• Zine Reviews

    Mini Zine Review: the little zine of mindfulness

    the little zine of mindfulness
    Amber is Blue
    https://www.instagram.com/amberisblue/

    The Little Zine of Mindfulness is an A7, full colour zine with tips for what you can try when you are depressed or dissociated.

    I like a good self-care zine, but there is something really nice about a self-care mini because it’s something that I can take along with me easily anywhere. A bit of confidence and calm in my pocket wherever I go.

    This mini-zine contains five useful tips – some even new to me despite all the self-care zines that I’ve read at this point. Each tip is framed in blue. I really liked this choice because I think that, along with each being on its own page, the ‘frame’ could be something to help the reader focus on one thing at a time (something I struggle with even at the best of times).

    While simple in its nature, I think this is another handy mini to add to your collection of self-care zines.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Fully Sick, Chronically Sad

    Fully Sick, Chronically Sad
    Amber is Blue
    https://www.instagram.com/flindersstreetstation/
    http://amberisblue.bigcartel.com

    Fully Sick, Chronically Sad is a black and white comic zine with a colour cover somewhere between A5 and A6 about mental illness.

    I struggled a lot with this zine. Not so much with the zine itself but because I’ve been there – and am there still in many ways.

    In various drawings, Amber is Blue takes us through what it’s like having a mental illness and the constant struggles coming from inside and the world around us in dealing with it. Medications can be wonderful, but wonderful meds that work are often not affordable. Therapy helps, but the current system doesn’t exactly help with consistency.

    Amber is Blue doesn’t mince words when it comes to dealing with these frustrations and more. There is no mystery when it comes to how Amber is Blue really feels about these things.

    As I mentioned, I identify a lot with Amber is Blue and all of the nonsense that comes with these things. I think it’s valuable to share these experiences so people don’t feel alone. While this zine stirred up a lot of feelings in me, one of those feelings was a desire to write more about my own experiences with mental illness.

    I do feel I should mention one content warning, though, in that suicidal thoughts and dealing with suicidal thoughts are mentioned.

    There weren’t any contact details in the zine itself, but I’ve dug up some links for you if you’d like to check out more of Amber is Blue’s work. Fully Sick, Chronically Sad has a part two and three, which I’m looking forward to checking out.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health

    Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health
    Queer Marshmallow
    queer_marshmallow@riseup.net
    IG: @queermarshmallow

    Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health is a black and white… I feel like it falls under the category of perzine, but I really want to call it a ‘contemplation zine’.

    In Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health, Queer Marshmallow explores thoughts on the meaning of ‘radical vulnerability’ and how it applies within the context of mental illness. More specifically within the realms of anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder.

    I started reading this zine knowing that I liked the way ‘radical vulnerability’ sounded but also knowing that I wasn’t actually sure what it was all about. With recent events leaving me feeling particularly vulnerable, I decided it was about time to look into it.

    As much as I wanted a solid, ‘official’ definition, I like how QM started from a place of what radical vulnerability meant to them and then took it from there. At no point was there a feeling of being told what is, only personal interpretations. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think the writing could have demonstrated any more perfectly exactly what it was talking about.

    I didn’t expect to identify so strongly with this zine, but I truly did. Perhaps it’s simply from the common mental diagnoses, but I have many times asked myself the same questions QM asks. Where is the line between expressing what is going on and becoming a burden? When does honest become too honest?

    This zine isn’t a guide or a how to, but it is a beautifully vulnerable – excited but shy – exploration of feelings when it comes to opening your true self up to the world. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, pick up this zine.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Wiseblood #67

    Wiseblood 67
    Fishspit
    fuzzybunnyflatbunny@gmail.com

    In Wiseblood 67, Fishspit talks about his experiences with depression and using ECT – electroconvulsive therapy – for treatment.

    Fishspit has a writing style that isn’t for the easily offended, but he takes a different tone in this issue. I can’t help but feel for him for a number of reasons as he talks about his experiences. Right from the start, you really get a sense of the desperation to get past the depression no matter what the cost.

    I find it interesting to read people’s stories about depression and how they describe it. Fishspit describes how, for him:

    …sometimes it’s a mosquito…a small pestering depression…a tiny dark spot on the soul, but then! Oh my! It can become a gorilla! Consuming me absolutely.

    I was incredibly angry while reading one part of this, as the idiocies and aggravations of insurance companies run far and wide. What he had to go through just to get the ECT treatment gets me all kinds of frustrated with the US medical system. (I grew up in it and know what it’s like in a better system.)

