Writing About Mental Health

Durre Shahwar

Warning: contains an extensive use of the pronoun ‘I’.

My dissertation is about mental health. And from the start, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. My plot is based on a character whose instability doesn’t come about from a specific incident or an event such as death, trauma, loss, but a hinted series of minor troubles in her life, her background and childhood. This sounds like a non-fail summary until you actually get down to writing about it, and realise that a specific event such as death or loss is easier for plot and resolution than well, no event. But I am adamant to do it. I feel that half the stigma about mental health comes from the fact that it is more understandable in cases where there is a specific event. And by writing about a healthy, young, female who slowly begins to have anxiety attacks, agoraphobia, hears voices with no…

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