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EDITOR

CHELSEA ROSE EVANS

WORDS
CHELSEA ROSE EVANS
DAN WEBBER
RUDY LOEWE
EVES STRAUGHAN
CHARLOTTE ROLLIN
JAYDE MARIA
KATIE PAGGIOSI
HANNAH SLAOUTI

GRAPHICS
RENATEX
SARA JAYNE

IMAGES
CHELSEA ROSE EVANS
ZOE MCSTAY
RUDY LOEWE
I was always moody. I was always an overthinker. I
was bullied in school, for some things that were
my fault. Some things certainly werent. I would
sit in my classes in college feeling perfectly fine,
chirpy even. And then like a switch, I would feel
completely nothing. Empty, alone, like someone had
pulled the plug and all the happiness just flooded
out.

I confided in my Mother, she didnt know what to say.


My psychology teacher didnt want to over step the
mark and diagnose me with anything. I confided in
my Doctor, he told me maybe a change of scenery
will do me good and moving away for university was a
promising idea.

By the summer of 2016, I had reached my breaking


point. I was overworked. University and an
internship and a job and a broken down relationship,
all at the same time. I was tired. I went back
to a Doctor and this one listened to me. I was
immediately diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
I was placed on medication and offered contacts to
begin therapy.

Almost 12 months later and Im beginning to feel a


lot more, myself. Before things got out of control.
Im trying time off my medication and taking things
day by day.

I felt so alone for years, even after my diagnosis


the world of mental illness can seem very dark and
isolating. I never, ever want anyone to feel how I
felt. Talk to someone, seek help. It is not weak to
put your metnal health first.
There is nothing nicer than the openness and kindness of strangers. I have followed
Jayde Engledew, who lives in London and works in the music industry, across varying
social media platforms for many years now, and her honesty about her struggles with
sexuality, university and her mental health struggles has always been a breath of
fresh air. When I began the journey of creating Marina, I knew I had to speak to Jayde
and find out a little more about her. Why is she so honest? And has it ever backfired?

1. As honestly as you can, could you please describe your mental health journey?
My mental health journey, like many, has been a long rollercoaster of emotions, that
I still struggle with today. I have always been what Id call a reserved, shy, almost
scared person, but manage to conceal this quite well around loved ones. I never really
understood the goings on in my mind, until I watched Zoella on YouTube. She has been
very open about her struggles with anxiety, and it was down to her opening up about
how it makes her feel, that I started to make sense of my own mind. I finally decided
to visit a doctor in 2013, and after various back and forth I was diagnosed with GAD
(Generalised Anxiety Disorder). I refused medication for years before it started being
something I could not control anymore. Panic attacks were becoming more common,
and crippling fear of self-doubt was eating me alive. Intense feelings of fear, doom,
forbidding, the urgency to want to escape, fear of losing control, and irrational thoughts;
I finally accepted taking Citalopram in 2015. This of course did not stop my panic
attacks, and if anything, I was faced with even more intense dizziness, nausea, and
weakness. Being in an abusive relationship caused me to get in a worse state, that I
was almost physically dragged to the doctor to finally open up about my incredibly dark
thoughts and what was going on. It wasnt long until I was diagnosed with Depression
and my medication was increased. This was almost exactly a year ago, and I can only
thank myself for finding strength in slowly but surely bettering myself since then.

2. As of the start of 2017, you have over 5000 followers across a variety of online
platforms. Regarding your mental health, how do you balance honesty and privacy
with your readers/viewers? Do you often have to censor yourself?
I definitely feel like I have to censor myself online in some regards. As well as my own
personal social media platforms, I run a The 1975 fan blog which is nearing 60k
followers - that terrifies me, and is kinda why I stopped using it as often. Although the
blog is made through a love for a band, there are of course followers that are interested
in me as a person, and that can get quite overwhelming. At shows I often get recognised
for the blog and that triggers my anxiety, purely for the fear of coming across not the
same as I do online; being boring, ugly, or unintentionally coming across as rude due to
being anxious - its a bit of a vicious circle. Kind of gone a bit off track here! But yeah,
I am careful with what I say online, but at the same time I try my best to be as honest
and open as I can. No ones life is perfect and I would never want to have that perception
of myself because its not real. I struggle massively, and ill make that known, ill just
maybe not be as graphic as I could be with how I struggle.
3. You have recently announced that you have decided to stop taking your anti-
depressants. Huge congratulations! What was it that prompt this decision?
Thank you! It was something I thought about for a very long time. I tried to come off
them around May last year, but I wasnt ready. And thats okay. I beat myself up about it
at the time, feeling weak for having to go back on medication, but now I look back I know 7. On your blog you featured a guest written post from Emily Owens, in which
that really, I was strong for noticing and accepting I needed the help. When I decided to she talked honestly about her anxiety. What prompted you to temporarily give
come off them for the second time, my surroundings were a lot different. I was out of someone else your platform?
the abusive relationship, I was in a full-time job I actually really love, and I had a good When I started the blog I knew from the get-go I wanted other people to get
support network around me. I just told myself that if it didnt work this time, thats also involved. Ive run music websites in the past which also involved guest writers,
okay, but to my surprise its 4 months later and I havent touched a pill. Its something and I loved the idea of building up some kind of community. With mental health,
Im extremely proud of, but it also needs to be known that being on medication does not our symptoms can be the same but our triggers can be completely different ends
make your journey any weaker. Seriously, its so important to know that. of the spectrum. Its so, so important to understand that mental health affects
different people in different ways, and this is exactly why I started the Mental
4. You do not shy away from talking about your mental health online. Your blog, Health Awareness Project, to let anyone and everyone share their experiences
The Space Tapes, has a whole section in the header dedicated to your posts on with mental health. I personally found some kind of solace within watching
mental health. Why are you so honest about your struggles online? Zoellas YouTube videos, so I hoped I could somehow do the same one day.
I guess the simple answer is because there is still such horrendous stigma around
mental health. There are so many people that dont understand it. I literally broke up 8. Were you educated on mental health problems at school?
with a girl this year because she didnt want to even try and understand GAD and why I No, I wasnt, and its exactly that that caused me to start the Mental Health Awareness
was the way I was. I hate ignorance, but I understand that some people just dont have Project. Its no surprise that we meet people who are clueless and ignorant about
the opportunity to learn about these things. It kinda goes back to what I said about not mental health, when there is no platform for it unless you or your loved ones struggle.
wanting my life to look rosy online - I can share photos with my friends, meeting my When my grandmother was diagnosed with Dementia, I knew absolutely nothing about
favourite musicians, buying expensive makeup, but panic attacks still happen. My life is it. People are so quick to just assume mental health means youre suicidal and thats it,
still hard. I just really like honesty. but that couldnt be any further from the truth.

