curated by Imogen Ivy
- Currently supports people with
disabilities, climate activist
and retired one direction
fan talks about her journey
with mental illness.
Halfway through this year, I started to feel like I was finally meeting my true self for the first time. After a lengthy stay in hospital and 6 months of outpatient programs 2 times a week, I finally felt like I was able to break the glass that had been separating me from the rest of the world for so long. It was hard fucking work, everyday, but the way I see it, I got a second chance that not everyone realises they can have.
I needed that complete surrender to the illness to be able to realise what I needed to do. Experiencing a depression that intense so young, in hindsight, gave me the opportunity for serious change, I was petrified but I was invited to have a dramatic shift in outlook, to steer away from this dark trajectory my life was inevitably heading down.
My true passions started revealing themselves to me, and once I opened myself up to them, letting go of the fear of judgement from anyone else, love began to saturate my life in ways I never expected. Some days I still struggle, and I am still scared as fuck that I’ll slip back under, but I am learning to accept that I probably will always live in negotiation with this part of myself, and when I do stumble, it’s important to find those moments of clarity where I realise I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, and when I trust myself, i’ll go exactly where I need to go.
I was lucky enough to be in a position of privilege to get the help I did, I’m so grateful for that, but at the end of the day it was the power of the people around me that pulled me out of the thick of it. To the people I barely knew, to my family and close friends, stepping up and taking the time to be there for me even when I was difficult to be around. So take care of the people around you, put in the time, and you might help save someone’s life.
When I read this piece of writing to Imogen she told me to give myself some credit, so yes, I had to use every ounce of strength in my being, every minute of the day to get myself through it, and I still do. But I’m finally seeing that it’s all worth it.
In a few days it will be one year since my admission, the emotions swirling inside me leading up to this, ‘anniversary’, if you will, have completely knocked the wind out of me. When Imogen offered me to write and voice something for her blog it was a daunting task when the idea of me talking about my experience with mental illness was something I’d never imagined I would open about this time in my life again especially online but I believe in my heart the stigma needs to go. Hopefully with sharing this I can give some hope to someone that might need some right now. Mental health is no joke and speaking about it is awkward, messy and uncomfortable but it makes all the difference.
By Bella Kalucy // @bby_bork
All photos by Imogen Ivy // @diaryofmissivy
university student and in
my eyes,all round legend-
talks about what he
learn’t from growing
up in a house
of four boys and
realising feeling good
opposed to looking good
is more important when
adapting to different
levels of training
To be honest, the idea of looking after myself and my body, I thought came quite naturally to me. Only recently I have understood that looking after myself didn’t exclusively mean being happy with how I looked on the outside. As a ‘wannabe’ athlete, I have grown and learnt that looking after my body, is more about how I feel than how I look.
Growing up in a house of four boys, I realised pretty quickly that we were all different and that we all went through quite dramatic changes, both internally and externally. With so much going on at home and the wide variety of ages, I got a front row seat to these changes but also how we dealt with them in our own little way. All four of us grew out before we grew up and we quickly learnt the importance of being comfortable with our changes.
Our family was always on the move and I guess any kind of illness or bug was only going to slow us down. There was nothing a cup of Panadol for kids and pat on the back didn’t fix. This taught me lots… I learnt to roll with things that weren’t life threatening, push through pain barriers, let things heal themselves but most importantly, how strong and impressive our bodies are.
Training morning and afternoon, six days a week, I rely on my body to endure serious levels discomfort but also the ability to wake up the next day and do it all again. This is where I began caring more about how I feel than I how look. Sure, I still check in or check out how my body is adapting to different levels of training, but now, I am more stoked if my body lets me push it to its limits, rather than if i lose skin fold.
I’m not sure if my change in mindset was a result of simply just growing up or if it is a full societal change but whatever it was, I think it was one that needed to happen. Opening up or discussing how one feels on the inside is something that men don’t find all that easy. I am certainly not the coolest person in the world. But personally, looking after your body and being confident inside and out is pretty bloody cool.
By Isaac Smith // @isaachenrysmith
Competiting photos outsourced, others are by Imogen Ivy // @diaryofmissivy
-MSc in Sustainable development,singer,sister
talks about how ‘self-love' is really
multi-layered, nuanced concept for her.
'self-love' is a really multi-layered, nuanced concept for me. if we are talking intellectually or personality-based, i think i've been self-loving for a while. my family and friends have always filled me up with confidence and pride - in the kindest of ways. but in terms of my body and face, 'self-love' is something i've struggled with on an off since being a teenager (like most modern-day humans). i don't think you can achieve 'self-love', as in ticking a box, per say. for me, it's an ongoing project. i once thought (not too long ago), that it was an easy-fix thing. but as your physical appearance changes, you have to learn it all over again. and it can come back and bite you in the butt. it sucks, because you can read the quotes, follow the self-love preachers, regularly tell yourself and your mates that you love your exterior self … but at the end of the day it's really bloody hard and i think more times than not, it's reflective of deeper psychological/social conditioning issues, rather than a 'change your view' kind of thing (from my experience anyways).
