Graphic Novels and Mental Health

Happy (Belated) Mental Health Awareness Month!

If you are looking to learn more about mental health this month, a great way to do so is by reading graphic novels. Yes, you read that right, graphic novels are a great resource for learning about mental health. Personally, I have found graphic novels to be an easier and more enjoyable way to learn about mental health than by reading from one of the numerous other books about mental health (which can sometimes tend to be quite bland and wordy). This is not to say other books about mental health cannot also be powerful and offer plethora of knowledge on psychology, but graphic novels just have something other books don’t tend to have. Graphic novels have art and are able to communicate aspects of mental health that words just can’t quite describe.

In honor of this special month, and as ways to help beat the always present stigma on metal disorders, I have compiled a list of graphic novels in the Campus Library that can help inform you on mental health.

 

Psychiatric tales : eleven graphic stories about mental illness

Psychiatric tales : eleven graphic stories about mental illness

If you have little knowledge of mental disorders or would just like an introduction to the vast array of them, than Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham would be a great book for you to check out. In this graphic novel Cunningham utilizes his knowledge from his previous years working in a psychiatric ward to discusses several mental illness in short chapter like sections. Some of the illnesses discussed in this book include schizophrenia, depression, and antisocial personality disorder.

 

Marbles : mania, depression, Michelangelo, and me : a graphic memoir

Marbles : mania, depression, Michelangelo, and me : a graphic memoir

Marbles is a fantastic graphic memoir (and a personal favorite of mine) about bipolar disorder. This book follows fellow Seattle artist Ellen Forney after her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Throughout this book we go through through the ups and downs of Forney’s illness, and see the frustrating battle she has trying to reach a state of balance. The art in this graphic novel is absolutely wonderful, and this book includes a plethora of knowledge on bipolar disorder. I could go on and on about how great this book is, but I will spare you. Ultimately you should just pick this book up if you have not yet read it.

Neurocomic

Neurocomic

If you enjoy the movie Inside Out or would like to learn more about how the brain generally works, then you might want to check out Neurocomic by Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella. Neurocomic is an illustrated guide to how the brain works and includes topics such as neurons and memory function. This book is sure to fill your noggin with a plethora of brainy knowledge.

 

Something Different About Dad: How to Live with Your Asperger’s Parent

Something Different About Dad How to Live with Your Asperger's Parent

There are not many graphic novels out there about autism, let alone about a parent with autism, but the graphic novel Something Different About Dad by Kristi Evans and John Swogger discusses this not so talked about topic. This book shows what it is like to grow up with a parent with Asperger’s Syndrome, and how having a parent with Asperger’s affects a family.

 

Lighter than my shadow

Lighter than my shadow

If you are looking to learn more about the deadliest mental illness than the graphic memoir Lighter Than My Shadow, by Katie Green, would be a great resource for you . Lighter than My Shadow discusses Katie Green’s struggle and recovery from an eating disorder. This book follows Green throughout her childhood and shows the evolution of her eating disorder, and the symptoms of it that came from an early age.

 

Hyperbole and a half : unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened

Hyperbole and a half : unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened

The graphic memoir Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh manages to do the paradoxical by making a book that deals with depression humorous. With the humor in this book, inclusion of dogs, and array of technicolor language Brosh makes learning about depression a little bit easier and more enjoyable.

 

Tangles : a story about Alzheimer’s, my mother, and me

Tangles : a story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me

Tangles is a graphic memoir by Sarah Leavitt about her experience losing her mother to Alzheimer’s disease. This book follows the six years of Levitt’s mother’s Alzheimers disease, and documents the transformation this illness has on Leavitt and her family. This book is full of emotion, and can help to offer insight into such a detrimental disease.

 

Couch fiction : a graphic tale of psychotherapy

Couch fiction : a graphic tale of psychotherapy

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall in a therapy session, or just wanted to know more about therapy? Well you are in luck because Coach Fiction by Philippa Perry can help answer those questions for you. Unlike many of the other graphic novels listed here, Coach Fiction is a tale of mental illness that includes a therapist’s perspective and is written by an actual therapist. This book follows imperfect therapist Pat through her therapy sessions with her client. Overall, this book shows a lot of the process of therapy and is very informative.

 

 If you are looking for more graphic novels on mental illness than you might also want to check out  The next day : a graphic novella, The road to god knows–, Tyranny, Lucille, and Swallow me whole

 

 

Feminist texts that you can (and should) read right now.

