The Health and Healing Zine Round-Up
Healing is a very personal experience, which is why many zines dealing with the topic are perzines (personal zines). Neither Western nor non-Western medicine has all the answers for everyone, so there’s a lot to be learned from individuals’ experiences.
Whether you’re on your own healing journey or looking to gain a little insight into someone else’s world, here are a few great zines to check out.
This comic anthology tells the true story of Karen McGratten’s struggles with anorexia, with artwork by her sister-in-law, Emily McGratten. Part one, chapter one starts at the beginning, examining what elements of her childhood may have led to her eating disorder.
The section seems to rather honestly explores her parents’ explosive fighting throughout her childhood. It also lightly investigates how teasing and bullying from schoolmates impacted her mental health both as a child and as she developed anorexia.
The illustrations bring the words to life, giving readers much more of the story than the text alone. It’s clear the McGrattens work well together. It is, however, a super quick read with only eight small pages of panels that leave a lot of questions and a strong desire for more. Part one is now available as a 54-page graphic novel through withincomic.com, which is likely a better buy.
From the same person who puts out Doris comes Support, a zine for people who are supporting those who’ve experienced abuse, specifically sexual abuse.
This dense 64 page zine includes submissions from different sources, including letters from others who support survivors, comics, articles and columns from survivors themselves. There are lists of things for survivors to do when they’re having difficulty staying present, quotes from survivors about their feelings and in-depth explanations of things survivors deal with, such as triggers and disassociation.
This zine should be a mandatory read for everyone. It gently shows the wrong and right ways to support sexual abuse survivors. I personally found it somewhat triggering, but ultimately very useful in that the first time I read it, I highlighted parts that I found particularly rang true to me and now give it to people in my life to read so they understand how to best support me.
Support is available for free download.
Damaged Mentality #5
The author, Synthia Nicole, writes about her experiences with a recent disability.
In short snippets artfully pasted on beautiful paper, she discusses how she’s changed since her brain injury, others’ reactions to her medication and her own relationship with self-medicating. As someone with a recent brain injury, the pages themselves are a bit difficult to read due to the jolty way they are laid out, but her words offer comfort.
A huge part of her healing has been figuring out how to deal with her chronic pain. She has tried both natural medicine and Western medicine, as well as self-medicating with alcohol. Despite her experience with her own suffering and different methods of dealing with it, she receives judgment from those around her.
The 20 page zine is a super quick read with few words on each page. Although brief, it gives a beautiful insight into one person’s experience with brain injury.
More info about this zine is available on the Damaged Mentality Zine Facebook page.
There’s a lot about gynaecological health that doctors just don’t tell us. Hot Pants: Do It Yourself Gynecology has a lot of info about what’s going on down there and what to do about it.
The very vertical 50 page zine is packed with facts about menstruation and STIs, including natural herbal remedies that could help cure infections or alleviate symptoms. And there’s even cute illustrations throughout!
It’s quite anti-Western medicine, suggesting herbal rubs to get rid of crabs and scabies, and herbal ingestions for herpes instead of prescriptions from a doctor. Whatever route you choose, the breakdown of what plants help what symptoms in which way is likely to be helpful when dealing with vaginal or STI-caused discomfort.
The website on the back of the zine now leads to a Google search for herbal abortions, but a free PDF download of Hot Pants is still available.