5. Music is clearly a huge part of your life, both professionally and personally. 9. Judging by your online posts, you have a solid group of friends. What things
Are there any artists you admire today who are honest about their mental health do they do to help your mental health?
struggles? 100%. Ive said it already but having a good support network around me was a
One of the reasons I fell in love with Matty Healy of The 1975 was because of his brutal huge key in bettering myself. When I was in my darkest place a year ago, I really
honesty. His struggle with drugs, girls, himself, and most poignantly, dealing with his isolated myself from all my loved ones, but the ones that are now my bestest
mothers Postnatal Depression. They have a song called She Lays Down which really
friends, are the ones that didnt let me push them away.
resignated with me. His mother, Denise Welch, is a well-known actress/TV personality,
but here we are learning about the deep dark depths of her drug/alcohol problem and
suicidal thoughts. Again, its the honesty I live for. Its what made me fall in love with 10. What are your ride or die self care tips?
Lady Gaga, and many of the artists Ive loved over the years. Also, as a side note, Soapy Always leave the house every single day; even if its just to walk around the block for 10
Water by Wolf Alice and Nothings Real by Shura are two songs that dip into mental minutes. Do not isolate yourself; make the effort to text people first. Remember its okay
health topics that I really admire. to ask for help; whether from your friends, family, or professionals. Pursue your hobbies;
colour, go see a band, swim, start a YouTube channel. Be productive; tidy your room,
wash your clothes. Make a playlist; fill it with all your favourite songs. Love yourself.
6. Do you think your honesty about your mental health has helped or hindered
your success online?
I mean, Id like to hope so. When I started The Space Tapes I didnt expect such a
positive response from it, which definitely inspired me to keep going and sharing as WHERE TO FIND JAYDE
much as I can, within reason!
Twitter: @ jydmra Music blog: wearenelipott.com
Instagram: @ jydmra Personal blog: thespacetapes.com
There those people you discover through social media with whom
you just click. Katie Paggiosi, known as Daydream Katie online, is
one of those people for me. An absolute sweetheart who like myself,
has struggled mentality. Katie lives in Sheffield and is a beauty and
lifestyle blogger. She struggles openly with anxiety and has been kind
enough to tell her story to Marina.

1. Could you please describe your mental health journey?


The first time I had a panic attack was when I was 17. It came out of nowhere
and still to this day I have no idea why it happened. Id say it was the scariest one
of them all because it was the first but theyre all bloody scary. Since that day,
the panic attacks escalated from every few months, to weeks, to multiple times
a day. At which point the only time I left the house was to go to work because I
absolutely *had* to. I had no social life anymore and basically lost all my friends,
either due to them being unsupportive or me pushing them away because I didnt
want to be a burden. This went on for a few years until I was 20ish and I felt at my
lowest point in life. I finally decided to pluck up the courage and book a doctors
appointment to talk about how I was feeling. Thankfully, this turned out to be one
of the best decisions I ever made. The doctor that I saw was SO understanding
and asked me how I wanted to go about things. In the end, I chose to talk to a
counsellor through the IAPT service that my doctors surgery offers. I had around
ten sessions with a lovely lady who made me realise that I wasnt silly, or weird
and that anxiety is a normal reaction to stress that so many people go through.

Fast forward another few years to 2015, and my life was going well. I was
in a happy relationship, work was good, and panic attacks were a very rare
occurrence. Unfortunately, throughout this year I was to learn that my Grandpa,
aunt and cousin would be diagnosed with terminal cancer, and they all sadly
passed away that same year. I didnt quite realise the massive impact that it had
had on me mentally at first, but after a few months I found myself constantly
worrying about my health and being absolutely terrified of having cancer. Id
notice every little different thing about my body and feel every niggle or pain. This,
for over a year, manifested itself into awful panic attacks and I couldnt shake the
idea from my mind that I was seriously ill. Last year I booked into the doctors
again and was offered the chance to speak to another IAPT counsellor. This time
around weve focused on health anxiety and, again, it has helped me massively.
Im coming to the end of these sessions now and Im feeling the most confident
Ive felt since I was 17 (Im now 25!). I didnt think that just talking to someone
and trying to make sense of the worries in my head would be so helpful but it
really is. I know that Ill never be cured of anxiety completely, but Ive learnt how
to challenge the negative thoughts and Ill always be thankful for that.
2. Do you feel that places of both work and education should recognise
mental health days? For example, in school you would be allowed a day off
for a physical problem but told to soldier on if the problem is mental.
Definitely, yes. If theres one thing that I myself have underestimated over
the years, its how draining and debilitating mental health can be. Not to
mention the actual physical symptoms which can be horrible, and I dont
think a lot of people realise that. Some days enough is enough where you
need that little break, and I think it needs to be taken a lot more seriously.