Sometimes I just don’t understand people.

I recently participated in a group discussion centered around violence against women. At some point during this discussion, the only man present in the group felt the need to clarify that he was not a feminist, but an equalist. 😒 Oh boy, here we go.

First of all, I find it extremely obnoxious that you find it necessary to distinguish yourself in a group of women by identifying yourself as an “equalist,” as if that makes you some sort of champion of women’s rights. Second, those who demand to be called equalists, rather than feminists, are ignoring the fact that we aren’t actually equal. Equalism does not recognize how women of color, trans women, disabled women and other groups exist at the intersection of multiple oppressive systems. And third, why do you find it relevant to bring up your “equalism” in the middle of a conversation about violence specifically committed against women!? Seriously!?!

IMO, when people (usually men) say things like “I’m not a feminist. I consider myself an equalist,” it’s because a) they don’t know what feminism is, b) they don’t understand why it’s needed, and c) they certainly do not recognize how they benefit on a daily basis from misogyny and patriarchy.

I am so sick of holding my tongue when men detract from the actual problems that are leading to the marginalization and murder of women in order to point out the fact that they are an “equalist,” as if it’s the most profound statement anyone’s ever made. Your obsession with the semantics (naming) of feminism shows just how much you don’t care about the struggles women have endured in pursuit of their liberation. Let’s be honest, the only reason you are trying to rename feminism is because you are afraid – afraid of a movement that was built by women in order to advocate for women’s autonomy. Your position as the dominant group has been threatened, and in a desperate attempt to make yourself more important, you say you’re an “equalist.” It’s just subtle enough to not be recognized as overt sexist bulls***.

Some people may be upset by my interpretations, but guess what? I don’t care. Women have to put up with criticism all the time for calling themselves feminists, so you “equalists” can just deal with it. Men need to stop acting like everything needs to be created in their honor. The horrendous truth is that feminism doesn’t prioritize men’s needs. I know, shocking. Y’all need to get over it.

With that being said, I thought I would help all you “equalists” out there explore the depth of your own ignorance by providing a FEMINIST reading list. These works are not steeped in academic lingo, nor do they critically analyze feminist theory. They’re just books, many of them personal accounts, written by powerful and talented women who believe in the future of the feminist movement.

I’ll just leave these here…

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
When was the last time you laughed while reading a book? If you can’t answer my question without consulting a calendar, then it’s time to pick up Bad Feminist. Gay writes in a way that is approachable, real, and hilariously honest. In her book, she explores what it means to be a feminist and how her life experiences have shaped her views on race, politics, media, and more.

 

Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks
Author, feminist, and social activist bell hooks defines feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.” She breaks this definition down in a straightforward way, not convoluted by theory or academic language. Cause seriously, who the hell knows what a dichotomy is? Just say division for Pete’s sake. Thank you, bell hooks, for clearing things up. You go. ✊

 

We should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Though just published in 2015, this book is already a classic. The short essay was adapted from a TedX talk given by Adichie in 2012. In it, she makes a clear argument for why we should all be feminists. Perhaps what makes this read so, well, readable, is its size.This book is roughly the size of a maxi-pad and is literally 50 pages long. There is no reason for you to not read this book.

 

He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know by Jessica Valenti
Finally, a book that breaks it all down! We see and experience these double standards in our everyday lives and sometimes it’s hard to process it all. Valenti does the work for us. Not only does she identify the problems, but she asks the important questions like “what can we do about it?!?” The only thing I would change is the title – men should know these, too! Also by Valenti: Full Frontal Feminism

 

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde: writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, civil rights activist, mother, poet, and one seriously badass woman. Sister Outsider is one of her many works, but this collection of poems and essays deals specifically with intersectional identity and oppression. The best part is that Lorde is 100% unapologetic in her anger about police brutality, war, imperialism, violence against women, etc.

 

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
If you haven’t heard of Malala by now, it’s about time you climb out of your cave. Malala Yousafzai was on a role long before her 2014 Nobel Peace Prize win (at only 17 btw). She has been a powerful advocate for women and girls’ education around the world. This book provides an insight into her experiences as a  young girl growing up in Swat Valley. You can also see the film “He Named me Malala,” AFTER you’ve read the book. 😉

 

Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back by Harilyn Rousso
“Rousso’s memoir is about overcoming prejudice against disability, not disability itself. It confronts not only prejudice but also the ways so-called “normal” people distinguish people with disabilities from everyone else by seeing them through the comforting but distorted lens of heroism, nobility and triumph over adversity—stereotypes that kill with kindness.” – Don’t Call me Inspirational. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. After reading this book it should come as no surprise to you that language matters! ahem, “equalists.”

