Tag Archives: mental health

you got your health, kiddo…

It’s early in the week, the month, the year. I’m nearly forty and still classify myself as a loser (not by choice). My parents are about to retire, and I’m living with them after being bumped out of a shit sharehouse situation (woah, alliteration much?!?!). My job network provider doesn’t think I’m a total burnout* because he sounded remotely interested in the notion of my freelance writing. The person before him – my actual consultant – was a deeply empathic human. I’m guessing this is why he’s no longer in that…’role’.

I’ll always have booze, words and cats, right? I put on  the soundtrack to Miss Sloane, by Max Richter, after having caught Richter’s name in the credits. Watching TV is not a habit that feels comfortable anymore, not while there’s so much daylight.

My folks are out wishing my gorgeous younger nephew a happy birthday, I’m here getting ready for a housesitting gig, and doing a bit of reading, and writing. These posts aren’t for personal or professional gain – it’s to remind me that other creatives exist and to pay tribute. My song might be very, very, very quiet or barely audible, but that’s okay for now.

zine: ‘Top Secret Burger’ & ‘Space Out‘ by Link Raptor Art

drink: Sailors’ Grave BrewingDown She Gose

I got two zines recently from a Brisbane-based distro because I wanted to read Shastra Deo‘s contribution in The Tundish Review #4. It’s pretty exciting to see a Fijian-Indian Brisbane-based poet having a collection published (fuck yeah!) and Junky Comics had some other fabbo offerings. I loaded up my e-cart like a good sad consumer drowning her sorrows with two teeny zines by Linkraptor because: 1. mental health, and 2. who doesn’t love burgers?!?!

You all know I’m all about the mental health crapping on (I have major depressive disorder and NO, YOGA WILL NOT FUCKING CURE IT). You may also appreciate the gentle irony that for most of my life, I struggled with very disordered eating. Hated food. This dramatically changed once my psychiatrist put me on antipsychotics. One in particular stands out as really encouraging me to love food, and that one is called quetiapine (brand name is usually ‘Seroquel’ or variations thereof. I refer to chemical names because that is the constant name they share). As someone who has never taken recreational drugs, the ‘marijuana munchies’ started to make some sort of sense once quetiapine was prescribed for me (for PTSD-type symptoms; no! yoga did not cure it so stop thinking about it!). Holy fuck. GIVE ME ALL THE CHEESEBURGERS. WITH ALL THE BEEF PATTIES. NOW. NOW. NOW.

The last page of ‘Top Secret Burger’ has the words ‘the mission of the secret burger is to give the best burger for whatever you enjoy…’ and it’s a damn pure sentiment. Everyone being entitled to the burger of their dreams – yep, vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free folks…it sounds like a dream, huh?

My cat is lying out of the sun, to my right. There is something supremely comforting, knowing that she’s alive and relaxed, and feeling safe. When I first met her, she was an anxious cat – being a rescue, and belonging to someone else. Watching her gradually ‘undo’ her nervous habits has helped me undo some of mine.

‘Space Out’ has some sentiments that remind me, or help me feel okay about not having all of my long-term memories intact (I explain a bit about that here, but please be mindful that it contains reference to medical procedures some may find disturbing). That we’re fallible because we’re human, and that is okay (well, as long as we’re not doing it on purpose).

Both the zines are like reading a hug from a stranger who is somehow familiar. Isn’t that why we choose to create, and keep on creating? Most of our economies don’t value creatives the way they should – unless they’re able to be profitable (which is totally crap, by the by – please do NOT confuse me for one of those who thinks this is a good way to be). One of the things I like about my depression is that due to seeing the lows the mind can fall to, sometimes a stranger being kind – or being themselves has this ability to make you feel like…you could be a nobody to yourself but someone who doesn’t even know you thinks you’re worth something, and they don’t look to gain from it.

That’s also what this series of posts will hopefully be about. Revelling in multidimensional living when you’ve spent twenty or so years with…the volume turned down, or not up to speed. Rejoicing in half-price boxes of choc-coated matcha ice cream confection-whatsits. Rejoicing in having a clean, dry, warm bed to sleep in. Not worrying about how much you get paid, and when that will be.

Soooo, guess who’s the dumbarse who totes picked a tinnie based on its purty label! Was expecting a watermelony gose like the one I’d tried at Bar SK but accidentally got one that tastes like seaweed and a bitter lager – which is actually the pilsner influence! And no, the seaweed isn’t gross, and – bear with me – isn’t awful! Goses are supposed to be salty anyway, and this had that savoury, clean Mex-lagerish thing happening that went well with my matcha ice cream splurge. It’s sort of sad that just as I was really digging ‘Down She Gose’, it finished!

Just as it was starting to warm up and get less lager-pilsnerish, it was GONE. Having said that, in terms of gose-country, it’s not that salty or sour, but that might make it an entry-level beer into that style (protip: now you know what to get for your beer-nerdy family member/friend/colleague etc.).

If you have a perv on their website, they have quite a few fab tinnies (the grapefruit and marigold saison sounds divine?!). Anyway, keep an open mind and palate! Seaweed-salty low-booze beer is way better than you think it’d sound. Besides, this is Melbourne, we’re used to assaulting newfangled sensations!

In acknowledging that not everyone wants to drink alcohol, a great non-alcoholic alternative might be genmaicha (Japanese roasted rice green tea). Of course it goes well with sushi, and light, subtle flavours. Hit me up with hiyayakko right now, please!

