Roundabout Ways of Describing My Current Mental Health Situation

  • That feeling when it’s summer and all the windows are open and a big, ugly wasp has come in, and you don’t want to move because this is YOUR HOUSE and you can kind of ignore the wasp, but then it buzzes or you see its warning-striped body climbing on the curtain or table, and a stab of fear hits you. That’s how I feel when I remember just, like, who I am as a person.
    Continue reading “Roundabout Ways of Describing My Current Mental Health Situation”

Top 10 Depression Activities

  1. Go to Platt Fields Park and stare at the birds. Actually, first of all, stare at their poop, which is mixed with wet leaves and mud into the path around the pond. You need to appreciate the volume of poop before you go ahead and stare at the birds. Watch some gulls and geese having a fallout. Watch a little coot nipping across the water. Watch a massive muddy swan flop onto dry land, walk to the grass, and start eating dirt.  Continue reading “Top 10 Depression Activities”

5 Ways to Cure Your Mum’s Cancer

  1. Explain the unlikeliness of it to people. Explain it away: the lack of anyone in our big Irish family who has had cancer, the way Mum only needs two beers to get drunk and tends to stop there, the fact she has never smoked and is a healthy weight and once got told by a psychic that she would live a charmed life. Build on the charmed life part. Don’t say it out loud, but let it be understood: things like this don’t happen to people like us. Continue reading “5 Ways to Cure Your Mum’s Cancer”

Things I’m actually referring to when I write ‘I’m afraid’ on a work email

  • I’m afraid that the ghost I think lives in the 23rd floor bathroom will tell my boss I believe in it
  • I’m afraid that this will result in a bad performance review, for some reason
  • I’m afraid that adding little flourishes like ‘I’m afraid’ onto my emails is the only way I can use any of the writing skills I have
  • I’m afraid nobody is impressed by this
  • I’m afraid I can no longer blame any potential incompetency on being a child, because I am 23 and no longer get ID’d when I buy a pint and people freak out when I cry rather than looking at me with sympathy Continue reading “Things I’m actually referring to when I write ‘I’m afraid’ on a work email”

Five Unsettling Things I Found Whilst Cleaning My Room, Ranked From Least to Most Sinister

You know that bit in ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ where they have to tidy up Grimmauld Place and they almost die multiple times because of all the stuff? Yeah.


5) £70 in loose change

A very good, positive thing to find! Even though, if you dropped that seventy pounds into the big, echoey hole of debt I live in, you probably wouldn’t hear them hit the bottom.


4) Tiny, flower-shaped perfume bottles from Boots circa 2004

These moved house with me in 2007. Why? The perfume is dried up. The bottles are very small, and not particularly pretty, and Past Me engineered it so that in the year 2017 I’d have to look at them and have them, briefly, be a part of my life. They look like something from The Virgin Suicides. Continue reading “Five Unsettling Things I Found Whilst Cleaning My Room, Ranked From Least to Most Sinister”

A Collection of Top Whatever Lists I Could Write About 2016 But Won’t

Mental Illness, Ira Glass, and Me: A Love Letter to Podcasts

There’s nothing more narcissistic than anxiety. I was sixteen, and I had been to a birthday party. I had felt anxious and silly all night, a spare part, like me and everyone there were sharing this silent joke that I probably shouldn’t be there but, like, okay. Lying in bed afterwards, I was listening to Radio 4 as I tried to sleep. (Radio 4: home to The Archers, the shipping forecast, plays that feature the sound of footsteps more heavily than you’d expect.) It had been my lullaby for years – the Book at Bedtime into the news into whatever feature they had at 11pm, not boring, just reliable, polite.

So – Radio 4, me in bed, facing the wall but antsy and panicking, the kind of panic that can grow big and then fall in on itself. There was a poetry programme on. The presenter read out an email or something from a listener. He wanted, the presenter said, a certain poem to be read. It would make his day if they would read out this poem. Continue reading “Mental Illness, Ira Glass, and Me: A Love Letter to Podcasts”

10 Reasons Why I Loved Binge-Watching Every Tarantino Film and Would Do It Again If I Didn’t Have Any Responsibilities

I am the sort of person who will get some perfume as a gift, smell it once, and then decide: this is my signature scent. I will wear it every day for the rest of my life. It’s what my children will grow up thinking is the scent of home; it’s what people will smell in empty rooms after I die and get freaked out because I’m haunting them. I will be “the person who always wears [scent]”, part of my definition. This is a ridiculous way to live. I know this. It is silly and inappropriate and I will never, ever stop.

So when I watched and enjoyed Reservoir Dogs a couple of months ago, I decided I would watch every Tarantino film. I told everyone, repeatedly. It turns out that preparing for a movie marathon isn’t the same as preparing for an actual marathon, ie. no one cares. I complained about it like was something someone had forced me to do, despite no one ever giving me any more encouragement than “oh, okay!” when I told them my plans. However, even though no one asked me to do this, I finished. Even Four Rooms. I’m a hero. Continue reading “10 Reasons Why I Loved Binge-Watching Every Tarantino Film and Would Do It Again If I Didn’t Have Any Responsibilities”

“So what are you going to do with your English degree?”


  • Sit quietly and patiently by Shakespeare’s grave for two thousand years, like the little boy in A.I., until he rises again and we just have a proper laugh together, and possibly solve crimes in a sort of Mulder-and-Scully set-up
  • Become a local “character” who sits in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, drunk, telling everyone who sits nearby about that one essay I was really proud of. I will become an expert at delivering an abstract while simultaneously signalling for the bartender to fill up my glass
  • (loudly and cheerfully) “What WON’T I do?!” Continue reading ““So what are you going to do with your English degree?””

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