Category Archive: mental health

Pure OCD and the Groinal Syndrome: Body beyond control

Human bodies are trouble. They’re frightening and chaotic and often riddled with insurmountable paradox. All at once they are us – the site of our sensations, experiences, identities – not us – governed by unconscious, primordial systems, sometimes fiercely at odds with our desires and internal self-concepts – and perhaps most frighteningly, ours – like …

Writing for catharsis: The art of reworking negativity

I hold the thread and pinch one strand free from the four. I pull high and slow the way Mum taught me. This is a lie. I embroider quite well but YouTube was my main teacher. I consider the harshness of the word ‘lie’ as I stitch this thread with others of different colours: hues …

OCD and sex: When ‘pure O’ isn’t so pure

It was a Thursday and I was at work, sitting at my desk in a second-floor open-plan office with no windows. I walked over to the printer, swiped my staff card and waited while the pages of my report assembled themselves into a neat pile. Then it happened again, more powerful than before. Images flashed …

Navigating PTSD and the sexual self

Navigating PTSD and the sexual self

Content warning: this article discusses sexual assault and trauma.    Flat on my back in a dark, unfamiliar room. The door is shut but a crack of light seeps in from the corridor. A hand reaches to unzip my jeans. My pussy’s wet, my nipples hard. A heavy breath heaves and a deep voice whispers …

Dead canaries: Gaslighting in relationships

I had always considered myself a very empowered person who was able to be assertive in my relationships and maintain healthy boundaries with the people around me. Actually, my boundaries could sometimes be described as more robust than healthy. It often took people months to get beyond arm’s length. A year or so ago, I …

Navigating intimacy and post-coital dysphoria

I’ve been crying in the bathtub for the past half-hour. The tub is bone dry, but the sink is running in hope to stop my sobs from passing through the paper-thin walls and into the bedroom next door. I’m completely naked, covered in a stranger’s semen. A knock at the door forces me to lift …

Accessibility at queer events: It’s hard to have pride when you can’t access it

I am often at the mercy of my brain. My mental illness tells me that I’m worthless, pointless and that it’s useless to try and get out of bed because no one wants to associate with me anyway. I’m constantly fighting my brain. It makes it hard to function when your brain won’t let you …

Identity, mental health and postcolonial trauma

A good friend of mine recently asked me to write a piece on the way that depression has impacted my life for a friend’s blog. Thinking about it, I came to realize that the psychological illnesses I have incurred over the years are situated within the history of postcolonial trauma. My ancestral heritage goes back …

Staying Positive: Condoms, stigma and HIV advocacy in the age of PrEP

For 35 years, gay men have been told one thing: wear a condom. In my work as a journalist and broadcaster, I have specialised in covering gay men’s sexual health issues, and have always encouraged listeners to be responsible for their own health and wellbeing. Now, new forms of protection that do not involve latex …

Bisexual women and mental health: You must be this queer to enter

Ruby Mountford will speak about bisexuality and women’s health at the 2018 LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference, July 12 & 13 at the Jasper Hotel, Melbourne. For more information and to register for the LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference go to lbq.org.au   It started with a mention of The L Word. I was sitting at the …

Anorexia and sexuality: pleasure and control

Content warning: this article discusses eating disorders.   I was having dinner with two friends. Well, they were having dinner; I was going to eat something when I got home, made within the safe confines of my small kitchen, where I was able to meticulously measure every last element before it passed my lips. One …

Marriage equality debate: Self-care and love at a tender time

For those affected by the marriage equality debate, VAC offers a free counselling service, along with a list of helpful resources and tips for self-care.   Outside Victoria, phone support can be accessed through QLife. My dear queer, Are you tired, frustrated and hurting? I am too. Our communities are under siege, and while this …

The socio-sexual landscape of scars

If you were to Google my story, you would find some lovely photographs exhibiting some “hideous” scars that make up 70-80% of my torso, front and back. I was told that I was lucky that the scars can be hidden by clothing and that my handsome face was left unmaligned. These battle scars are detritus …

Bodywork: The erotic art of wellbeing, embodiment and somatic sexology

Pleasure moved from his genitals and expanded further throughout his body. He was surprised about the amount of sensation he was feeling erotically. He felt his body had been awoken. He had never experienced erotic sensations anywhere other than his genitals before and bodywork opened his mind up. Days later, he reports that, after masturbating, he …

Whose side?: Sexual violence in queer communities

Content warning: This article discusses sexual violence and assault, as well as suicidal ideation and eating disorders. We have a problem in our communities, and you need to do something. Most of the sexual assault and violence I have faced as an adult is from queers. And it has mostly been met with disbelief or …

Queer, brown and mentally ill

Queer, brown and mentally ill

I had my first depressive episode when I was 17. Every day, I would walk through a busy intersection frequented by cars, buses and beast-like trucks on my way to school. For three months, I could not shake the thought of walking right in front of them. As a queer person of colour, disentangling the …

Intimacy and Anxiety: Natural Enemies

The clouds are grey and heavy, compressing the ground and my mood with their weight. I’m sitting by an electric heater, drinking pale ale, in Eleanor Dark’s studio at Varuna, in Katoomba, where she herself sat and wrote, trying to find uninterrupted time to write amongst the demands of work and home. I’ve put aside …

Shifting Trans narratives: envisioning a better future for all Transgender people

From the pathologising times of trailblazing European psychotherapists of the 1930s, through to the more personal accounts of modern transition in the writing of Transgender people like Jenny Boylan and Janet Mock, or the more academic work of sociologist and Trans man Jamison Green, the Trans narrative has been significantly refined, reinterpreted and refocused. At …

Choosing to live: Family, sacrifice and domestic violence in a lesbian relationship

Trigger warning: story contains a personal and sometimes graphic recount of family violence. For 24/7 support, please contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800respect.org.au. Alternatively, see QLife for early intervention and counselling support specific to LGBTI people.  I remember one night, the final night, I sat on our …

Instant gratification: Addiction and anxiety in online dating

It bubbles. The sensation in my ear is just like the pop rocks mixed with Pepsi I had as a kid – explosive, intense and overwhelming. That percolating noise my phone makes when the other person is typing a message to me is my kryptonite. The simple circular shapes as someone is typing their message is …

Genderqueer: falling between the boxes

Queer rights have made a big leap forward in Australia. In a short space of time, a number of legal advances have been introduced including recognition of relationships, alterations to identity documents, and a broader tolerance towards some sexual practices. Despite this, queer youth are still among some of the most likely Australians to suffer …

Sex addiction: Insatiable

Sex addiction: Insatiable

Do you get high from sex/romance? Does your sexual/romantic behaviour affect your reputation? These are two of the 40 questions on the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) website for self-diagnosis. The questions are broad and often contradictory (Do you keep a list of partners you have had? Have you lost count of the number of …

Sexuality - Gender - Identity