Mental illness is expensive: Why austerity makes me sad

By Emily May Cambridge CN: Depression, anxiety, therapy, austerity, meds, doctors, trauma   Depression and anxiety are not the products of a distinctively bourgeois malaise. They are, however, incredibly expensive. They create new needs, and push existing ones out of reach. Pills are usually the first line of defence. After intermitting, I was given yet … Continue reading Mental illness is expensive: Why austerity makes me sad

Graduation blues

Anon Cambridge CN: Emotional abuse, depression, anxiety, grades   I still know deep down that moving back home after graduation was the right choice for me. I knew at the time that I didn’t have the mental capacity to focus on my degree and scout around for jobs and internships at the same time, like some … Continue reading Graduation blues

On loneliness

By Charlotte Morgan McGarry   Whenever I am alone in my room at night and feel the familiar, unwelcome chill of loneliness looming, I call on my Rational Mind in attempt to beat it back. “You have so many people in your life!” it says. “Message one of your friends!”  But this only makes me … Continue reading On loneliness

An introvert’s guide to a good time

By Aisja Mahmood Cambridge Original images by Kat Kon   1. Find out what a good time means to you. This process can be tiring, as you’ll probably end up navigating things you don’t enjoy while you find the things you do, but it can also be fun. Start with things you’re genuinely interested in; … Continue reading An introvert’s guide to a good time

We all have mental health. Did you forget?

By Micha Frazer-Carroll CN: Depression, anxiety, exercise, alcohol, hallucinations, doctors “But is there a difference, when we discuss ‘mental illness’, and when we talk about ‘mental health problems’?” I stared at my supervisor blankly. There are lots of reasons why I love studying Psychology – being forced to have conversations like this is one of … Continue reading We all have mental health. Did you forget?

‘13 Reasons Why’ has failed teenage girls

The show is simplistic, glamorising, and dangerous.

“But you’ve got such a bright future ahead of you”: On validity and mental health

By Mollie Georgiou Cambridge CN: Anxiety, weight, GPs   “But you’ve got such a bright future ahead of you”. The words hung in the air as I stared blankly back at my GP, my stomach twisting into a thousand knots. It was a Thursday afternoon, just weeks after I’d entered my most intense period of … Continue reading “But you’ve got such a bright future ahead of you”: On validity and mental health

Thursday playlist: Running

By Gabriella Philips CN: Exercise   I’ve been running for as long as I’ve struggled with mental health; not to reach a particular target (other than getting fighting fit) but to find space and relative peace. Running induces a suggestible state of mind – I have no science for this other than my own experience … Continue reading Thursday playlist: Running

Let’s have a conversation

By Caitlin Stark Cambridge CN: Depression, meds   Good conversations mentioning mental illness: ‘so I was at the psychologist today and she had the cutest dog with her’ ‘have you seen this depression memes page it’s so funny’ ‘ugh I hate how irrational brain is sometimes’ ‘yo btw can I tell you things which are … Continue reading Let’s have a conversation

Dear Diary: Week II | Intermission

Cambridge columnist Oscar Ridout brings us the second instalment of a weekly diary series they call Taking Time. This week they think about their experiences with intermission.  Cambridge CN: Mention of being sick, doctors, exams   The only information forthcoming about intermission (what Cambridge calls taking a year off due to inability to work) from college … Continue reading Dear Diary: Week II | Intermission

So what if I’m mad?

By Emma Simkin CN: Hospitals, bipolar, Trump presidency   I’m running up and down the waiting room in my pyjamas, stolen Christmas baubles swinging from my hair. ‘Look everybody, it’s Emma the Unstoppable Genius, just look at her go!’, I chant to myself as I race up and down the room. A bauble in my … Continue reading So what if I’m mad?

A view from the Nut House

By Haleema Mirza National Film and Television School CN: Psychiatric wards, BPD   I recently quit my job after a series of unpleasant incidents. One of which I ashamedly was trying my hardest to overlook; it was just a throwaway remark, surely something I could ignore. I was sat in my second day of training … Continue reading A view from the Nut House

How to enjoy being alone

Blueprint Team CN: Loneliness, depression, exercise, anxiety The company of others can be a beautiful thing. But equally, alone time is important. Being alone allows us to be introspective, to feel independent, and competent. Sometimes harnessing the power of being alone, without being lonely, can be hard. Here are the team’s top tips on making … Continue reading How to enjoy being alone