3. As of the start of 2017, you have over 3,000 followers on Instagram.


(Which I am personally obsessed with!) Does that ever get overwhelming? 6. You are always honest on Twitter if youre having a bad day. What
Why thank you! It does sometimes, yes. Ive cut down on Instagram a lot prompts you to be so honest?
recently because I realised that it was actually affecting my mental health Twitter tends to be the place where I feel most comfortable in having a good
negatively. There are all of these seemingly perfect people with their perfect old rant. The people that I follow/follow me are all really understanding and
lives and Id feel like I had to compete with that, but couldnt in the slightest, helpful, and I know some of them have similar things going on in their lives.
and Id see myself as a bit of a failure (which is absolutely ridiculous I know). I just tend to feel better after letting it all out, even if that just means a few
Dont get me wrong, Ive met some lovely people through it and its a great sweary tweets! Plus, if even one person sees my tweets and realises that
little app but sometimes, Im ashamed to admit, I get quite caught up in it all theyre not alone in having the same kind of thoughts and it helps them to
and need to take a step back. feel a bit more normal, then thats good enough for me.

4. How does your boyfriend deal with your mental health? If youre having 7. What are you ride or die self-care tips?
a bad day, are you able to be openly honest with him? The main thing that my counsellor has drilled into me is to make time to
My boyfriend is an absolute star when it comes to my mental health. He is relax. I used to whizz through so many days in a blur of stress and never
the only person that Ive ever been able to be 100% honest with about how put any time aside to just focus on myself. Now most days I make sure
Im feeling and he doesnt make me feel like Im being silly. Hes admitted that I either do a breathing exercise or muscle relaxation technique (a quick
that he doesnt understand what I go through (which I totally get, because if google will help you find out more about these). You feel a bit daft at first
you havent been through it then I dont think that you can understand) but but its amazing when you start to feel the difference in yourself.
he is always there to listen to my worries, or if Im having a really bad day Exercise is also brilliant for making you feel mentally and physically
then hes my shoulder to cry on and let it all out. He doesnt try to force me healthier. Im far from fit but Ive started doing small workouts which Ill
to do things that Im uncomfortable with, but at the same time he pushes gradually build up.
me to do things that I think I cant do (but he knows that I can). If all else fails I find that a nice, long soak in an extremely bubbly bath can do
wonders!
5. Do you think mental health is talked about enough in mainstream
media? WHERE TO FIND KATIE
I dont think it is, no, and when it is talked about there is always a negative
undertone to it. Mental health problems arent glamorous but that doesnt Twitter: @ daydreamkatie
mean that they should be swept under the rug like they dont exist, and they
Instagram: @ daydreamkatie
certainly dont make someone a bad person. So many people suffer with
Personal blog: daydreamkatie.co.uk
mental health problems every single day and, from experience, most people
speak about it like its some sort of dirty secret that should be kept private.
If the media were more open and understanding then I think it would help
people become more comfortable in speaking about their experiences,
which in turn could help someone decide to ask for the help that they need
instead of being ashamed of what they are going through.
Eves is one of my best friends. From meeting on Myspace when
we both commented on the Jonas Brothers page, to today when
were both fully feldged adults. I felt it was so important to have
someone close to me in the first issue of Marina, and amazingly Eves
was willing to open up about her mental health struggles. She is a
creative writing graduate from Liverpool John Moores University,
meaning I was so excited to read what she had come up with.

A Letter To My Younger Self by Eves Straughan

Youve always filled your head with stories of made up people,


surrounded yourself with make-believe people, and delved into worlds
that you created from just a singular object. Youve let your mind
wander which kept you occupied when your friends werent out playing
on the street. But please be careful, my Eviepeviepie because if youre
not careful, sweetie, your mind could wander to other places and make
up stories that could haunt you for years, that could stay with you,
whispering to you until youre old like Grandma Barbie.

I write to you almost twenty years your junior to advise you to stay
fascinated with the world and create happiness for yourself no matter
what other kiddies may think. Do you remember when you would
close your eyes and youd see a white room in your mind? The tallest,
thinnest black stick man would be in this room, then the moment you
focused on him, hed run at you and the emptiness would fill up with
the man multiplying his body mass until you were squeezed out the
room? Im here to tell you sweetie, you have nothing to worry about.
The minute you see that man, open your eyes, think of something
beautiful; think of something that makes you happen and he will go
away. Otherwise you might find this man lurking behind your eyelids
every time you close them.
When you grow up, sweetie, I want to warn you of boys and self-worth.
Keep your standards high, stay picky and never let those rascals take
away your innocence. I beg you to get lost in something you love, stay
true to your beliefs and dont let those mean boys hurt you. Theyll
come along, trick you and I want you to tell them to go away because
they wont bring you happiness until the one you belong with shows
you kindness. Youll read about those naughty boys in books and little
girls following after them even though mummy says no, but I promise
you, please dont go near them. Naughty boys are naughty for a reason.

These naughty boys will continue to hurt you long after they have said
goodbye. I write to you as an adult all tall and scary (to you, at least)
and I pray you do these things for me. Stay wild, carefree, innocent, and
lost in your magical worlds because those naughty boys tricked me
and now that thin stick man haunts me in my mind, except hes cleverer
now. He tells me to worry about everything; he tells me I couldnt leave
my home; he tells me other people are betterer than me; he tells me
being alone is betterer than having friends; he tells me to scream when
I cant see past the mass of his body mass. Please, sweetie, these
naughty boys that trick you will cause you more harm to your innocent
little head that I pray youll listen to me when I say; ignore the thin stick
man in your mind, ignore him when he says youre better off inside and
alone, and ignore those trickster boys when they promise you the world
because you belong with someone, you just have to wait.

Love yourself and remain care-free and I promise youll never have to
hear from me again.
Every once in a while, someone will surprise you. Honesty is
powerful. When Hannah Slaouti, a Fashion Communication and
Promotion student at Nottingham Trent (along with myself) compiled
an emotional and honest Facebook status about her recovery from
an eating disorder, I was stunned. She was raw, frank and just told
her story. Her bravery is one I hope will inspire others, and I am so
honoured she was able to tell Marina about her journey.