Hope that helps! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things I’ve Learned About Running Start

While planning my future in education, Running Start rose to the top of my possible options.  It seemed like a good fit for me; I could get away from the high school atmosphere I disliked while also getting ahead in my schooling.

Here are 10 things I didn’t know (and didn’t expect) until I actually experienced my first quarter as a Running Start student:

  1. You have much more free time in Running Start, partially because you no longer attend pep assemblies, homeroom, or have a designated time for lunch.  Time is also allocated differently in college, most students take only 3 (sometimes 4) classes per quarter.  This frees up your schedule, though some quarters you will need all that extra time to study.
  2. You won’t be reprimanded for being late to class.  Sure, a rare teacher will give attendance points.  Generally though, college accepts the fact that life can happen and cause someone to be late.
  3. Exploring campus is extremely rewarding because there are so many places and events to discover.  The library has great study spots, including silent and group permissible areas.  In my exploration, a certain tree has become one of my favorite spots on campus.
  4. Unless you do part time Running Start, you’ll rarely see anyone from high school.  I definitely feel like I’ve grown apart from many of my high school friends, mainly because we have such different realities now.
  5. Your classes won’t consist primarily of other Running Start students.  There will be some, but you’ll be in classes with people of all ages.  Also, it’s hard to tell who’s in Running Start versus who is an actual college student (unless you directly ask them).
  6. You need to be extremely self-motivated and able to prioritize well.  (Okay, I know people told me this before I entered Running Start, but I didn’t actually understand it until I started classes).  Most teachers don’t impose check-ins, so it’s up to you to get the work done on time.  Prioritizing deadlines and deciding when to cut corners and when not to is one of the most important skills I’m developing.  (Recommendation: Take College 101 in your first quarter because it really helps with adjusting to college life.  Also, you can’t take English 102 without it).
  7. In Running Start, you’re treated like an adult.  This can be quite a shock for anyone accustomed to the stifling breath of high school.  Differing opinions become exciting in college classes, and you quickly learn that your opinion -however unorthodox- is welcome in discussion.
  8. Time seems to pass faster when you’re on a quarter system.  You really need to maintain your grades.  Eight or nine weeks pass quickly, and suddenly you’re at the end of the quarter without enough time to significantly improve your grade.
  9. You get to plan your own schedule – which is really exciting when you realize you could choose to start your school day at 11:00 am!  That said, it’s incredibly important to make sure the classes you’re taking align with your high school graduation requirements.  This becomes even more important if you’re aiming to graduate high school with an Associate’s Degree.  Scheduling a meeting with a Running Start counselor (at the college) is a great first step in finding resources to help plan your Running Start schedule.
  10. I really appreciate the atmosphere of a college campus.  As we transition into adulthood, college students think more deeply about complex questions and concepts.  (I think some high school students are adults at heart).  I truly feel like I belong on this campus, which is a very refreshing feeling indeed.

If you find yourself intimidated by warnings that Running Start “isn’t for everyone” and will be “much more difficult than high school”, don’t be discouraged.  Though there will always be a few things that ruffle your feathers, the conflicts of high school are much less concentrated in college.  The Running Start program truly is amazing.  If you’re considering Running Start, you’re likely planning to attend college after high school.  Why not a little sooner? 

Yes, women have a month!

Since 1911 the United States has celebrated the month of March as National Women’s History month.  Globally women are honored on March 8 for International Women’s Day. This year I attended one of the events celebrating International Women’s Day which took place on March 5 and was presented by the Northwest Film Forum and faculty and students from University of Washington Bothell. The event included three different portions.

The first portion was a film screening which showcased many different scenes from films directed by women. In between clips, there was a theater performance. The performances illustrated different forms of challenges faced by women directors because of their gender.

The second portion of this event included a Panel Discussion on the topics of Policing Women and Generating Justice. The panel included women from different fields, occupations, backgrounds, race, and sexuality. The discussion was started  by acknowledging the challenge women face in order to make decisions and have rights to their own bodies. An example was abortion, the right to make a choice. The conversation progressed by discussing everyday challenges of Trans Women of Color, recognizing that Trans Women of Color are victims of violence and brutality.

