A Convenient Time for a Mental Breakdown

Graphic by Juliette Baxter

Stacy is a 3rd year arts/law, Sydney expat cliché at ANU. Stacy is overcommitted, overachieving and under-sleeping. Stacy has anxiety. On the 23rd of March, Stacy committed a cardinal sin and missed a friends 21st and now has been banished to the Highlands. I sat down with Stacy to set the record straight.

Reporter:         So Stacy, why do you hate your friend?

Stacy:               I do-

Reporter:         Why do you think your time is more valuable than everyone else’s?

Stacy:               It’s not like t-

Reporter:         So, you would admit to complete culpability?

Stacy:               NO!

Reporter:         *GASP*

Stacy:               It’s not my fault Clara only gave me 37 weeks warning for her 21st! As much as she acts like it, she isn’t supreme leader of the world. Her picking a day does not magic away all my other incredibly important and prestigious commitments that also fall on that day. Take, for example, my 4,000-word essay; or my admin law exam; or having a job interview at 8am the next morning. *sigh* As the cursed day approached, I got more and more stressed about all the work I had not been able to do. I rued the day I prioritised Bachie over my studies. However, a Lannister always pays their debts, so I decided to stick to my word and attend. Unfortunately, about an hour before the party, my laptop wiped the 1,000 words of the essay I had managed to do. And since that wasn’t bad enough, I then proceeded to have 132 consecutive panic attacks!

Reporter:         *GASP*

Stacy:               Of course, the first thing I did was to call Clara to explain (after all, she had forgiven Ali for missing the party to go on a date with a random tinder boy), but Clara wouldn’t have it!

Reporter:         Is this true? Clara – how did you respond to the news that your friend chose to have a panic attack instead of celebrating your birthday?

Clara:               Look Jim, I was hurt, and I told her that. It was incredibly inconsiderate for her to pick today of all days. It was meant to be my special day. So, I told her she was out of the group and blocked her on Facebook.

Reporter:         Strong response – fair, but strong. So, what I’ve gathered from your story today, Stacy – and correct me if I’m wrong – is that you hate Clara and you don’t care about your friends or being a decent person?

Sadly, the transcript ends there as Stacy chose that point to throw a drink in my face and leave. Yet, this troubling interview of Stacy’s self-obsession and pure selfishness accidently led me on a thought provoking journey. I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe there was more to it. So, while smoking a joint, I thought about when it was (and was not) a convenient time to have a mental breakdown. Here’s what I gathered…

Inconvenient times:

  1. During your 1-hour international law exam where your lecturer doesn’t believe in mental illness and fails you;
  2. 10 minutes before your IR essay is due and the lecturer says you should have informed her of the panic attack earlier even though it happened just then;
  3. During sex, enough said.

Convenient times:

  1. There really aren’t any, are there?

Supposedly, having a moral at the end of a story is desirable (well, at least according to a 1-hour journalism lecture I attended). So, with that being said: if you find someone else’s mental illness inconvenient for you, it’s probably a hell of a lot more inconvenient for them!

KIDDING! The moral is obviously that if you’re stressed, you should do some yoga and stop being stressed, because it’s just that easy, right?

**note this story is entirely fictionalised because my real life makes for far less interesting satire articles.