(trigger warning: self-harm) I called the hospital’s crisis team today. The burden was too heavy, the path too long. “How can we help you?” she said, and I said, “I just wondered what services might be available to me.” She was bemused at first. I was too lucid, too coherent. A person like that couldn’t be in crisis. “What do you mean?” she said, and I told her I was just so tired, that I had been depressed for so many years but that this time, this week, right now, my bones had come loose from my tendons. “Okay then,”…

This is a little bit I wrote this morning but have decided not to include in the novel, and instead to extrapolate into its own longer story. For five days we sent our bodies into the world without us. On the first day they sat in a windowless chapel. Other people were there, parents and friends, and our bodies told us afterwards of the way the carpet was torn in places, and that in a week or so we should expect to receive a wooden box in the post. Had the bodies given them our correct address? Our new one,…

When I was eleven I watched a brothel be raided. It was one of two brothels from my childhood. The first was a neighbour’s duplex, a tiny carpeted place in which I babysat her children. She didn’t fit my teenage view of sex work: she was thin and plain, with a hissing, scraping voice. She worked late at night while her husband was away, but what I mostly remember about her was that she tried to steal my cat. The brothel that was raided was the other kind: a ramshackle house, partially lost to time, bedded into a big city…

You may have seen this piece in today’s The Age, wherein we discover that, unsurprisingly, a large percentage of the population either doesn’t understand what anxiety means, or actively denies its existence. Apparently, 50% of people think that anxiety is a personality trait. You’re a nervous person. You need to get it together. Miki Perkins has interviewed a person with anxiety and this person has said, “yes, I have anxiety”, and Beyond Blue has said, “yes, anxiety exists.” Job done! Now everyone knows about anxiety. If only it were as simple as stamping our feet and telling them it is real,…

Late last week, I had something of an epiphany. Epiphanies for me are quite small. They are things like, “the supermarket is just like an indoors version of the outside, but with biscuits, which you love” and “you are probably not going to fly off the world and into space unless something drastic happens with poles and space-time”. My recent epiphany was just that I could probably drive to my kids’ other house without freaking out. I haven’t been there for months, due to craziness and unwillingness. And look, mostly unwillingness. But my ex-husband has broken his collarbone and can’t drive,…