The third and last portion of this event was a Poetry and Fiction Reading led by student and faculty in the Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell. The discussion surrounded the themes of sexuality, gender, race and  legality. All together the event took an interdisciplinary approach to surveying challenges and inequality faced by women throughout time.

More information on this event can be found at: http://www.nwfilmforum.org/live/page/calendar/3876

Blind Date with a Book Display

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Although Valentine’s Day has come to pass, romance at the campus library is still going strong. Yes, this unusual statement is quite true thanks to our Blind Date with a Book display.

Blind Date with a Book 2016

This display simulates a blind date by featuring a varied dating pool of wrapped books with the only information given about each book being a little attached blurb. This way you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover😉

Book Blind Date 2016

If you are ready to have some fun and let the adventure begin, then head on down to the library and let your date begin! Who knows, maybe you will find your soul mate.

Open Educational Resources

After a year of taking tough classes taught by professors who did not match my learning style, the internet became my teacher. I used resources from public universities like UC Berkeley, private universities like MIT, and other OpenCourseWare. While the value of having a person in front of you to explain a concept will never fade, open educational resources (OERs) are a powerful way to supplement your traditional instruction. Their existence and growth is something to appreciate.

While the definition of an open educational resource varies there are still some universal commonalities. Open educational resources can be modified, used for free, and can be any type of digital media. A math textbook published under an open license can be changed to fit a teacher’s curriculum. A video published under an open license can be sampled in whatever way the producer chooses. OERs benefit creators and consumers, learners and doers.

OERs have the potential to change the way we view education. For example, I have used OERs  through the website EdX, which offers free online courses from the world’s best universities. I took a class titled “Principles of Biochemistry” provided by Harvard University. I learned about biochemistry for free before using tuition dollars to pay for this knowledge in the fall. Now I can spend my time in class building on previously built foundations.

While more and more individuals and organizations are becoming aware of and supporting the concept of OERs, there is room for more people to create and consume them. Access to knowledge and information can be expensive and frustrating; OERs are a step forward in combating that.

Check out OER Commons and learn something new.

Gender-neutral restroom options on campus

As you may know, UWB has been lauded in recent years for being one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation. You may also be aware that the student body has been calling on the UW Administration to designate space for a Diversity Center on campus. We made quite a bit of noise over the last year – you may have heard – about making concrete plans for this space that students rightfully deserve.

From my viewpoint as a student leader and ally in the push for a Diversity Center, the primary goal of voicing this demand is to provide all students at UWB with a more enriching, equitable college experience that is promoting of growth and learning in and outside of the classroom.

In addition to having a significant percentage of first generation, international students, and students of color enrolled at UWB, we are also a gender diverse campus. That’s right gender binary, we’re calling you out. Gender identity exists on a spectrum, it doesn’t just have to be one or the other.

This being the case, I wanted to let you all know where to find gender-neutral restroom options at UWB. Some may also refer to them unisex, single-occupancy, gender-inclusive, all-gender restrooms or something along those lines. On campus there are several options for individuals who need these accommodations. I’ll try my best to describe where they are located.

The closest single-occupancy gender-neutral restroom in relation to the Campus Library would be in Discovery Hall. If you go in the main doors on the lower level of Discovery Hall, there is a hallway to the left. Restrooms are located directly on the left-hand side.

The gender-neutral option on the Cascadia side is labeled a “family restroom.”

It is also single-occupancy and is open to anyone and everyone. It’s in CC2 on the second level. If you go down the sidewalk and in through the main doors of CC1, go up one floor and go to the right. The restroom is located just past the piano.

When the new Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) opens this fall, there will be gender-neutral, single-occupant restrooms on each floor. That is as specific as I can be as it has not yet opened.

Finally, for those students headed way off campus, the Beardslee Building also has a gender-neutral restroom. When you come in the main doors, go up the stairs to the second floor. The restroom is labeled “unisex” and is just down the hall.

I will just say that while I am glad we are able to provide these options to students, more work needs to be done in order to make UWB a more inclusive, safe and tolerant environment for everyone. The conversation will need to continue throughout this next year about how we can do better. Students, ASUWB leadership, UWB Administration, faculty, staff and alumni must come together and discuss the steps we can take right now.

That is all.