Standing at the stop of Arthur’s Seat, looking over Edinburgh, I think about how far I’ve come. The first time I climbed up here was a spontaneous, stupid decision on a snowy day. Trying to climb up an extinct volcano in a winter coat and Vans with no grip was bad enough, but it took hours to get back down, which mostly involved sliding down a rocky path on my bum and an impressive bruise that lasted for months.

The second time I climbed up was towards the beginning of my training for the West Highland Way, something I decided…

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I haven’t smoked weed since 2013 but I remember what it felt like and I remember why I stopped: without fail, it always made me anxious. After eighteen months taking citalopram, I’ve been moved on to sertraline and, after another week of sleeping whenever possible, I wake up today feeling spaced out, detached and weird.

In the process of freaking out, I try to text my boyfriend but my fingers don’t seem to touch the screen of my phone in the right places. I am convinced when I pick up my coffee cup I’m going to drop it down the…

I know today will be different as soon as I reach the bottom of the three steps at my front door. There are puddles on the ground, moisture in the air, and the air is cool. I’ve got a t-shirt, hoodie and waterproof on and I’m still not too warm — it’s the perfect weather in which not to get stressed.

I manage to avoid getting too agitated by the man breathing loudly next to me on the bus and the journey flies by. I grab a bottle of sparkling water (yes, it’s delicious) and head up to the therapy…

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I’m sitting in a stuffy waiting room. The friendly receptionist welcomes each nervous-looking visitor with a smile, directing them to sit down. My hands are already sweating from a combination of nerves and the medium Starbucks I’m drinking. The coffee is bad, as Starbucks usually is, but I just wanted something to grip on to. I quit smoking years ago, so it was this or an Irn-Bru, and I didn’t want to gurgle my way through the first session.

The receptionist strides over to the radio and turns it on. I think it’s Heart FM. It’s turned up way too…

CW: suicide, mental illness, death

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I made it to twenty three before I lost a close relative. They faded away under the cruelty of dementia and my last memory of my relationship with them was a fleeting visit in a care home, which ended as he walked away from me without a goodbye. I can still smell it now: those piss-soaked chairs in a depressing communal living room; a TV blaring at what must have been full volume.

I wanted to scream but, in the same way his life ended, I was quiet instead. Aside from a drunken outburst on…

CW: mentions of mental health, suicide, depression

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week but for many of us our awareness has been there for a while, lived in every day experiences, banging down our door and cemented by the loss of Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit last week. It’s difficult to speak about what happened to Scott without falling into cliches, but he was an inspiration to so many of us. His music touched our hearts and soothed our souls for several years and will do so for many more going into the future.

His death has left a gaping hole…

Picture: Police Scotland/PA Wire

“ Shut down the gospel singers and
Turn up the old heartbreakers
I’m dying to tell you that I’m dying here”

Suicide has hidden around the edges of my life for many years. Loved ones have lost best friends, I’ve comforted those who have thought they had no way out, and I have reached those seemingly inescapable depths of depression myself before crawling my way out of them. Today, hearing of the death of Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit, something I had managed to keep at arm’s length has been brought to the forefront of my mind.

The loss of…

Kathryn Black

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