    There were bright spots to be found in this zine, however, with the kind treatment from some of the nurses and doctors involved.

    Also this is different to Fishspit’s usual style, both somewhat in content but also in being one overarching piece rather than smaller pieces. I like it when people who have a series switch it up every now and again. I quite liked the change in this zine, though I will also welcome a return to the usual in the next zine (if that’s how Fishspit does things).

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: The Life and Times of Billy Roberts Issue 78

    billy-happy-mail

    The Life and Times of Billy Roberts Issue 78
    Billy
    www.iknowbilly.etsy.com

    The Life and Times of Billy Roberts Issue 78 is a single piece of paper folded in half to create four pages. It’s a reminder that zines don’t have to be gloss and colour, thick, thin, or any one thing. I find myself wishing that all my friends would create little life update zines like these so I could keep up with their lives when we can’t catch up otherwise.

    Right away I could feel Billy’s depressed mood through his words. “I’ve already written 3 versions of this newsletter and thrown them all away” isn’t a good sign. In this zine, Billy talks about the US election, dealing with full-blown depression, and finding some good things in amongst the doom and gloom. It’s a zine-ified version of a letter from a friend. Even if you aren’t friends with Billy, I feel like you could get that sort of feeling from this zine nonetheless.

    It’s hard to read about the hard times anyone is going through – friend or stranger. My heart went out to Billy, especially talking about not being able to do much more than stay still and watch television most days. I think that’s what makes it even more special that Billy is able to still talk about some happy things happening despite all the weight of depression.

    If you’ve read my reviews for a while now, you know one thing that niggles me is no contact details. When the creator leaves the reader to hunt down further reading. I’m almost willing to ignore it on this one because it might be something ‘just for friends’ anyway, but you still never know where your little creations may go, so…

    This is a zine I’m keeping not just for the reasons I like it but because it’s like keeping a letter from a penpal. It’s a zine that shows how much zines can connect people and remind us that we are all people dealing with our own struggles.

  • Happy Mail

    Happy Mail – RAK Edition

    This week, I feel very… grateful. I am always grateful for people taking the time and postage to send me things, but this week, I am especially so.

    I’ve been struggling a lot with a depression for a little while now. I’ve been good about staying positive while there has been so much chaos and strain in my personal life, but eventually I just shattered. It all became too much, and I went into that foggy, tired place that claims my mind sometimes.

    So when I rocked up to my post box this morning and found this inside, I was at a complete loss as to what it could be.

    rak-happy-mail-inside

    Someone, I don’t know who, sent me this gorgeous papercrafted envelope, well wishes for Asimov, and a sachet of chai.

    And on the inside…

    rak-happy-mail

    Along with my love for zines, I also have a love for stationery and planner type items. I also really love chai, too, which should give me some clue as to who it is, but I’m stumped.

    All I know is that this beautiful gesture means so much more than I can adequately express right now. It makes my heart happy.

    I don’t know who you are or if you’ll even see this post, but I want to say thank you nonetheless. Your timing is perfect, to say the least, and I will be sure to pass the RAK spirit on.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Anecdata 2

    anecdata-2-zine

    Anecdata 2
    Olivia M June
    Oliviaszines.tumblr.com
    www.ParadoxNowCreations.etsy.com

    24 Hour Zine Thing!

    Starting with a side note: I really like it when people mention when their zine is a 24 hour zine thing because it’s a quick and simple way to spread the word about it, but it also usually means I’m in for some fun, ‘not even the zine author expected this’ pieces.

    Misspelling Anecdata while typing this review inspired me to actually look up the definition of ‘anecdata’, and I must say that I absolutely adore when there’s a ‘not quite secret’ extra layer of meaning to the title of a zine. (See: A Visitor in Myself https://seagreenzines.com/2016/05/06/mini-zine-review-a-visitor-in-myself-2/ ) I was going to share the definition, but I’m starting to feel like that might be a spoiler-ish move, so I’ll leave it to you to Google ‘define anecdata’ if you’re so inclined.

    As I mentioned in my review of Anecdata 1, Olivia’s writing style is open to glimpsing her life but also has these strong ‘pay attention and remember’ moments. For instance, she shares some thoughts about her personal experiences with depression before launching into the reminder that depression can be about more than feeling sad. Then she gives a list of other symptoms before easily sliding back into her own experience of some of those symptoms.

