A case for non-objective journalism and why it is good for mental health awareness

BY ZAKIYA KASSAM

One thing I was told repeatedly during my four years in journalism school was that my writing needed to be objective, above all else. In a field like journalism, where you are only supposed to be a vessel for the facts, I understood that my opinions were simply not relevant. That said, the landscape of journalism has changed enormously in the past few years alone, and that model of objective writing which was once germane, now runs the risk of outdatedness.pen-blank-paper

When I graduated with my degree in journalism in 2013, I took a vested interest in writing for online platforms. Around this time, I also noticed a rise in the popularity of confessional journalism platforms like Thought Catalog, for example, which is (as its name suggests) a website for writers to submit their general musings or thoughts about pretty much anything in the form of personal essays or other varying prose. For those of you not familiar with Thought Catalog, it runs just like any other submission-driven outlet; it has a publisher, a bevy of writers, and a submission model similar that of the Huffington Post.

When I first stumbled across Thought Catalog during my later years of university, I was shocked at what people were willing to share; it was like one big diary. I read about eating disorders, broken hearts, social anxiety, and unrequited affections. These were things that were relevant to me, above all else. All of a sudden, I felt a little more connected to my generation as a whole. The juxtaposition of these brutally honest articles against the picture-perfect posts from my friends on Facebook was jarring, but also comforting. Nothing on this site was written objectively; in fact the more personal the article, the better it was received by readers. This form of journalism heavily relied on a first person voice.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Love Yourself

BY RACHEL WONG

I am scared of a lot of things. Most of these fears are rational (insert spiders, death, horror films) but a lot of them are also irrational (insert sunny-side up eggs). What I am most scared of is how I present myself how others perceive me.

670px-Stop-Feeling-Self-Conscious-Step-2

Basically, I give a damn about what you think of me. It may not look like it, but I do. And I think about it every day and every night.

I remember coming across a blog post a few years ago that made me question my entire existence. To paraphrase, the post went something like this:

You’ve never actually seen yourself. You have only seen mirror reflections or pictures. But you have never truly seen your “self”.

The post may have been a little over the top but it got me thinking a lot about how I present myself and what people think when they see me, hear me talk, or interact with me. Do I make a good impression on them? Do they think I’m pretty? Do they notice the zit I sometimes feel forming on my forehead? Most of all, do they even like me?

Continue reading

Furiously Happy: A Review

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to start doing reviews on SPEAK OUT, so here’s my first attempt.

Reviews can sometimes seem like ‘fluff’ or filler, which I swore to never have on this site, but as well all know, representation in media is important. I thought that it might be a good idea to highlight some books, music, and movies in which mental illness is represented well, or that are thought-provoking in some way. My idea of a review is just to draw attention to cool things that I think you should also check out, and then talk about how I feel about it. So I guess really it’s more like a reflection.

Furiously Happy is Jenny Lawson’s second book – her first, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, was probably funnier, but it sort of skirted the topic of mental illness. There were definitely parts of the book that discussed it, but the majority of it completely ignored it. (You should still definitely read it though.)

Lawson lives with depression, anxiety, trichotillomania, ADHD, and OCD, amongst a number of other things, but what she talks about the most is her depression and anxiety.

Specifically the concept that depression lies – the thoughts you might have like that you’re not really sick, that your life is just horrible, or that no one cares about you are a result of self-stigma, yes, but also depression itself. Because that’s what depression does. It lies to you for so long that you start lying to yourself. Continue reading