1. Youve recently opened up about your battle with bulimia and from
this, depression and anxiety. What drove you to this revelation?
Erm, the revelation was a long time coming really and it took me ages to
get there. I suppose I went through a lot of stages without even realising.
I remember when I used to lie and hide the bulimia at whatever cost and
gradually over the 4/5 years I have felt that I can trust maybe one more
person, then another, then another etc. until it got to the point where I just
wanted out of being under the control of the illness so much that I wanted to
be open about it to everyone. For myself and closure but also for others who
would read it and relate to it and would potentially make the same step. So I
suppose the revelation came about through my increase of support and the
positives that I realised this brought over time.

2. In your own words, what brought about a bad relationship with


food?
The bad relationship with food really crept upon me, I have always been a
sport girl and I had an operation on my knee meaning I was out for a while
and I guess I put on a bit more weight than I would usually carry. This was at
the same time as my dad moving away to a different country and the break-
up of a long term relationship of mine which I dont connect to the illness
but I suppose it should be mentioned. When I was able to go back to sport
I started exercising more and more and eating healthier then eventually
eating less and less and was losing weight quickly. Throwing up started
off as now and then to maintain the weight loss I suppose but ended up
completely spiralling into something that I had absolutely no control over.
I then developed a warped view of my body that was completely incorrect
and was getting more severely underweight so it was a constant battle of
periods of binging and being sick followed by periods of starvation.
When I actually got the help after waiting I was treated really well and the
people I saw were always very caring. It just wasnt for me, I kind of knew
3. You discussed this in your Facebook status, but just to elaborate. How do what I needed to do to get better but it seemed impossible and I thought it
you feel mental health is handled in 2017? Why cant we discuss it openly? would never happen in all reality. I kept trying though and then something
Mental health is still a massive massive taboo. I totally get why and it would just clicked for me to finally stand up to the illness which is why I would love
be idiotic to try and pretend like its easy to talk about because its absolutely people to know that it is always possible to defeat - I still have a way to go
not. It is still to this day the hardest thing sometimes for me to discuss without as well, trust me, so it honestly takes time.
getting emotional because it really brings a lot of things to the surface.
However, I also think that the main way out is conversing about it so that
others know they shouldnt be ashamed and also so that the individual who
6. Were you educated on mental illness at school?
is talking about it can realise that there is absolutely no judgement. The more I dont remember being educated much at all on mental illness but Im not
people unite and help each other the easier it will get for people to come out sure if I remember. Maybe we did a little but it obviously wasnt much for me
and be honest and I think that there is still a long way to go but that we are to not really know now. I think the main thing is teaching the severity of it
getting there. There also isnt much help around for mental health and when and how it can snowball and how to notice it and stop it early on if you think
there is there are either massive waiting lists or its expensive. it is happening to you. I was so naive and thought that I had control over
something which ended up having the utmost control over me so I thin
4. Quite a few professionals have concluded that we are much more k the topic of it being taught in schools is a massive one to bring up.
susceptible to mental illness nowadays, than our grandparents generation.
What do you feel are the societal pressures faced by young people in 2017? 7. If you could tell your younger self one thing about your mental
Thats a big question because I believe there are so many. We scroll through health journey, what would it be?
social media for an endless amount of time a day and are constantly sold to Oh god, so much. I would tell myself to look at myself in the way that
us what the perfect lifestyle is and its all through visuals, its through what I see others. Because at no point would I ever judge anyone and see
we see and then when we look at ourselves it makes us think we arent good
anyone in a particular light because of their appearance, yet for myself,
enough. People curate their lives on Instagram and sell you their life at its
I was my harshest critic. And I think thats often the case, but we need
best, perfection in a square. People tend not to show the days that they are
down or are having a hard time and we forget that when we are looking at to love ourselves just as much as we love our friends and family and
other peoples profiles. Its unrealistic and can be extremely dangerous in my take care of both our physical and mental health in doing so.
eyes. There is a girl I follow on Instagram called Hannah Darvas who is open
about her struggle with bulimia and I find her very inspirational because she 8. What do you do for self-care?
talks about the bad days as well as the good - that is so rare. We are also I still play sport regularly, but because they are my hobbies like they
very pressured to become successful and that really ends up becoming more always have been instead of forcing myself to go to the gym when
important than our happiness. I didnt want to and I dont over exercise like before. I eat quite well
because I enjoy basically every type of food and its nice to be eating
5. Have you ever seeked help from professionals regarding your mental
regular meals and get hungry at normal times again and also allow
health and/or bulimia? If so, how were you treated?
I have seeked professional help yes, I was put on waiting lists for an extremely
myself to have treats. I go out a lot with my mates but thats always
long time and it was at a point where I was at my worst binging and being been the case and maybe why I could hide the bulimia so well
sick sometimes up to 6/7 times in the night and needed help quite badly. I beforehand, I always stayed quite social and pretended everything was
didnt find it that useful and I have also seeked help at university which also fine. But yeah, I basically do whatever I want to for my own enjoyment
didnt help for me but I dont want to paint the picture that that is the case for instead of feeling like I have to and thats what I think I do for self-care.
everyone at all.
WHERE TO FIND HANNAH

