Images of Mental Health

I don’t particularly have a visual imagination; I tend to think in word clouds. But sometimes, I’ll be able to compare how I feel to something; an image, a still-frame photograph, a hanging painting that just sits for a moment surrounded by the feeling.

When I was back on anti-depressants, coping with a new job, struggling with the end of my marriage… a chandelier of broken glass, hanging shards; the darker coated ones turned away from the light, the brighter ones glinting: false, brittle, glinting.

Being on new tablets that had something odd in them, which sent me manic for about a week; a metallic cylinder in my chest, tinted and brittle, coating everything.

Everything piling up: layers of thin board, stacking and stacking, weighing down but not yet breaking.

And the feeling of pills that I knew would sink me: a helium balloon filling my chest, raising me – and an iron weight on it, pushing down, not letting me rise, not letting the happiness bubble.

And six months of happiness in Oxford… A golden fountain, bubbling and roiling, sending whirls upwards:  light and lifting and wonderful.


Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.