By Augie Burg '17
The true irony of this article is that I’m having trouble working on it thanks to executive dysfunction.
Executive Dysfunction is best known as a symptom of autism and ADHD, but it also features in depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, OCD (which, by the way, is also an anxiety disorder), personality disorders, etc; a whole myriad of mental illnesses and disabilities can result in executive dysfunction.
By Danielle Brown '18
It was well-known throughout middle and high school that I did not enjoy hugging. I played it off as being mean or being a misanthrope so that people would catch the hint. Don’t touch me. I don’t like it and there’s never a reason I could be given that would justify the physical contact of strangers.
My real reason for not enjoying the sweet embrace of strangers was that I felt uncomfortable with people feeling entitled to my body, my space, my time and, most importantly, my happiness. That seems like an odd jump to make whenever people just want to give a quick squeeze. However, when you grow up expecting the touch of a rando at every turn, you grow cautious.
By Sea Thomas '19
** Trigger warning: suicide, self harm, unreality, dissociation, medicine, mental health, drugs **
During fall mid-semester break this year, I visited my then girlfriend’s college in New York. My last night there, she asked if I wanted to smoke with her. This was not an unusual question for me at the time. I had recently bought my first pipe and had been smoking with a varying level of regularity for the past year. I liked it. It made me see everything in just a slightly brighter way. I giggled a lot. For a person who has suffered severe clinical depression since middle school, feeling so light and carefree is a gift. My mom always tells me that “maybe instead of becoming addicted to antidepressants, you should try yoga, meditation, and thinking happy thoughts, and…”. But the thing is, my medication does not make me giggle. It does not make me feel like the world is a better place. It does not make me feel that the dogs I pass on the street are definitely god or my soul mates, nor do they make me exclaim, “Wow! Did you see him wag his tail! I love him!” Medication helps me get out of bed, go to class, and exist in a slightly better functionality. When I walked on the Golden Gate Bridge during winter break, my medication did not keep me from imagining myself on top of the waves, crashing down, down, down. But it did keep me from the physical impulse of climbing over the barrier.
By Danielle Brown '18
****Trigger warning: Sexual assault, self-harm*****
When I applied to Mount Holyoke and a slew of other colleges two years ago, I was going through quite a bit. The supplemental essays in my applications showed it. I struggled to find a way to explain how hard things were at home other than to pour myself out in these essays. I wrote about cutting all of my hair off and going natural when I turned fifteen. I wrote about my brother’s psychotic break. I wrote about living in a single parent home and the financial difficulties we faced. It was uncomfortable explaining myself to anonymous admissions representatives but, like every other nervous and unsure high school senior, it was necessary for them to “understand you as a person.” What made me most uncomfortable about the process was the fact that they did not have context. I was forced to limit my life to between 250 and 500 words. How could you possibly understand an entire being by reading a quarter of a page about their life?
By Kimberly Neil '17
I have a riddle for you
What forces you to act older than you are, while simultaneously reducing your autonomy to something that parallels a child’s?
(The answer is mental illness.)
More specifically, the answer is one or more of the members of the manic pixie girl triad: depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. Combine this trifecta with the stress culture of a liberal arts college – a culture that values individualism and self-sufficiency – and a larger society that places so much emphasis on being successful, and you have a bit of a problem.
By Madeline Klein '18
***Trigger Warning: Gun violence, ableism, violence against disabled persons
Autism is correlated with violence. This is a proven fact. Autism brings with it violence; abuse, sexual assault, and even murder. We also see this correlation between violence and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and various personality disorders. We do not like to talk about this correlation – some people might consider it inappropriate or offensive – but it exists, and after the recent shooting in Oregon, we need to talk about it.