Thursday, July 18, 2013

Zine Review: Forever Falling Sideways

Forever Falling Sideways 
half letter / 72 pages / $5

Mental health is one of the most important concerns of our time, and possibly the most neglected. We live in a culture that devalues and pathologizes everything that transcends some invisible and unspoken “norm”. We are stressed by work, lack of work, families, interpersonal relationships, daily events, the list is endless. And we are not taught how to deal with that stress. Many people turn to numbing out with alcohol, drugs, and other substances or addictive activities. Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions peddling happy pills and psychoactive drugs. Over 10% of children aged 6 to 18 are on some kind of behavioral medication.

And … we’re not getting any better. Some days it feels like our culture itself has become bipolar or schizophrenic. How do we stay balanced in an unbalanced world? How do we do the hard inner growth work while coping with outer realities that trigger us?

This is why zines like Forever Falling Sideways are essential. Self help and peer support are the antidote to pressure from the medical community and pharma industry to push drugs. There are times when medication is important but it is not the magic cure. Medications only mask symptoms, they do not remove them. Symptom management is something people need to do for themselves, learning what works best for the individual.

Forever Falling Sideways includes graphics, poetry, and essays. There is a wonderful piece by Tender exploring the uses of St. Johns Wort. Tender also writes in depth about ways to take care of yourself like finding movements, taking responsibility for your actions, harnessing your energy, self advocacy and more. This is extremely useful information. There’s an article about happy fats and good mood foods and a primer on sexual consent. And this is just scratching the surface of one of the most resourceful zines I’ve discovered in years. Even if you don’t struggle with emotional issues or a mental “illness”, reading Forever Falling Sideways is worth your time and energy. 

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