the beginning of an earthquake
I brace for tsunamis besides lakes in Colorado
I’m not joking
The last time I saw Niagara Falls I couldn’t take it
It was too much much
I had to plug my ears to look at it and close my eyes to listen
Generally I can’t do all my senses at the same time they are too much much
Like if you touch me without warning, whoever you are, it will take everything I have to not hate you
Imagine your hands are electrical sockets and I am constantly aware that I am 70% water
it’s not that I’ve not tried to build a dam

Ask my therapist who pays her mortgage
My cost of living went up
at five years old when I told my mother I have to stop going to birthday parties because every time I hear a balloon pop I feel like I’m gonna get murdered in the heart

Last year a balloon popped on the stage where I was performing, I started crying in front of the whole crowd
plugged my ears and kept repeating the word “LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD” it was super sexy
That’s what I do
I do super sexy
Like when I asked the super cute barista 11 times ‘are you sure this is decaffeinated? Are you sure this is decaffeinated? Are you sure that’- yes I drink decaffeinated and still jitter like a bug running from the bright bright bright
I have spent years of my life wearing a tight rubber band hidden beneath my hair so my brain could have a hug
These days when no one’s looking I wear a fuzzy fitted winter hat that buttons tight beneath the chin
I only ever wear a tie so that when I convince myself I’m choking my senses have something they are certain they can blame
As a kid I was so certain I would die the way of meteor falling on my head
I would go whole weeks without looking at the sky ‘cause I didn’t want to witness the coming of my own death
I started tapping the kitchen sink seven times to build a shield
My mother started making lists of everything I thought would kill me in hopes that if I saw my fears they would disappear
Bless her heart but the first time I saw that list I started filling a salad bowl with bleach and soaking my shoe laces overnight so in the morning when I ironed them they would be so bright I would be certain I had control over how much dark could break into my light
how much jack hammer could break into my heart
My spine it has always been a lasso that could never catch my breath
I honestly can’t imagine how it would feel to walk into a room full of people and not feel the roof collapsing on my ‘NO NO NO I am not fine’
Fine is the suckiest word
it never tells the truth
And more than anything I have ever been afraid of I am terrified of lies
How they war the world
How they sound by our tongues
How they bone dry the marrow
How did we get through high school without being taught Dr. King spent two decades having panic attacks?
Avoided Windows
Jumped at thunder
I think we are all part flight the fight
part run for your life
Part ‘please please please like me’
Part Can’t breathe
Part scared to say you’re scared
Part say it anyway

You panic button collector
You clock of beautiful ticks
You run out the door if you need to
You flock to the front row of your own class
You feather everything until you know you can always, always shake like a leaf on my family tree and know you belong here
You belong here and everything you feel is okay
Everything you feel is okay

Andrea Gibson, “Panic Button Collector” (via theyearofbecoming)

I lied because even though depression is so common in Asian American communities, we rarely talked about it. The message I grew up with: your mental struggles are our own; it’s up to you to find the inner strength to “ren,” to endure.

The character for “ren” 忍 is the character for “knife” over the “heart.” Endure even when there’s a knife in your heart.

In my thirties I discovered talk therapy, tried to get my parents to go. Their response was basically: “That’s for white people.” “They hook you in,” my mother said. “You can never be cured.”

I wish mental illness didn’t come with stigmas. I wish I could have told my parents that my mind had broken just as easily as if I had to tell them my arm had broken.




 Am Not Sad, I Am Not Sick is now available as a PDF for digital download.

"I Am Not Sad, I Am Not Sick: An Autobio Zine" debuted at Twin Cities Zinefest 2013. It is a 15-page black-and-white zine based on mental and emotional struggles of the author.

Here it is on tumblr. It’s $3 (or pay-what-you-want on Gumroad!). I’ve cleaned it up quite a bit and added grey tones to give the drawings a bit more depth. It’s a very personal piece and I hope you’ll consider picking it up.

This zine does include references to self-harm and suicidal ideation.



Thanks for supporting me!

some people need to understand this shit




Okay let’s get this straight. When someone is depressed, they have no motivation. Absolute 0. They don’t sit around or sleep because they’re “lazy”. They just can’t bring themselves to do things, even if they really need to. It’s not some “weakness”. It’s like not being able to use a broken arm.