Facebook: facebook.com/hannah.slaouti Instagram: @ hanslaouts


I was lucky enough to visit Tokyo in February 2017, and the entire city was an
overload to my senses. Everything required a double take to fully understand
what you were seeing/hearing. The streets were loud and there was so much
neon. The billboards sang to you and everyone was just beautiful. Well dressed,
well groomed. Japan really is in its own little world and it is utterly magical.
They do not shy away from their idea of beauty. Drug stores are adorned with
The men were hailed as heroes, dying for their country with nationalism and
products to tighten, lighten and strengthen skin. There were strips of tape
pride. This attitude of taking responsibility for ones actions is rife in Japan, so the
to open eyes, to give a more Western look. Strangest of them all, was an
act of suicide is seen differently by many Japanese people than in the West.
underground room full of photo booths. Around 20 big booths filled this long
The attitude of conformity and fitting into a box, being a little wheel in a big
room and excited Japanese girls bustled from one to another. These machines
machine has left the Japanese people with little room for expression of their
made your skin lighter, your eyes brighter and give you an overall, more flawless
feelings and room to vent. Young people are left stifled and forced to bottle
appearance. A day out in the West may involve food and a cinema trip, for
up their negative feelings with immense fear of being different. Mental illness
these girls it was food and then transforming themselves into Japans ideal babe.
stigma in Japan is rife. Weirdness is vastly shunned upon, which sounds insane to
Also, the clothes are tiny. Seriously, if you are a larger person just dont even try
a Westerner since the country screams weird and unique. But if it isnt normal or
to pick up some cool threads in Japan - which is soul crushing as the style there is
cool in Japan, it is not accepted.
so enviable and unique. The vintage shops in Harajuku! Oh, the heartbreak when I
The state of mental illness healthcare in Japan is shocking. The World Health
couldnt stuff my thunder thighs into anything.
Organisation explicitly states The majority of primary health care doctors and
I did wonder how all this perfection could affect the mentality of the Japanese
nurses have not received official in-service training on mental health within the
people. In all honesty, I had no clue about mental health statistics over there.
last five years. Officially approved manuals on the management and treatment
Were they generally a happy people? Or did societies expectations weigh them
of mental disorders are not available in the majority of primary health care
down at all? What I discovered was shocking.
clinics. Official referral procedures for referring persons from primary care to
According to an article from the BBC, depression was not officially recognised
secondary/tertiary care exist. In contrast, referral procedures from tertiary/
in Japan until the late 1990s. Up until the late 1990s in Japan, depression
secondary care to primary care do not exist.
was a word rarely heard outside psychiatric circles. Some claimed this was
Poor care and an inability to express ones self means that the mental illness
because people in Japan simply did not suffer depression. They found ways to
crisis in Japan will only get worse unless intense change is made. Readily available,
accommodate these feelings while somehow carrying on with life. And they
trained practitioners. A safe place for young people to express themselves
gave low moods aesthetic expression - in art, in film, in the enjoyment of cherry
without fear of ridicule.
blossom and their fleeting beauty.
Japan is amazing place. The culture is rich, the landscape is vast and varied. The
Japans suicide rate is not the highest in the developed world, but it is 3 times
people are kind to strangers, but not so much to their own people.
that of the UK. In 2014, more than 25,000 people took their own lives. The
majority being men. Suicide is now the biggest killer of men aged 24-44 in Japan.
The country has almost no signs of Christianity, therefore they do not see suicide
as a sin. In history, suicide was seen a noble act of responsibility. The kamikaze
pilots of the second world war were sent by Japanese officials to suicide bomb
American war ships. This was the first time the Japanese used such a tactic in war.
To me, Charlotte Rollin appears like a fairy. A petite, glittery and sweet
fairy. But this girl has depth behind her bright pink, shiny shoes. Charlotte
is a blogger, YouTuber and Fashion Communication and Promotion
student at Huddersfield University. Her social media footprint is one of
heavy honesty. After admiring her for a long while now, I was so excited
when Charlotte gave her time to answer some questions for Marina about
her struggles with anxiety and anorexia.

1.Could you please describe your mental health journey?


Goodness me I could write a book on it! In short, I have always been a
relatively shy and introverted person so I suppose the signs of anxiety had
existed for a long time prior to truly even knowing what mental health was.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled in social situations as well
as putting myself out there and even doing simple things like talking to
family on the phone or ordering food in a restaurant. My anxiety diagnosis
only came along after other mental health problems made themselves
evident, and I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa at the age of 15. It was
only through therapy for my eating disorder that I understood I was also
suffering with anxiety, with both of my mental illnesses really fluctuating in
terms of the degree to which they affect me. I feel as though Ive suffered
with periods of depression also, although have never had a formal diagnosis
and is definitely not something that impacts my life on a daily basis. My
mental health currently is stable. I wouldnt say its good nor bad, but its
definitely been a lot more manageable than in previous periods of my life,
and in some aspects it has definitely improved!