Switching off: Why Facebook made me lonely as a fresher

Anon Cambridge CN: Depression, anxiety   Social media undoubtedly taps into some very positive aspects of human sociality; we use it to find validation, to share interesting or amusing things, for grass-roots political action and to some extent to create communities. There are aspects of social media that are positive for my mental health – … Continue reading Switching off: Why Facebook made me lonely as a fresher

You can, and will be loved again

On recovery from emotional abuse. Anon CN: Emotional abuse, relationships, depression, anxiety, self-harm I have struggled for weeks to write this. Many reasons, questions and feelings flooded through my head every time I sat down with good intentions. These questions asked me: was I just making it up? Was it more my problem than his? … Continue reading You can, and will be loved again

Being on your period does not invalidate your emotions

By Beth Walters CN: Periods, sexism, PMDD, images showing blood and periods   ‘Urgh, hormones’. ‘I’m sorry, I must just be hormonal’, ‘I’m such a moody b*tch right now’. These are the familiar conversational watermarks embellishing many period-havers and uterus-owners’ ‘time of the month’. How is it that the hormone cycles of a vast swathe … Continue reading Being on your period does not invalidate your emotions

Sunday

Is it strange that being alone in bed is such a relief? Weight lifted when empty sheets wait. The clock just mine to watch and set The light just mine to kill. I want to be selfish this time and hold solitude as my own. I know these pages are tired And yawn in quilt … Continue reading Sunday

It would have been your birthday

CN: Death   I Tried to light candles with fractured matches, Watching straining lick of flame reach, Like our broken fingertips, Across the bruised void of the unsaid   Suddenly Impenetrable broken curls of Cyrillic dissipated from the paper And, as I tried to catch each elaboration of glyphic, each gasped stroke of numeral, I … Continue reading It would have been your birthday

A Reclamation

CN: Ableist slur   My madness can not be cured My late nights screaming disillusioned My unfaithful lover; existence My sorry desires to extinguish this   My madness can not be cured My need to love with every atom My humans who find comfort in me My songs peeling from my lungs   My madness … Continue reading A Reclamation

Disability in Italy

By Emrys Travis CN: Disability, chronic fatigue chronic pain, autoimmune diseases   I should preface this piece by stating in no uncertain terms that, as a Brit, I am neither patriotic, nor under any illusions as to the objective awfulness of the state of disability rights in the UK. The red tape disabled people have … Continue reading Disability in Italy

It’s not me, it’s you

By Georgia Elander CN: Mental health slurs, sexism   Women have always been made mad by men. We have had madness constructed onto us, built into us, drawn out of us, in many different settings and by many different means across the history of lunacy, psychiatry and medicine. And this ‘female malady’ still sticks to … Continue reading It’s not me, it’s you

Introducing: Unconsenting media

By Rose Payne CN: Sexual assault, rape   In a world that has a website where you can find out if a dog dies in a film (doesthedogdie.com – a brilliant website), I’ve always wondered, why isn’t there something similar for instances of rape or sexual assault? Way too many times I’ve been relaxing watching … Continue reading Introducing: Unconsenting media

Blueprint’s guide to dissertations

Blueprint team CN: Dissertations, motivation   It’s dissertation season, which can be a high pressure time for many students. As deadlines draw closer, it’s easy to feel as if you’re behind, or the only one struggling, but we can assure you that’s not the case. Lots of students find dissertation-writing difficult, and it’s a reality that … Continue reading Blueprint’s guide to dissertations

Dissecting narratives: The poetics of trauma

By Isla Anderson CN: Trauma, PTSD, abuse, rape, blood, gender dysphoria, dissociation   JACK: [Screaming] I want a different story. JOY: No. This is the story that you get. —from ‘Room’ (2015), Dir. Lenny Abrahamson, based on the novel by Emma Donoghue.   Assault. Harassment. Non-consensual. Statutory. Stalking. Intimidation. Entrapment. Rape. In survivors of trauma—or … Continue reading Dissecting narratives: The poetics of trauma

Window

You always point out the other World behind the clouds As if you have been there. When I sit in the library Moaning to dead poets And trying to remember Not to forget next time I imagine you in a tower Stretching muscle Fine-pointed limbs like Branches aching with leaves, And you reach further Than … Continue reading Window

Me, my mother, and I

By Gabrielle Zemsky CN: Mothers, feeling low   Somewhere in our house, there’s an old picture of me and my mom. In it we’re lying on the floor, wearing matching outfits which turn our bodies into an amorphous blob. We’re looking at each other with so much love, a chubby baby with a goofy smile … Continue reading Me, my mother, and I

What’s in a name?