*sings* it’s gonna be alright…with Gigiiiiiiii…

*worth watching the whole thing, but from 4’24” is why I’ve hotlinked it!

2016 book and beer chums

I’m sipping a Sparkke apple cider and finally compiling a list of all the books and beer I’ve matched up so far for Froth mag (please subscribe and tell the editor – hey boss! –  I’m worth keeping to continue to natter about these two major loves in my life) in an attempt not to get too sad about how the fifty-something books I’ve read this year are languishing in boxes. You don’t even want to know about the state of 2016 and 2015’s read piles.

It is kind of nice knowing that some of this year’s book-and-beer match-ups were completed in spite of truly appalling Melbourne sharehouse situations…they seem far away in the past to be faintly amusing, and I also seem to have more than just coincidentally bad luck with junkies.

Anyway, the fucking list. It’ll include 2016 as well (most of which I can’t remember anyway because it was unadulterated shit. My psychiatrist and I were joking about that just this week!*).

issue #3 (Jan 2016)

BOOK: Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski

BEER: Doctor’s Orders (Sydney, AUS) ‘Prescription 12’

notes: am especially fond of the fact that this brewery refers to themselves as a cuckoo brewery (rather than using the racially pejorative term ‘gypsy’ to indicate roving/using no fixed premises) <3

issue #4 (Feb 2016)

BOOK: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

BEER: Mikkeller (Denmark) ‘American Dream’

notes: Froth wunderkind designer Clint (o hai!) illustrated this column and I can only think of one other Froth-related thingo that tops this (it’s a good story, honest! but later).

issue #5 (Mar 2016)

BOOK: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

BEER: Prickly Moses (Vic, AUS) chardonnay IPA

notes: Pretty sure I matched these two just so I’d have an excuse to read this novel (it’s taken this long in my lit wanker career?! don’t tell the ghosts of cultural studies/lit undergrads past!), and ‘chardonnay’ attached to the suggestion of any IPA sounded…fan-cee.

issue #6 (Apr 2016)

BOOK: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

BEER: Moon Dog (Melb, AUS) ‘Perverse Sexual Amalgam’

notes: Inventing reasons to drink ace beer by envelope-pushers-to-flavour-orgy and smash through titles on Boxall’s 1001 Books To Read Before You Die with which I have a love-hate relationship. Not even anywhere near 10% through that list, pout.

issue #7 (May 2016)

BOOK: Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

BEER: La Sirène (Melb, AUS) ‘Praline’

notes: Am a staunch believer in not knocking shit till I’ve earned the right to make an opinion on it, which sadly my partner at the time did not share. His ill-informed comments were the catalyst to making a break for greener pastures. ‘Praline’ is such a special beer to me. It was probably the only thing that got me through James’ average prose and the apparent pop cult regurgitation of kink/BDSM culture – a topic that’s pretty hard to render boring, but perhaps that’s where James’ literary finesse lies…?

issue #11 (Oct 2016)

BOOK: Carrying the World by Maxine Beneba Clarke

BEER: Bacchus (Qld, AUS) ‘Kraken’ IPA

notes: hmm…so the gaps in columns occurs for a reason – a stint dancing naked on stage with a hundred other women (!!!), a large stint in hospital straight after while my parents were overseas in Canada, then getting asked to leave the sharehouse of supremely high functioning alcoholics on the basis of what genitals I happened to be born with meaning I apparently was too emotional (unwell, yes, emotional…not quite but I can see how when surrounded by people devoid of ethics, by relative comparison, yes, I possessed emotions). My copy of Maxine’s poetry volume (which had been out of print prior to this release) is SIGNED. You have to cling onto small victories where you can get them. This was my fucking torch through those dark times.

issue #12 (Nov 2016)

BOOK: Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

BEER: Birra del Borgo (ITALY) ‘KeTo Reporter’

notes: this is a bittersweet update to have to write because while my copy of Solnit’s book is annotated TO ITS DEATH, I don’t remember much about the time I read it, or about the beer I drank to accompany – which I’d chosen because this brewery has a beer called ‘My Antonia’ which invariably is made in tribute to Willa Cather’s novel of the same name (which I’ve yet to read! but want to! I think it’s listed on Boxall’s bastard list!). I spent a lot of 2016 hospitalized for major depressive disorder, and the memory lapses are specifically due to having been prescribed quetiapine (an antipsychotic, used as a mood stabiliser, and for anxiety/PTSD-type symptoms), and voluntary unilateral electroconvulsive therapy. Look, there are perks: general anaesthetic is fucking awesome and actually knocks you out, and you don’t remember feeling woozy – it just happens.

Sorry, that all sounds way more hardcore/srs than it was supposed to, whoops. Anyway, the shining light in all of this was a beautiful long-haired cat who latched onto me while living in the Coburg high-functioning alcoholic house – Ms Fancycat Truffles de Pantaloons. I call her Fance for short. She’s literally saved my life – just by being there. If you’ve met her, or seen the photos I incessantly post on my personal Instagram account, you’ll know how ace she is and how lucky I am to be loved by her. Whenever I feel like crap, a hug from her makes things feel like they’ll be okay.

So far, she’s been right.

I swear I’ll do this year’s (2017) list soonish.

 

* however, bad mental health isn’t a joke – if you’re distressed, or know someone who is, pleasepleaseplease don’t be afraid to get help or tell someone. There’s Lifeline or Beyond Blue or CATT. If you’re reading this and you know me, or don’t and want to talk – I’m on Twitter a fair bit (really: don’t be shy to slide into my DMs!).