2. As of the start of 2017, you have almost 6000 followers across a variety
of online platforms. Regarding your mental health, how do you balance
honesty and privacy with your readers/viewers? Do you often have to
censor yourself?
I used to be far more open about my mental health online, and its only really
been in the last 6 months or so that Ive really begun to censor what I post,
as its been drilled into me at university that employers are more likely than
ever to check social media platforms when you apply for jobs. I try not to
censor myself too much, because I think its really important to be open
about subjects like mental health and over the years Ive had hundreds of
messages, tweets and comments saying that others resonate with what Im
saying or messages of support and love which I think is really important. I
suppose I just tweet about my mental health in a different, and perhaps less
vulnerable way than I have done in the past.
I dont really worry about the privacy aspect of oversharing, because I Recently a friend of mine applied for a job, but during the time it took between her
think the beauty of social media is that you can be so open and spark interview and beginning work, her mental health took a downward spiral, to the
conversations that are really valuable between those you dont even know, point that she felt she wasnt well enough to be managing uni and a job. When the
I guess its more of a professionalism aspect I worry for now and that the employer called her to tell her the hours she would be working, my friend informed
weaknesses that come along with mental health problems might cause them that she didnt feel comfortable committing to a job now that she was in a
problems when applying for jobs and internships. different place mentally, but was completely attacked by the manager who told
her to not apply for any roles in the future and that she had to come in and work
those shifts because she had already done the rota. Its attitudes like this that
3. Do you think the surge in blogging and social media in the last few make people afraid to apply for jobs or speak out about mental health, because
years have helped or hindered the awareness of mental health? so often its completely dismissed or treated in a way thats not compassionate! If
I think helped, definitely! I suppose to some extent a lot of glamourising my friend had broken her leg and was unable to work, it would have been handled
occurs when it comes to mental illness, but I think that comes along with completely differently!
most things that obtain a lot of coverage in todays world. I think when
it comes to blogging, the relatable big sister role that can be created by 6. Do you feel it is easy to openly discuss your mental health with friends?
people sharing their experiences and offering advice is hugely helpful and This really depends for me on which friend I would be talking to! Some of my
such an important resource for young people today! Mental health can still friends will openly discuss their mental health problems with me which I find
be such a taboo so I think coverage of it is hugely important, but even more really reassuring and gives me the confidence to open up about my own struggles
because I know theyre more likely to understand. The majority of my friends
so from an industry like blogging which is honest and without an agenda!
however dont really suffer with any mental health problems and so I never really
mention anything Im going through unless I really have to, purely because I feel
4. Where do you personally go for self-care tips? like they wouldnt understand and I almost feel a bit embarrassed, which is so
I struggle with self-care probably more than I should, especially because silly. I think having friends to support you is really important, so even though
its so easy and important! I would say YouTube and the blogging industry I might not openly discuss my struggles with some of my friends, they are all
is where I go for tips regarding most things, but the internet in general is aware of my situation and I know would support me 100% if I ever did confide in
such an amazing resource that I take for granted a lot of the time. I love them!
videos like evening or pamper routines because they really remind me how
important taking time for yourself to do a face mask, have a bath and get 7. Have you ever sought help from professionals regarding your mental health?
lost on Netflix is. Its really easy to overlook how self-care can impact your If so, how were you treated?
mental health, and I know personally when Im super stressed and dont look Yes. A lot of those memories I have totally blocked out because I was in such a
after myself properly, my mental health can really suffer as a result. difficult place at the time that my brain wasnt fully functioning, but also it was
probably the hardest thing my family and I had to go through. When my problems
with eating first arose and I was forced to make a GP visit with my mum, I
5. Do you feel that places of both work and education should was subsequently transferred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health
recognise mental health days? For example, in school you would be Services) which after one long session with a number of psychologists and
allowed a day off for a physical problem but told to soldier on if the trainee mental health professionals behind a screen (which further added to my
problem is mental. nerves), I was given the diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa in the most abrupt way.
Absolutely!!! I think its ridiculous in 2017 that some people are STILL There was no compassion from those that worked there and the whole process
struggling to get their heads around mental health and how it is completely felt clinical and left me in a state of disbelief that I was actually suffering from an
equal with a physical problem in regard to the impact it can have. eating disorder.
Particularly in the workplace and in education, employers and educators
should definitely be working to improve the attitudes and systems in place
for when someone is suffering mentally because it can really make things
spiral out of control if theyre not taken seriously.
I felt as though there was no way that in that one session those strangers
could analyse me to such an extent that such a label would become mine and
something so controlling in my life. The consequent sessions with a dietician and
psychologist still left me alienated, as I felt more so that no attention was being
paid to me obvious distress and discomfort with eating, and instead the focus
was purely on gaining weight as quickly as possible with no attention being given
to the underlying issues of why this disorder had become part of my life. The
lack of concern for what was happening inside my head was no doubt to blame
when I began to gain weight as a way of being discharged from the clinic, which For me, I rarely skipped meals, and now eat three meals a day, including
of course happened far too soon as I simply told them I was feeling better which snacks and love eating at restaurants. That doesnt make me less of a
combined with the slight weight gain was enough to convince them. The lack sufferer of the illness, but its a version of it that is never shown in the media.
of concern for me as a child suffering immensely is distressing to think back to, I suppose Ive been suffering and taking each day as it comes for many
and it seemed the aim was to fix me as quickly as possible, in order to bring in years now, not reaching the extremes of hospitalisation, but maintaining
others from the never ending waiting list. Upon relapsing a few months later, my a BMI that is underweight and potentially causing me long term harm.
parents took me back to the clinic where I was then referred to the Adult Services
Because I look normal in size, people arent aware of my eating disorder
mental health department as I was approaching the age of 17. It seems strange
unless I have explicitly confided in them, and not fitting the norm of what my
to me that I was still so young, yet thrust into the adult services section of the
NHS. Despite my concerns, my experience there was far better. I got along with
illness is perceived as is definitely something I struggle with. I think this is an
my therapist and felt she had genuine concern towards me and my thought area the education of mental health has to be changed.
processes. She explained to me that I wasnt crazy, and that all the feelings I
was experiencing had a scientific explanation and dozens of research studies 9. If you could tell your younger self one thing about your mental
to explain them. It was a shame that I only had sessions with this particular health journey, what would it be?
therapist for 5 months or so, as I was soon to be leaving for university and she To stand up for myself. In the early days of my diagnosis I really dont feel
was heading back to university to complete her masters degree. During my time I was treated with respect or care as a 15-year-old who felt extremely
with her, I made little if not no progress in weight gain, but I did feel a sense of misunderstood. I wish I had the courage at that time to fully explain how I
support and comfort under her care that I wonder would have helped me if we felt, and express that I didnt feel those professionals had my best interests
had both been available to meet for longer. When I moved to university I decided at heart. In terms of my journey personally, I think I would try to tell myself
not to seek further help after feeling disheartened that my previous efforts hadnt
that things DO get better. Despite still struggling now, the place Im in
resulted in any weight gain, and I suppose that takes me up to the present day.
mentally is a complete transformation from my early days of suffering
8. Were you educated on mental health problems at school?
and I think it would have been so important to know I wouldnt always be
My memory of any education on mental health is faint, and I feel if we had been struggling to the extreme that I was.
informed on the issue it was only reinforcing the stereotypes of mental illnesses
WHERE TO FIND CHARLOTTE
rather than speaking on the variety of symptoms and experiences different
individuals have. Anorexia in particular is often shown in a skewed light. Although
YouTube: youtube.com/charlottesweb
of course it is a restrictive illness, its often portrayed as young girls not eating Instagram: @ _charlottesweb Blog: charlottesweb8.blogspot.com
for days or weeks at a time and ending up being hospitalised as a result. For me,
I rarely skipped meals, and now eat three meals a day, including snacks and love
eating at restaurants. That doesnt make me less of a sufferer of the illness, but
its a version of it that is never shown in the media.
The idea of mental self care didnt occur to me until
my late teens, when YouTubers I watched suddenly
began harping on about mental health days. At this
time, I was undiagnosed and a slave to my A Levels.
My teachers werent joking when they claimed that A
Levels were the hardest things you do.
Until that point, self care to me was making sure
I was washing my hair often enough, eating my
vegetables and maybe using a face mask once in a blue
moon. But treating my mind as one would my body was a
revelation to me.

