Neither pathologization nor romanticization: A series
Courtesy: Ola Abulshalashel

I am a bit OCD. I was so depressed yesterday. I practically had a panic attack. He is so bipolar. The weather has been schizophrenic. I’m so addicted to this show.

As the words come to be more widely used, they seem to lose their meaning — their visibility cloaks a greater invisibility.

One year ago, a young artist in Cairo who struggled with mental health issues made a drawing to mark World Mental Health Day. This year, Ola is no longer with us, and we at Mada Masr, deeply saddened by her passing, use this image to start our series on mental health, “Neither pathologization nor romanticization.”

What does it mean to acknowledge that the world is crazy? Not as a rhetorical device, but as recognition that, to be socially adapted, entails a certain degree of dysfunction. What does it mean to acknowledge this without dissolving less visible forms of suffering and struggling, the truths of survivors, as well as those who don’t survive?

People who struggle with their mental health are invited to share pieces of writing, whether in the form of prose, poems, or in between, and pieces of art and that come out of these experiences.

We plan to publish them over the coming period, and hope that cumulatively they will speak to some of the realities of what it means to live these struggles.

If you would like to contribute, or if you have questions, please send us a message on Facebook.

You can read the first piece in the series here.


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