A journal of post-civilised neurodiversity and wild mind
Unpsychology is an attempt to scavenge our own consciousness from the ruins of industrial civilisation. To trace a path through our current climate crisis of the mind, and find ways of living in whatever lies beyond.
In some ways, our feelings on ‘mental health’ have changed dramatically over the last hundred years. The great Victorian asylums of the past now lie derelict— mouldering reminders of the people (particularly women) who were shut away for everything from post-natal depression to infidelity. When we think of them at all, we congratulate ourselves on how far we’ve come.
In doing so, we brush over the pervasive image of the ‘mad’ as knife-wielding psychopaths, when, in fact, those suffering from ‘mental illness’ are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We ignore the growing medicalisation of the diversity of human expression and experience. Everything from bereavement and stuttering to anxiety and depression is classified as ‘mental illness’, to be ‘cured’ and ‘managed’ with clinical, evidence-based therapies, and the drugs provided by multinational pharmaceutical companies.
While some are undoubtedly helped by these methods, such a narrow paradigm also robs us of the basic experiences of life–with its births, deaths, righteous anger and distress. This is before we even begin to discuss those on the fringes of mainstream society: dominants and submissives, therian and otherkin, anarchists and activists, gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals, all of whom still struggle not to be classified as ‘mentally ill’.
Unpsychology seeks to redress that balance.
It re-affirms diversity and the independence of our own minds. It re-claims the psyche through self-education, self-development, and community-based support for the non-neurotypical. It builds new rites of passage to replace the ones that we have lost, and draws on the work of many other exceptional groups of people trying to live their lives beyond the confines of the medical and psychotherapeutic establishments: from the Hearing Voices Network and the Icarus Project to the Psy-Commons and the Dark Mountain Project’s Uncivilisation.
We seek to integrate progressive, imaginative and wild approaches to healing, therapy and development that makes sense in what sometimes seems to be a crumbling world.
The magazine (which we hope will be the first of many) is co-edited by writer and activist Allegra Hawksmoor and independent psychological practitioner, Steve Thorp, who is exploring these issues through his work on 21soul. We are looking for fiction and non-fiction, poetry and art, with a particular focus on the practical and generative. Some suggestions for pieces likely to find a home in this journal are:
- How neurodiversity is handled in activist circles, and activist approaches to the non-neurotypical;
- The relationship between mental health, hierarchy, culture and capitalism;
- Articles which provide creative critiques of dominant paradigms and narratives of mental health and illness, wellbeing and happiness;
- Suggestions for post-civilised rites of passage;
- Mind-hacking and punking the psyche;
- Stories of confronting and integrating the Shadow;
- Ideas for community- and self development-based alternatives to medication;
- Non-Eurocentric approaches to psychology;
- Practical Jungian and archetypal self-development;
- Activism in mental healthcare: How radicals are treated by mainstream psychotherapy, and the political role of mental health institutions on maintaining the status quo;
- Therapies which focus on creating meaning, stories, imagination and soul, connecting and integrating the ecological, soulful and relational aspects of ‘self’.
- Experiences of the mental health system from those who are transgender, otherkin or belong to other ‘minority’ groups;
- Living with diagnoses and experiences of schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, post-traumatic stress, post-natal depression etc etc;
- The environmental or ecological mind. Nature as therapy. Greencare and ecotherapy, and the imaginative integration of eco-psychological approaches with other progressive therapies.
- Explorations of the the lives of John Clare, Louis Wain and other famous mad folk;
- The psychogeography and urban exploration of ruined asylums;
- Practical herbalism for the non-neurotypical;
- Art, writing and creative pursuits as therapy;
- Fiction with non-neurotypical protagonists;
- A guide to the meaning and reality of dreams;
- Mythical and allegorical stories serving as guides to dealing with bipolar disorder, eating disorders, autism-spectrum conditions etc;
- Art and stories written by the non-neurotypical and those working outside (or within) the system;
- Depictions of mental illness and mental health care in the media;
- How-to guides for writers looking to increase their representations of non-neurotypical characters;
- Meditative practice and mindfulness as tools for dealing with anxiety and depression etc.
Deadline: 28th February 2014
Word limit: up to 5,000 words (will consider works that run a little over) We invite all kinds of fiction, but have a particular interest in the speculative (for example, subversive genres like steampunk, cyberpunk and dragonpunk). Bonus points for anything that uses a fantastical setting to consciously reflect the truths of our world and societies.
Word limit: up to 5,000 words
Essays, polemics, interviews, memoirs and diaries, manifestos and biographies all welcome. We’re particularly interested in practical, ‘how-to’ style articles and guides, and have a bit of a soft spot for travelogues and travel journals.
Length: up to 100 lines
Poetry can rhyme, or not, as the author chooses. Our preferences lean towards lyrical and non-rhyming, but this is my no means a hard line. More than anything, we appreciate poetry that is beautiful in its darkness as well as its light.
Dimensions: 297mm x 210mm (A4)
Due to printing constraints we are only able to accept works in black-on-white, and are unable to consider greyscale pieces or photography. Pen-and-ink drawings, woodblock and linocut pieces are of particular interest. We’d also love to have artists involved who are interested in creating specific illustrations for the stories and articles in the ‘zine. If you’re interested in doing that, just send some samples of your work to the submissions email address below.
All submissions should be sent to:
vagrants [at] amongruins [dot] org
Fiction, non-fiction and poetry submissions should be in a easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman, and should be attached to the email in .doc, .rtf or .odt format.
Artwork should be in .tiff format for preference, and should likewise be attached to the submission email. We will also accept links to online portfolios of work.