Self care is so, so important. And its often over


looked. We are a society of do-ers. Moving from one
job to another, one project to another. One social
circle to another. Never have we been more busy. And
within an instant, taking time for ourselves goes
right to the bottom of our priority list.

I know the feeling. As I write this, Im juggling


a full time job, trying to complete my university
dissertation as well as making Marina herself. I
have a (somehow) patient boyfriend and friends and
family I never see. Half of the time, taking a shower
requires a full scan of my Google calendar to find a
spare minute.

So when you do find a place that not only puts


your body at ease but your mind, its an absolute
blessing. Here are a few of my favourite places to
venture for self care, in three of the cities I love.
Maybe itll help someone?
FUNCHAL
PORTUGAL

Granted, this paradise of self care does require a


plane if youre further afield. But I couldnt not
mention it when thinking of my favourite places of
tranquility.

Funchal is the capital of Portugals region of


Madeira. It also happens to be the childhood home
of Cristiano Ronaldo, so youll have to get past
the museum, all of the stickers and posters of him
(theres quite a few). But once you do get past it,
what you see is a varied and stunning island.

When your mind is cloudy, there is nothing like


lying on Funchals lido right by the sea and hearing
the waves. It was a godsend to me back in Summer
2016.

The marina so tranquil, the sound of seagulls helps


to clear your mind. It definitely helped inspire the
name of this zine.

And if for whatever reason you start to feel


homesick, there is a Pizza Hut just 5 minutes from
the marina. Happy days.
WOLLATON HALL
NOTTINGHAM

I dont know how it is for you, but after a while


big cities give me such a headache. London, for
example. Whilst amazing and inspiring and a giant
sensory overload, after a few days it is too much.
My eyes hurt, my ears hurt, my head hurts.

Wollaton is not a hidden gem in Nottingham. It is


a giant hall surrounding by acres and acres of
grassland and a lake. It is be no means, subtle. But
in a sunny day in Spring, it is absolutely magical.

The idylic setting and closeness with the wildlife


means your mind for once, can completely shut off.
Its an amazing place for self reflection, reading in
the sunshine or just a good run around if that helps
you unwind.

For the Nottingham born and bred, the suggestion


of Wollaton Hall is no suprise. But its definitely
worth the travel if coming from afar. Bring a book,
some headphones, or a friend and indulge in a
complete you day.
CHERRY REDS
BIRMINGHAM, JOHN BRIGHT ST

In March 2015, I was unbelivably stressed. My mental


health was at an alltime low and to be honest, I
just needed my parents and a home cooked meal. So I
packed a bag and headed back home to Birmingham for
a few days.

Nustled away on the corner of John Bright Street,


not far from New Street Station, is Cherry Reds. The
comfy sofas, endless supply of different varieties
of tea and the food. Oh, the food. It was exactly
what I needed and Ive never been more grateful for
a cafe.

There are an array of magazines for your disposal.


Good ones, by the way. Not the half done crossword
puzzles from 1998 you find in doctors waiting rooms.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting. The staff are


so friendly, and if youre ever in a pickle and just
need an afternoon to yourself, I cannot recommend
them enough.
I visited a poetry event in Nottingham in December 2016. It was
my first spoken word event and I was truly captivated. One of the
incredible performers was Dan Webber. His explicit honesty about
Grindr, mental health and relationships was so inspiring. I had to
speak to him after his performance.

1. Could you please briefly explain your mental health journey?

Ive struggled with confidence and anxiety issues for a number of years, and
have time off work because of it, its unfortunate but there seems to be a
correlation between creative people and mental health concerns.

2. What drew you into performing spoken word poetry?

Ive been writing for theatre for a number of years and have included poetry
and beat poetry in a number of my works, heavily influenced by the wit and
rhyming style of Tim Minchin and the rawness and wisdom of Bill Hicks .
Clich as it sounds I started writing spoken word seriously after a break up
just over two years ago which greatly affected my mental health, I am a big
believer in poetry being therapy and found writing down experiences and
memories a great way of re-evaluating situations and making sense of the
word.

3. Do you ever get nervous before a performance?

Extremely, nerves mean you give a damn about the performance, in my


opinion if youre not nervous that means you dont care about what youre
doing if youre not nervous get off the stage!