    Olivia also writes about all sorts of things including pills, poetry, penpalling, and not liking chocolate. There’s also a self-sketch (sketchie?), poetry, a list, and more recommendations – this time of the science fiction and fantasy book variety.

    Though this zine is bigger than the first, it keeps the same cut and paste aesthetic that I enjoyed from the first zine.

    I must say that I’m really enjoying this zine series, and it’s one of those ones that has set me on a ‘I need to have them all in my zine collection’ path.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: There is No Relief or Release From Sorrow

    There is No Relief or Release From Sorrow Zine

    There is No Relief or Release From Sorrow
    Philip Dearest & Others
    PhilipDearest.tumblr.com

    If the name sounds familiar, Philip Dearest
    This Has All Been Too Much For Me Today, I Think I’ll Go Back to Bed, another zine of mental illness-inspired art.

    By its own description,

    There is No Relief or Release From Sorrow is an art therapy zine about depression/grief/loneliness.

    Philip has curated a number of pieces created by people expressing themselves and their experiences through words and art.

    The art is all beautiful, and sad, and heartbreaking… For me, it was a strange combination of wanting to make each and every artist feel better as well as the sad comfort of knowing that I am not alone. The choice to make the words and art white on black instead of the other way around adds to the entire feel of the zine.

    The title of this zine suggests something so hopeless, but I think the fact that this is a collaboration is, in and of itself, a hopeful thing.

    I only noticed after a few looks through that this is actually volume four, so I’m looking forward to finding volumes one through three.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: This Has All Been Too Much For Me Today, I Think I’ll Go Back to Bed

    This Has All Been Too Much For Me Today Zine

    This Has All Been Too Much For Me Today, I Think I’ll Go Back to Bed
    Philip Dearest
    PhilipDearest.tumblr.com

    I got this zine on Etsy a while back, but I can’t get back to the Etsy shop to provide the link. I have no idea what’s happening there, so I apologise to Philip Dearest.

    This Has All Been Too Much is a mini-zine that links words and art to express thoughts from the anxious and/or depressed mind. The phrases easily struck home for me, and it was a sad reminder of the things so many people go through.

    I’ll be the first to say that I can be a little dense when it comes to art, but seeing statements like, “I can’t stop thinking” fleshed out as a potted plant was a lot more interesting than what I imagine it sounds like. I like the combination of words and uncomplicated art to express mental health issues.

    The printing of this zine is intriguing as it appears to be white printed on black instead of the other way around. I fully admit that I had my nose pretty close to this zine to get a better look.

    My one hesitation with this zine is that, while it may provide a way for people to not feel so alone, the messages might further feed into a dark place. Sometimes it’s a thin line between the two things, and this zine is one of those times.

    I found This Has All Been Too Much to be a somewhat bittersweet experience, but the fact it made me feel something is a goal accomplished.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Hello My Name Is

    Hello My Name Is Zine

    Hello My Name Is: A Zine About Living With Mental Illness
    Kendy (MissMuffCake)
    www.missmuffcake.com

    Full disclosure: I contributed to this zine. 🙂

    I wasn’t sure if I should review it given that fact, but I think I’m not too biased to give an opinion that’s not influenced by my participation.

    If anything, the content itself – mental illness – makes me more biased than my participation. Hehe.

    Hello My Name Is: A Zine About Living With Mental Illness is just that. It features a collection of people who introduce themselves, their mental illnesses, and how they don’t let those mental illnesses define them.

    I feel like I am doing a disservice to the zine by summing it up like that because I know, not just from contributing or personal experience, how huge and import it can be to stand up and talk about your mental illness. That it is on paper makes no difference to the impact it has for the person sharing.

    It was lovely to read people sharing the ways they perverse. There were also differences in the way people responded to the prompt, which I found interesting. (Tell five people to do the exact same thing and you’ll still likely get variations.) I loved reading about how people ‘beat the stereotypes’ and yet there was no anger or resentment in their words.

    Aesthetically, this is a simple (no negative connotations attached to the word) with a picture and a paragraph per person. I think, however, that this is perfect for the content. The whole point of this zine (I think) is to show that people with mental illness are still people. They don’t need to be dressed up or changed for the sake of being appealing to the masses.

    Neither does this zine.

    I hope to see more of this. The shortness of responses appeals, the content appeals, that you can see the faces of the people who are introducing themselves only adds to it.

    More please. 🙂

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