Sylvia Plath, Mental Health, and Girls

This post is a combined post about mental health day (yesterday) and girl’s day (today). It’s talking about my all-time favourite poet: Sylvia Plath.

She was born in 1932 and died thirty years later in 1963. Why did she die at the age of thirty? Suicide. She had attempted suicide many times, but they failed. Eventually, she succeeded by carbon monoxide poisoning.

As she wrote in some of her many letters, she felt that she wouldn’t get a place at the top universities because of her suicidal background. She did eventually get a place at Cambridge, where she met her future husband, Ted Hughes, who was once the poet laureate.

She talked, in her letters, that girls being suicidal wasn’t taken seriously back then, and that it would even affect their chances in education and work. Her doctor cared deeply about her mental health, however, and had tried to get her admitted to hospital several times, but they would not take her. The system failed her because they didn’t care enough about her mental health. She was also subjected to electroconvulsive therapy when she was depressed, which is a really awful way to treat someone.

In one letter, she mentioned that two days before a miscarriage, her husband had beat her. Many blame Ted Hughes for her death, and some even vandalised her grave, getting rid of the surname ‘Hughes’ and replacing it with ‘Plath’. Her son also committed suicide in 2009.

Nowadays, mental health is taken more seriously, but a lot of girls are still subjected to judgement: “it’s just hormones”, “it will pass”, “you’re not depressed, just sad”, “you don’t seem it”, “this is a phase”. Sylvia Plath was failed, but she did so many beautiful poems that will always honour her memory; don’t let anyone else be failed. Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean it’s a phase, or hormones, or anything else. Even if it is, just take them seriously. Wiping them away like rain on your windscreen will cause them to isolate themselves and, eventually, they might have a similar fate to that of Sylvia. I love her writing so much but a lot of it is sad. She literally wrote about her emotions and she still didn’t get the care she needed.

This post was about girls, as it is girl’s day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget boys. They are taught to be strong pillars, but allow them to fall down. If you don’t, they might have the same fate as Sylvia Plath’s son, Nicholas.

Simple Vegan Chocolate Oreo Milkshake Recipe

So, I originally was going to follow a recipe, but I didn’t have enough resources or the right kind of resources. This meant that I made it the way I wanted to, and it was awesome! This recipe is only for one milkshake, just times the ingredients for more. If you’re allergic to soy or almonds, you can substitute them for whichever milk/ice cream you use. 

What I used:

120ml Alpro Almond Milk (not my favourite brand but it does the job)

150g Chocolate Swedish Glacé (use vanilla if you prefer that instead of a chocolate flavour)

4 Oreos

My extremely simple recipe:

1. Shove that ice cream and milk in a blender. Blend until smooth. 

2. Add 2 Oreos to the mix and blend. I did this at a lower blender setting as I wanted little bits of Oreo in my milkshake. However, I noticed some big chunks that hadn’t blended properly and had to push them to the blade halfway through. I was alright with a few chunks left in the mix.

3. I then got a sandwich bag and put the remaining 2 Oreos in it, and got a rolling pin so I could beat them up until they were tiny little bits. I sprinkled this on the top of my milkshake, a few bits accidentally missing it and going in my mouth. Unfortunate. 

4. It just about fit in my mug (I don’t drink out of glasses, but you can!) and then I drank it. It was actually delicious. 

I hope you like this recipe that is simpler than all of those ‘add this, add this, oh and this exotic ingredient’ ones on the internet. I really liked the taste. It was lovely. 🙂

Lia

Stop

Stop, my ears hurt,

Stop, no more,

Stop, my mind is screaming,

Stop, I just want peace,

a space to sleep,

a space to relax,

a place to weep —

But I can’t even do that!

Stop!

I don’t know if I can take it,

my eyes are ice-cubes

unable to melt,

and my ears are hedgehogs

never withdrawing their spikes,

thanks to you

and not stopping.

I know your selfish wants

are above my needs,

but I just want serenity.

No more yells,

disturbances,

just tranquility.

Please? Stop?

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Today I went to see Goodbye Christopher Robin in cinemas, which is about the life of the real Christopher Robin (referred to as Billy by those closest to him). Despite the fact that it was also about the origin of Winnie the Pooh (which I once chose as the wallpaper for my room), it was a very sad story in my opinion. It was about a boy who couldn’t really be himself because he had to always be Christopher Robin, not Billy. He was forced into the limelight and made to take pictures. He once even had to take a picture next to a bear!

After doing some research online, as well, I found that the story was even sadder than what was seen in the films. He grew to loathe his father and, although he visited him occasionally, I don’t think he ever forgave him. His mother refused to see him once he married his first cousin because she was on bad terms with her brother, and kept refusing to until the day she died. He also had a daughter with cerebral palsy and a heart abnormality, which ultimately cost her to die earlier than she should have, at the age of 56. I think this was probably linked to the fact he married a relative, as it is usually bad for the children’s health if you do so.

I had always had suspicions that the Winnie the Pooh characters were metaphors for mental illnesses, but after watching this film, I have come to the conclusion that they were emotions that A.A Milne felt when serving during the war. He obviously suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Although this was never mentioned, I think it makes sense, and is a clever way to address war in a subtle manner, as he always wanted to write something anti-war. He did eventually do a proper book on it, but before then, Winnie the Pooh was a way to express how he felt.

I really liked the film because it gave insight into the origins of a well-loved story, and I remember it being a big part of my childhood. It was still sad though, and Billy/Christopher Robin did get bullied for it at school, until he took up boxing. I think if his parents had shown more affection to him, maybe they wouldn’t have had such low relations later on in life. I think it is every child’s dream to be the main character in a book, but the fame that comes with it probably isn’t. It’s overwhelming and isolating. This film made that clear.

Thanks for reading!
Lia