4. Have you ever had a bad experience on stage?

Yes! To be honest every performer has, I was once stopped mid-set


because the organiser didnt like the content of my poems and recently got
introduced to the audience as Dan Webster not Dan Webber, and was called
Dan Webster for the rest of the gig.
The Sounds of the City by Dan Webber

When chaos reigns down


and you drown in the sound of the city
Take a second,
Learnt to reflect and remember
5. Were you educated on mental health at school? To ground yourself
Breathe deeply
Not that I remember, if I was it wasnt enough. Repeat as necessary
Yes, things are scary
And unexpected
6. How do you think mental health is handled in 2017? Do you think
Undetected curveballs fall constantly
its becoming accepted as a normality or is it still a taboo? But honestly if life were a straight line and you were always on time
You wouldnt find half the answers to the questions
Its not a taboo as things are getting better but its still a massive issue Or the people you have learned so much from
some people and organisations struggle to talk about, we are moving You are not the only one who struggles,
forward but we still have a hell of a long way to go We are all weighed down by our own rubble
Chained to our own boulders
7. Do you feel that places of both work and education should Yet we silently solider on
Not wanting to be a burden
recognize mental health days? For example, in school you would be
But I am certain people care about you
allowed a day off for a physical problem but told to soldier on if the And should you choose to,
problem is mental. And believe me you should choose to,
Tell them and they will listen
I think both work and education should recognise mental health days, its And care
just as important if not more so and can be just as devastating and crippling And support
as a physical injury. For we are the human race and this is what we do best
There is no test to fail, no right or wrong
Pour your favourite drink and put on your favourite song
WHERE TO FIND DAN Take that second
Learn to reflect
Facebook: facebook.com/DanWebberSpokenWord Never second guess
Email: dan@furthestfromthesea.co.uk You are blessed, simply by just being here
The alternative is a lot less attractive
Remember that.
Some good people didnt make it this far
Where you are and who you are is where you are supposed to be
I believe that whole heartily
Things will get better
Just you wait and see
When looking for past examples for how mental health in handled
in print media, I came across Bad Therapy, Rad Therapy by Rudy
Loewe. Rudy, who is non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns,
displayed an incredible use of honesty when discussing the often-
poor side to therapy was so refreshing. I had to speak to them to
figure out their history and where the inspiration for the zine came
from.

1. Can you please describe your mental health journey?

My mental health journey, like many peoples, has been very messy and
linked with other parts of my life. So its difficult to lay it out in a linear way.
What is much more possible is to talk about the way that I had no means
to articulate my experiences and throughout the last five years especially,
I have gained the language and capacity to express myself. Partly this has
been through accessing amazing therapy that created a nurturing space
for me to heal. But also, the work that I have done with my community
concerning the marginalisation and microaggressions we experience as
queer/ trans/ non binary people of colour.

2. In your zine, Bad Therapy Rad Therapy, your comic commissioned


by The Nib and your Mental Health Venn Diagram for the Perception
exhibition, you use your art to be brutally honest with mental health.
What its like to suffer with it and the trials sufferers have to go
through. What prompted you to be so honest?

I decided that I needed to be honest in my work because the


re seemed to be a conversation missing. One surrounding people of colour
and the nuances of how this may differ or be expressed when compared
with white people. I wanted to find ways to talk about what happens when
intersections such as race, class, gender and sexuality overlap with mental
health. Ive also always wanted my work to be a resource for other people.
Something that can make people think about their own experiences or what
they are looking for or need. I completely understand why people of colour
would be mistrusting of the health care system, when so many people of
colour are criminalised and institutionalised against their will. So it has been
important for me to talk about it from a first person perspective, rather than
3. As of the start of 2017, you have almost 2000 followers across a
variety of online platforms. Regarding your mental health, how do you
balance honesty and privacy with your followers? Do you often have
to censor yourself? 5. You define yourself as non-binary and prefer to use They/Them
pronouns. Have you ever faced any stigma for this and has the
I am honestly surprised to even hear that figure, it actually makes me feel journey to acceptance effected your mental health in anyway?
a little bit anxious! I am honest in my work because I think its important to
be candid. Being blunt goes against everything I learned from middle class Although I am non-binary and am very open about this, I am predominantly
surroundings and institutions. So, I think its important to feel free to do the read as a cis woman (even after correcting people about this). But because
opposite and just say what I want to say. of this it means that most of the time I am at a low risk for facing violence
But outside of my work (which might be my artwork, public speaking or based on this. I have met many people who dont understand what it is,
facilitating events), I dont share much about my mental health. It feels very dont believe in it or think its a joke. Of course, it effects my mental health,
different to talk about my mental health outside of the context of my work. but there are far more transgender folks (especially trans women of colour)
My intention is to normalise mental health (because everyone has it). But who face a much bigger stigma and higher levels of violence and murder.
that doesnt mean that I want to talk to just about anyone about my mental To be a non-binary/ trans person is to know that in being the realest version
health, theres lots of reasons why it might not be safe to. of yourself, you might be exposed to violence from other people. Theres no
way that couldnt have an effect on a persons mental health.
4. Race and colour often plays a part of your work. Mental health and
race are not often connected but do you believe there is a connection? 6. Were you educated on mental health problems at school?
Can two people of different races, experience different mental health
issues with their race playing a part in this? We didnt learn about mental health at school. I learned about it vicariously
from having an older sister, from talking with friends and from watching
Racism, just like other forms of oppression are completely entwined with Hollyoaks. At least at our school it wasnt remotely a consideration, despite
peoples mental health. The separation of mental health and oppression the fact that there were large numbers of kids at my school with mental
limits a real dialogue on the ways that oppression effect peoples lives health issues causing them significant distress.
on a daily basis. If people are facing a very real threat of violence, I think education on mental health is lacking in general, there was much
microaggressions, being criminalised, all of these things are going to have more of a focus on sexual health and even that was limited.
an effect on someones mental health.
But as well as this, the way that different peoples mental health is then 7. Are there any artists who also discuss mental health and taboo
treated varies. The criminalisation of working class men of colour means subjects that you admire?
that they are at a high risk of being institutionalised when expressing mental
health issues. Basically, the way that we are perceived in the world then Bobby Baker, Doll Hospital Journal, Raju Rage, Ellen Forney
effects the treatment that we receive. Doctors and healthcare professionals
arent exempt from being prejudiced/ racist/ sexist/ etc. And when we have
a healthcare system that doesnt acknowledge that, then it goes unnoticed.