 The way medical professionals treat people can vary hugely between diagnoses, even when symptoms are the same. How does this affect patients when the label they’re given is wrong? By Emma Simkin CN: Psychiatric hospitals, BPD, bipolar, suicide, self-harm, medication In January this year, a particularly unpleasant cocktail of emotions landed me in an acute … Continue reading What’s in a name?

River.

I am a river. Strong, raging, tumbling, joyful Carving deep into slabs of hard, hard rock Through lush oases and built up towns and empty space, I pick up stones and carry them For long unblinking miles. Then drop them. Unnoticed, uncaring. And countryside and cities Are beautiful and thrilling in equal measure. Rushing, racing … Continue reading River.

Looking from the shore

Images by Hannah Watson, poetry by Sandra Watson

The light at the end of the tunnel

A comic about struggling to function.

Stretched lips

My smile meant nothing. It was practiced to preserve An impression of Deserved ambition; Just desserts; my achievements. Is it worse if I Felt nothing or I Felt so much that my own fumes Cut my oxygen?   By Imogen Shaw   Header image: ‘Kiki’ by cyberex

Dear Mum: I’m sorry I used to be embarrassed by your accent

By Sienna Hewavidana CN: Racism, prejudice Accents are invisible. Or at least – I believed they were. Growing up in my household, I had become deaf to my parent’s strong Srilankan accents. I believed they sounded like me; eloquent, well spoken, articulate – and most importantly – English. Normal. When I was 11, my mother … Continue reading Dear Mum: I’m sorry I used to be embarrassed by your accent

Secret.

Because I know that I’m wrong. But I can’t be. Because the beat in my chest says I can’t rest until I can sustain myself until I’m nothingness. And you hold out the honey and insist because I won’t because to admit that I’m human is failing now I’m screaming in frustration in the tube … Continue reading Secret.

Am I the worst employee in the office?

Anon CN: Impostor syndrome   I was asked at the beginning of the graduate scheme to fill out a portfolio of projects I’ve worked on, to mark the milestones I’m supposed to achieve by the end of the year. I feel like I’m collecting more mistakes in my portfolio than achievements. Like the time when … Continue reading Am I the worst employee in the office?

Coming out of hibernation

By Georgia Elander Images by Becky Guthrie CN: Feeling low, relationships, food   The way the sun without warning lights up all the buildings in sight isn’t something you see so much as something you feel. For me, at least, it’s the feeling that’s missing at midnight on New Year’s Eve when the cork pops and … Continue reading Coming out of hibernation

Adolescence

It moods adolescence. Full as a first period. Far from tits and the mature comfort of a hairy muff.  Pretends to have not played cool tunes with the bits. Forgets ever having enjoyed the weight of someone. Unhappy load, unwillingly swollen, fetus borrowed sitting inside a woman. Accidental purple, needled hole an over baked burn. … Continue reading Adolescence

For times when getting out of bed feels like too much

By Mariam Ansar CN: Anxiety, panic attacks   My room has always been my place of escape. Three summers ago, I inscribed my favourite quotations onto pieces of paper and framed them to preserve the wisdom I’d always told myself I needed. Now, there is one that I think of more than the others – a … Continue reading For times when getting out of bed feels like too much

‘I don’t have an eating disorder’: On being in the grey area

By Izzy Ryan CN: Eating disorders, doctors; mention of throwing up, cancer   Thinking of mental health as a black and white issue leaves those in the grey are feeling isolated and unable to reach out for help. There is no clean slope between healthy and unhealthy that we slide down when something goes wrong. … Continue reading ‘I don’t have an eating disorder’: On being in the grey area

5 self-care ideas for under a fiver

By Beth Walters CN: Self-care, feeling low, food So you’re having one of those days. Maybe you missed your alarm then rushed to lectures, then a lorry splashed you with mud, only for you to find out the lecture has been cancelled. Then you get home and realise there’s no milk for your commiseration cup … Continue reading 5 self-care ideas for under a fiver

Some fates worse than death

CN: Consent, rape, being in the closet   ‘I like your accent’, he says, and reaches for my fly. I freeze. The microwave at home should have caught fire by now. Or maybe it won’t be the microwave. It could be burglary this time, or Lina getting mugged down Cowley Road. Or, come to think … Continue reading Some fates worse than death

crisis time

Anon CN: Suicidal ideation, self-harm, hospitalisation, death   you’re either about to do something reckless, or about to do nothing. iPhone screen cracked lights text green ‘u okay?’ No, you tap out with fingernails scooped with bloody-brown dried Bloody mess.   U OK – right now it feels like you’ve never been and never can … Continue reading crisis time

