Saraƒin is a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, and mad identified person. Asylum Squad, the webcomic, was born during a year long stay in a Toronto mental institution as a creative means of passing Saraƒin’s time. She will be selling her work at the Mad Hatter Street Fair and Marketplace.
What are you most excited about with your new book, Asylum Squad: The Jung Ones 2?
I am excited, as I always am, at the prospect of making new fans, and advancing the storyline. This book was the most action packed in the series thus far, and was a joy to work on.
What do we need to know from previous issues to understand the new book?
It helps to have at least read The Jung Ones pt 1, even better to have read Monster Hospital 1 & 2. There are recaps in each new volume of events that occurred in previous books. Basically, at this point, Liz Madder and company are well into the Ajna Project: an experimental drug treatment program based on Jungian psychiatry, that they signed up for, and were accepted into, during their stay at St Dymphna’s psychiatric hospital.
How do you describe your experience with madness?
I do not like psychiatric labels, for I have been given many in my life, and none of them seemed to stick or describe me very well. I prefer to use the term Mad, even though I don’t consider myself a “sufferer of mental illness” – rather, I feel that I see the world through an unusual perspective due to a form of spiritual emergency that started in my mid 20s.
What does Mad Pride mean to you?
I like Mad Pride a lot because of the friends I’ve made, the empowerment I’ve felt, and the acceptance of knowing there are others like me who like talking back to psychiatry after years of being shuffled around in the system, being misdiagnosed over and over again, and experiences with overmedicalization and abuse. I am not anti-psychiatry per se, but I am highly critical of the system we’re currently stuck with. I also like how Mad Pride celebrates neurodiversity, instead of just talking about “mental illness” and “stigma” like most awareness campaigns do.
What’s the best way to work with or resist the psychiatric system?
Don’t get angry! Well, don’t let the anger consume and control you, anyway. Channel your anger creatively, find creative and empowering ways to talk back to the system, or even to work with it. Make allies. Shop around for good therapy – it took me years to find the right fit for my own issues.
How do you get or give support to people experiencing crises or distress? (In person, call them, draw, send them to doc, peer support groups)
I try to lend an ear when someone comes to me with a problem – I don’t always have the greatest advice, as I am still working through my own set of issues, but I try to advise where I can. I believe that whatever works is what’s best for a person. Some find psychiatric labelling empowering – I am not one of these people, but I understand that others are out there who do agree with their labels, and I respect that.
What super power would you like to have?
It may sound boring, but one power I’ve always wanted was to be able to understand any language I hear, including what animals communicate. I thought that would be pretty useful. 🙂
Thanks to Saraƒin. Her new book is Asylum Squad The Jung Ones 2