i do find online that 'self-love' and things can be over-used slightly, deterring in ways for me (especially when commercialised by companies for profit). but if you have your own meaning of it, and what works for you to ease your own worries, then i think that's great! it’s important to remember, all this stuff is really subjective and unique to you, so it's okay if you don't gel with others' opinions and roadmaps for achieving ‘self-love’. in fact, that is great, because otherwise you are shadowing someone else’s journey. this may be common knowledge to some already, but anyways, one of my fav people online (@girlknewyork) says to: “surround yourself with women you admire with your body type. surround yourself with women of varying body types - especially on your newsfeed. if your newsfeed is only skinny white girls on vacation, you’re not going to feel good about yourself, if you’re not a skinny white girl on vacation.” i think often times we look to others that act confident in public (like imogen ivy herself) and almost justify our own bodies based off their own validation. when instead, i think we should try and reject any form of comparison in the first place. not to put down people paving the way, they do great work – but - if that is the only foundation for your self-love, then it is not your own, i believe. and for me, that is when it becomes hollow. in saying that, rupi kuar has had a pretty big role to play in my self-acceptance overall and if you’re lost, her poems are a great place to start in my opinion
nowadays, i am really trying to let it all go, accept what i have, and accept that change is a part of being an animal in this world. we adapt and we are malleable. i am actively trying to free myself of looking inwardly in ways of aesthetic, and rather focus on things that are more important to me, outwardly. it’s really hard and often times you hate yourself for voicing these things at all. but at the end of the day, just try and be kind to yourself and the people around you, both internally and externally. there is bigger fish to fry, and more important things going on inside, to let us worry about our shells.
By Lucy Murray // @jamesandlucy_
All photos by Imogen Ivy // @diaryofmissivy
Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. This blog is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000. Butterfly foundation national helpline -Call 1800 33 4673.
- Comedian and athlete talking
about his experience with masculine self care
Maybe I’m speaking out of my glorious, peach shaped arse here but the concept of looking after yourself was something, that as a dude, was considered very ‘faggy’ growing up.
Firstly, any sickness was treated with Panadol, chicken soup and Vick’s. Any further enquiry seemed to be greeted with a sigh akin to a ‘Mate, do we have to do this?’ Just get up and go to work you little bitch!’
Look, we all know that when dudes are ill, we get dramatic i.e the deadly man flu. You may as well be watching some kind of English Premier League, playing dead on the ground of the football pitch but although we will complain like we’re dying to you, we’re way less likely to actually go to the doctor to get some help. Is that why we are way more likely to die of heart disease, cancer and diabetes? I’m not a doctor (even though I look like McDreamy) but probably!
Secondly, are you feeling sad? Growing up the idea of a fella talking about their problems was non existent. Boy tears were embarrassing and for an Irish Catholic family like mine, almost shameful. This attitude can be summed up by my great, late Grandfather Viv McKenzie.
As a kid, I stood in front of him crying and bleeding from an injury sustained due to an ambush created at the hands of my cunning and wicked Brother, Olly.
[‘Pat cries in front of grandfather’ A short film starring Pat Doherty.]
OLIVER: “Pat come outside, we’re playing cricket.”
Action: A young Pat runs to the backdoor, excited about the potential backyard cricket superstar he is soon to become. As Pat sails through the threshold of the back door, a wild cricket bat appears. English willow. Head height. The young face of a beautiful Pat thumps directly into it. A cut on his eyebrow appears. Oliver and his cronies laugh.
The trick has been played. The victor and loser now, viciously apparent.
“Olly hit me in the head with a cricket bat” I told Viv, tears and blood streaming down my cheeks, the words stammering out of my face. A hanky, a stern facial expression and Viv’s immortalised words greeted my concerned. ‘Come on mate. Boys don’t cry.’
I’m twenty- six years old and that’s the way guys my age and older were brought up. Look, I’m honestly in two minds about it. 1) Even though it’s not true I’ve been brought up to think this attitude makes you tougher 2) When you’re told to bottle your emotions, it limits your ability to communicate through them and understand them.
‘Boys don’t cry’ results in fucking weird as shit relationship problems down the line, as well as workplace difficulty and communication strain.
ATT: This is how males that are raised with the motto ‘Boys don’t cry’ deal with the emotional situations.
“I haven’t learnt how to express my feelings properly through childhood so instead of being emotionally available and willing to work through this verbally I’m going to go punch a wall.” It doesn’t feel good BUT IT’S ALL THIS YOUNG BUCK KNOWS!
Finally, you wanna look after yourself as a bloke? This is what you got. Sunscreen as a preventive, peroxide as a solution and alcohol and unhealthy coping mechanisms to numb about your issues. I don’t believe that’s good enough. I think the current shift towards men looking after themselves is a God send. Men not looking after themselves means you have skyrocketing suicide rates, death by curable diseases and a troop of men not reaching their potential because they haven’t been given all the tools necessary to do so. When lads do look after themselves, you get healthy young fellas running around, communicating their issues in a society that allows them to do so. Plus…FACE MASKS WITH HOT BABES.
Call it ‘self care’, call it ‘looking after yourself’, call it whatever you want just keep or start doing it because dudes are more than cannonball fonder or a brick in the wall. More than avoidable heart failure or a suicide note. We’re loved, valued members of society and our families. So kick back with a kombucha, or whatever is the latest health drink, chill out and reach out if you need to. And for the love of God, get that rash checked. I mean, I will look at it but I’m untrained and the amount you are scratching suggests you need a professional.
By Pat Doherty // @pat_doherty_
All photos by Imogen Ivy // @diaryofmissivy