Dear Diary: Week I

Columnist Oscar Ridout brings us the first instalment of a new weekly diary series. This week they tell us about their early experiences with mental health in Cambridge. Cambridge CN: Depression, alcohol use, rape, eating struggles   I’m mostly writing this for myself. Thank you for witnessing though; I value your silent support. If my thoughts, … Continue reading Dear Diary: Week I

it doesn’t feel real

CN: Suicidal ideation I’m standing on the edge of a lake the trees surround me, the campus building is behind me and there’s no one out here – not even me, for I have allowed myself to be consumed something was actually calling me that night vibrating like stars but coming from the water the … Continue reading it doesn’t feel real

I became an expert on my eating disorder, because no one else was going to

By James Downs CN: Eating disorders, anorexia, doctors, psychosis This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week – an annual event which sees charities and campaigners like myself come together in a week of activities aimed at informing the public about eating disorders, raising their profile as a collective priority in our society. This week is … Continue reading I became an expert on my eating disorder, because no one else was going to

when I eat my emptiness

CN: Binge eating Anxiety spikes those prickly pinprick holes. I am deflated, an old birthday party balloon, a sad sagging castle, no bounce. Oh to be full of life! Preferably, but sometimes microwave rice uncooked don’t have time for breathe between gulping bread like a sacrilege cold pizza crust from the bin wheat thins I … Continue reading when I eat my emptiness

my reputation as the one who always smiles

what’s up? I tell him about the time that I stared at the sky so much it turned away from me. I recall blades of grass stretching into a railway of escape. I show him the wind that accompanies me every night I fall. wow. I didn’t know you could write poems. By Nicole Rossides

“I thought I’d gone mad”: Your guide to dissociation

By Emma Simkin CN: Dissociation, trauma Reading about dissociation can potentially worsen, exacerbate, or introduce symptoms for those who suffer from it. Read mindfully.  The first time I dissociated was in my first term of first year. I was sat in the library, drinking coffee and procrastinating with another habitual scroll through Facebook. I clicked on … Continue reading “I thought I’d gone mad”: Your guide to dissociation

Structure: A guide for perfectionists

By Emily Bailey-Page – Arts Editor CN:  Self-care, sleep problems, perfectionism, anxiety   When dealing with your mental health, structure and routine can be intensely useful. Getting up at the same time every day, having set working hours and mealtimes, doing your laundry on the same day each week: these things give you an external … Continue reading Structure: A guide for perfectionists

Antidepressants made me feel like myself again

By Sofia Bodo CN: Antidepressants, depression, anxiety   I had done it all: self-care, counselling, CBT. Friends had rallied around and then disappeared as the year turned; I had developed coping strategies which promptly failed; I would feel better, and then sink back down again like a stone. The cramps of angst and sadness in … Continue reading Antidepressants made me feel like myself again

How do you do self-care as an activist?

By Georgia Elander CN: Politics, self-care, Trump presidency, queerness, anxiety   The concept of ‘self-care’ is everywhere now in feminist, queer and other activist circles. It comes from Audre Lorde’s incredible statement that ‘caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare’ – and it has radically … Continue reading How do you do self-care as an activist?

Dormant

Shadow-box the light with your curtains drawn midday, You choose to lay – lost   By Kieron Rennie Header image by vivianejl Read more of Kieron’s poetry here

How I learned to listen to myself

A comic about accepting your emotions.

“No more cuddles”: Disability, anxiety, and asking for ‘too much’

By Beth Walters CN: Disability, hearing loss, anxiety, depression, counselling   “But do you not think, perhaps, that the types of care and support you had as a child, necessary because of your hearing loss, may have shaped the way you receive or perceive care today?” I shifted around in my seat uncomfortably, turning over … Continue reading “No more cuddles”: Disability, anxiety, and asking for ‘too much’

Mental illness exists beyond depression and anxiety. Why don’t we talk about it?

By Emma Simkin CN: Depression, anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, psychosis, bipolar personality disorders, Trump presidency When I was seventeen and had a diagnosis of depression, I’d talk about my struggles with mental health and would be met, for the most part, with a great degree of understanding. I had a few friends shun me after … Continue reading Mental illness exists beyond depression and anxiety. Why don’t we talk about it?

