A look back at the last year of mental health posts on Hysterical Women

Yesterday marked Hysterical Women’s first birthday, and I’ve been re-sharing all our brilliant guest posts over on Twitter. As today is also World Mental Health Day, I also wanted to reflect specifically on all the guest posts we’ve featured during that time that explore women’s mental health – whether that’s women’s mental health problems being dismissed or not taken seriously, or women’s existing mental health problems being used against them when they presented with unexplained physical symptoms.

‘Just a teenage phase’: life with Borderline Personality Disorder

fabio-ballasina-385482-unsplashOur very first guest post, by Rachel Williams, published last October for World Mental Health Day 2018. Rachel wrote about the dismissive, and often gendered, attitudes around Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and self-harm.

‘I have to act like Mary Poppins on crack’: menstrual health in the workplace

ricardo-gomez-angel-232055-unsplashBusiness psychologist and PMDD sufferer Clare Knox wrote about the pressures and stigmas that women with menstrual health problems face in the workplace, and the masks they use to hide issues like severe PMS and PMDD.

Dump The Scales: ‘Must I look like a skeleton to have an eating disorder?’

horizontal-1155878_960_720Eating disorder campaigner Hope Virgo wrote for us about her Dump The Scales campaign, launched to tackle weight stigma in eating disorder treatment, after she was made to feel like a ‘fake anorexic’ for not being ‘thin enough’.

The Colour of Madness: ‘The strong, black woman stereotype gets in the way’

guillaume-bourdages-477545-unsplashIn our first Hysterical Women author Q&A, I spoke to Rianna Walcott, editor of The Colour of Madnessan anthology exploring black and minority ethnic (BAME) people’s mental health – about the issues specific to women of colour.

‘This isn’t just something all women go through, like starting your period or having a zit on prom night’: living with PMDD

rex-pickar-564246-unsplashOur first guest post from across the pond, Elaina Moscato wrote about living with PMDD – a severe from of PMS – from the impact on her everyday life, to her long struggle to be properly diagnosed and treated.

Antidepressant withdrawal and serotonin syndrome: ‘I felt like I was dying, but doctors put it down to my mental health problems’

jussara-romao-346024-unsplashWhen Fiona experienced terrifying, ‘stroke-like’ symptoms of serotonin syndrome, after withdrawing from her antidepressants, doctors simply put it down to her existing mental health problems. The dismissive attitudes she encountered are really quite shocking.

‘A middle aged mental health patient – what illness has she given herself now?’

annie-spratt-703451-unsplashHaving suffered from panic attacks and anxiety her whole life, Ruth Fryman was treated like a hypochondriac when she presented to her GP with symptoms of fibromyalgia. But Ruth’s pain was very real, and definitely not ‘all in her head’.

When physical disability and mental ill-health collide: ‘At least we know now you’re not making it up’

thought-catalog-505378-unsplashPhilippa Willitts had a similar experience when she woke up one morning with a tingling sensation in her leg. Her history of mental illness meant doctors believed she was making it up, until medical tests proved otherwise.

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