Seven Days With Depression

Posted by Dan | Posted in Mental Health | Posted on 25-04-2014


Trigger warning: self-harm, suicidal thoughts


I’d been meaning to try out a new illness ever since the crazy times I had on the Norovirus, so when I was offered a week’s trial of depression I jumped at the opportunity. I’d never tried a mental illness before and was curious to see how it compared to the physical kind.

As only 1 in 4 people have suffered with a mental health problem I was looking forward to being part of an elite group, and had many questions about the experience. Would my illness be apparent to those around me? Would it garner sympathy like a broken leg, or make people tactfully avoid me like when I have something contagious? How would I know when it was ready? Would there be a period of feeling a little under the weather before the onslaught, or was it lurking around a corner waiting to hit me full-force?

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I Can’t Breathe

Posted by Dan | Posted in Blog, Mental Health | Posted on 20-03-2014


When a friend asked me to be his best man, this was the first thought to go through my head:1795529_530268430422636_1035407866_n

“If I say yes, that means I can’t kill myself until at least next June otherwise they’ll be really inconvenienced.”

I genuinely contemplated turning down the offer for that sole reason. I knew I could handle all the other commitments; I also had no particular plan or desire to commit suicide, but this should give you an idea of how high up the idea was on my list of possible future activities.

Although I’ve never directly attempted suicide, the thought has entered my mind more times than I suspect is healthy. It’s almost always because of my inability to let things go: I still feel guilty, ashamed and embarrassed about (barely) getting into trouble as a child; unkind comments from a decade ago still sting and resonate with chimes of overthinking and overanalysing, leading me to conclude I am spectacularly hated and deservedly so; friendships which ended abruptly haunt my dreams and paralyse my idle time with regret.

I think of my mind as a rucksack I’m forced to permanently carry. Every negative thought, every bad experience, every worry, is another rock added to my pack. There is no way to empty the rucksack, and I’m lucky if I get to set it down for a few minutes each day. It gets heavier when I’m alone and is worst of all when I lie down.

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Thailand Journal — Extract

Posted by Dan | Posted in Blog | Posted on 24-02-2014


Extract from a travel journal I kept when backpacking in the Far East in 2005. Uploaded for #RedMatter because I didn’t really have the time or money to go on a new adventure just for the sake of a blog post (sadly).


“Don’t let go – you’ll die.”

We’re crammed into a tuc-tuc; the carriage is only designed to hold six people and, as there are ten of us, I volunteer to hang off the back. I laugh politely at the driver’s warning, but as the engine chokes and wheezes into life and we reach the main road, I realise with unnerving certainty that a sweaty grip really is all that separates me from an almost certain death. My mother’s voice rings in my head: “You won’t do anything dangerous or stupid now, will you?”

We’d just blown up a cow.

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20 Reasons Ellen Page’s Coming Out Speech Matters

Posted by Dan | Posted in Misanthropy | Posted on 16-02-2014


When you surround yourself with like-minded people it can be easy to forget that not everyone thinks the same way you do. It’s one of the reasons I make a point to follow people I disagree with.

Today the internet is abuzz with talk of Ellen Page’s brilliant speech where she came out as being gay. I’ll admit that my first thought was “Why did she ever keep this a secret? She’s Ellen-frickin’-Page! It’s not like anyone would’ve judged her.”

Fortunately YouTube’s comments section was there to anchor me to reality, and serve as a stark reminder of the work which still lies ahead before we live in a world free of bigotry.

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Jesus & Mo: Interview with the Author

Posted by Dan | Posted in Censorship, Religion | Posted on 11-02-2014


[Unfamiliar with the latest Muhammad Cartoon Circus? Read this first.]

We may have circumnavigated the globe, split the atom, walked on the moon and cured polio, but the human race still faces its share of barriers. For example: it can be incredibly difficult to name a teddy bear or a pineapple, or to draw a cartoon.

Since the Jyllands-Posten fiasco in 2005, people have been very edgy when it comes to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. You’ll never find a cartoon of Muhammad in the news, and while this is justified as “avoiding offence” in most instances, you only need scratch the surface to find “…and we don’t want to be murdered” plays into an awful lot of the reasoning too.

One of the few sites to regularly flaunt this taboo is the brilliant, blasphemous and — in some countries — blocked webcomic Jesus and Mo. I was fortunate enough to get a short interview with the anonymous artist behind this controversial cartoon: Read the rest of this entry »