‘I’m going to throw up’: How I draw my anxiety

Sophie Buck CN: Anxiety I did each of these sketches in under 5 minutes, in the midst of feeling very anxious. It was 2am and I couldn’t sleep. The air was prickly and breathless. My stomach floating yet leaden. I can’t pinpoint what had sparkled this feeling – a build-up of things. To work through … Continue reading ‘I’m going to throw up’: How I draw my anxiety

‘Stop practising Skype sex on your laptop webcam’: Biba Kang | Advice to my teenage self

CN: Sex, weight, mention of specific dress size, porn, relationships, age gaps   Taking the blogosphere by storm with a no-bullshit attitude to sex, love and womanhood, Biba Kang has written about everything from role-play, to lube, to the importance of having pubes. But that’s not to say it hasn’t been a learning curve. Her writing is … Continue reading ‘Stop practising Skype sex on your laptop webcam’: Biba Kang | Advice to my teenage self

Naima Ramos-Chapman: mental illness affects black women too

Filmmaker Naima Ramos-Chapman talks PTSD, being a survivor and the intersection between race and mental health.

Graduation

A poem about feeling left behind.

A letter to my little sister, whose friends have started skipping meals

By Saliha Shariff CN: Eating disorders Dear sister, Between the ages of sixteen and twenty, any time that I felt lost as to who I was, I restricted the amount that I ate. I’d never felt like the prettiest one or the funniest one, I started university and suddenly my intelligence was average at best. So … Continue reading A letter to my little sister, whose friends have started skipping meals

Editor’s letter: February 2017

By Micha Frazer-Carroll CN: Trump presidency, discrimination, exhaustion Happy February all! What a tempestuous month it has been, both personally and politically. Starting with the personal: the reception of our first month of publishing online content was really quite staggering. Blueprint is undoubtedly still taking its first baby steps – the latter half of 2016 … Continue reading Editor’s letter: February 2017

Not Again

A poem about sedation, by Rosie Rosenberg

Evaluation

 Am I of Interest? Am I? Am I sweet? Am I witty? Am I kind? Am I smart? Tell me loving things Universe For I love you And Loneliness is lonely Every particle insists Love me Love me By Imogen Wilde Header image by Esme Garlake

Why talking about queerness is good for our mental health

By Archie Fox CN: Queerness, depression, doctors,  antidepressants As a teen, I was apparently not great with metaphors, given quite how much time I spent in the very literal closet. I was fifteen when I started shutting myself in my wardrobe – doors closed, enveloped in pillows and blankets, earphones in, surrounded by dark. I … Continue reading Why talking about queerness is good for our mental health

brighton-cambridge, late at night

after a while, you warm to the wreckage. stop plucking out gray hairs and find your feet. the urge to move south subsides. no sea is needed. no slate skies stretching out from stern to stars, no late trains rumbling past. no wind, no whirl. vastness pulled out of you. high tides deferred. you forget … Continue reading brighton-cambridge, late at night

Playlist: This calls for celebration

Grooves for the new year.

oxford lye

A poem about academic spaces.

Exercise, self-care, self-harm, and me

By Urvie Pereira CN: self-harm, suicide, exercise, addiction, food I am an adrenaline addict. I crave the thrill of that buzz you get right before a big race,  or an important test.  The release of fight-or-flight chemicals allows you to push yourself far beyond your usual abilities,  and achieve your dreamed-up goals.   Exercise,  for me, … Continue reading Exercise, self-care, self-harm, and me

Excerpts From the Honesty Book

Mental states in verse.

Mental health apps: could they help you?

BY MIZ HASHIMOTO TW: depression, anxiety CN: therapy, mental health apps on phones Have you ever: Avoided a diagnosis of depression for four years because you couldn’t get a word out when you first went to see a doctor? Been recommended therapists by friends but always said you’d ‘give them a ring later’, thus putting it … Continue reading Mental health apps: could they help you?

Mental health dialogue is changing in 2017

By Micha Frazer-Carroll – Editor In Chief CN: Mention of depression, suicide, self-harm   I am so ready to talk. Like many others with experiences of mental ill health, I have been quiet about my struggles since the day they began, or only let them out in murmurs for fear of how people would react. But keeping shtum takes a … Continue reading Mental health dialogue is changing in 2017

Mental health is part of us, not all of us

Anorexia used to be my life.

Food is not a moral issue

Why narratives of dirt, cleanliness and morality surrounding food are harmful.