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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Down the Rabbit Hole

Dear Reader, I cordially invite you all to embark on a journey with me, a journey down the rabbit hole and into a world where walls move, perceptions change and “reality” no longer exists. I welcome you to the world of a college student who lives with a severe mental illness: my world, that is. My hope is that you, reader, will find something in my stories that will make you laugh, something you connect with or that you believe someone that you love might understand. Reader, I hope you gain insight into what so many of your peers and professors, your SAs and RLCs, your friends and loved ones and possibly even you yourself, experience on a daily basis. With my words I wish to spark conversations about mental health, dialogues that approach this subject with the austerity it demands but also remember to infuse a solid dose of humor where needed. As a general note, I preface all of my stories with a disclaimer that my experiences are in no way necessarily reflective of those of others on this campus (or in the wider world, for that matter) who live with various mental illnesses. I speak only for myself and I sincerely hope that none of you confuse my stories with an attempt to generalize my experiences out to the many, many people who live with mental health problems. Additionally, the words I use to describe myself and my experiences are not necessarily applicable to others. The way I identify is never going to be exactly the same as anyone else (humans are all different! Quite the concept…) and it should never be assumed that the ways I like to describe myself are the same as the way others would themselves.  In the wise words of British disability rights activist, Lisa Egan, “It’s a person’s right to identify however the hell they want.” With that in mind, dear reader, we begin our journey down the rabbit hole. Welcome to Wonderland.

It began with an extension cord. As many a story begins, mine starts with a rather innocuous object that, through a serious of bizarre events, marked a turning point in my life. I’ve got to say, I never expected an extension cord to be such a big deal. It was one of those cords with three outlets on it, with its plain beige exterior and unremarkable manner, the cord and its outlets were the last thing I expected to herald such a major life change. 

Okay, let me back up a second. You see, the events preceding the life-changing encounter with the extension cord included a mental breakdown, a doctor’s visit and some rather unfortunate antidepressants. Medication can be extremely helpful in some instances, and in others it can make things considerably worse. My first encounter with prescription drugs fell more into the latter category … The drug that they put me on didn’t really agree with my brain and resulted in me lying in a ball on my friend’s bed talking to the previously referenced extension cord. I hit a turning point in my life when I started talking to the extension cord and named the three outlets, “Edwin, Wesley and Undecided because it doesn’t know who it is yet.” This is an exact quote, by the way—my lovely friends took the initiative to write down everything I said when I was “tripping balls on an SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, compounds typically used in antidepressants]” (that’s the technical term, in case you were wondering). Eventually I got on a better medication and things were relatively normal for a while (I say relatively because anyone who knows me knows that normal isn’t really in my vocabulary…). There’s nothing quite like talking to inanimate objects to make you realize that things are about to change. We laughed about Edwin, Wesley and Undecided but to this day, that night remains cemented in my mind as both one of the most hilarious and most terrifying moments in my life. You may question my use of the word “hilarious,” wondering to yourself, “How on earth could she find this funny?” Well, dear Reader, my answer is simple—you can laugh or you can cry and I am done crying. I choose to laugh.

The night I met Edwin, Wesley and Undecided was just the beginning of my journey into mental illness and I remain ever a wanderer through this bizarre and spectacular realm. This is your invitation, dear Reader—join me on my adventure, come down the Rabbit Hole.

Welcome to Wonderland.

I welcome your feedback! Please feel free to send your questions, comments or concerns to or if you prefer to remain anonymous, to my campus box, #4255.

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