Pro Tem is the Bilingual Newspaper of Glendon College. Founded in 1962, it is York University’s oldest student-run publication, and Ontario’s first bilingual newspaper. All content is produced and edited by students, for students.

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Pro Tem est le journal bilingue du Collège Glendon. Ayant été fondé en 1962, nous sommes la publication la plus ancienne de l’Université York ainsi que le premier journal bilingue en Ontario. Tout le contenu est produit et édité par les étudiants, pour les étudiants.

I Am Mentally Sound

I Am Mentally Sound

On Bell Let’s Talk Day in 2018 I received numerous messages from various individuals who usually ostracize me with regards to mental health, contacting me and pretending to be concerned. In 2019, during Bell Let’s Talk Day, I made sure to turn my phone off. I did not want to be an object that people use for a day so they could feel like a caring individual. In Jamaica, where I grew up, “mental illness” does not exist—you are either considered sane or mad, and frankly, no one wants to be associated with a mad person. Mental disorders exist in Canada, but it would seem as if it is only recognized if a person is diagnosed by a qualified professional. Currently, I do not have a documented mental disorder and as such, “I am mentally sound.”

I have been mentally sound as far as I can remember. During infancy, I used to bump my head violently in concrete walls and massacre a few inanimate objects around me whenever my parents would invalidate my feelings and order me to obey their commands. Usually, I was reprimanded because in Jamaican culture my behaviour was considered excessively rude, even though a lot of the time I was an obedient and well-behaved child. I have memories of them saying, “yaw gwaan suh, caw yuh cyaan hurt we an yaw try dweet” (“you are acting this way because you are trying to hurt us, but you cannot”). Afterwards, I would be beaten by them for “trying to hurt them” because they believed that “I am mentally sound.”

I remember my mother taking me to a doctor’s office for him to counsel me about my villainous and destructive behavior. I cannot remember this man’s face or the sound of his voice, but I can still recall his heroic words: “Why are you doing this? Stop it! If you continue you will damage your brain and die.” My mother then reiterated what he said and that was it. Round of applause as I never bumped my head deliberately into a wall ever again. Super Doctor flying away in a rain of cash with his white cape dancing in the wind of narcissism. This proved that I was indeed an unruly child with no issues because “I am mentally sound.”

As I transitioned from infancy to adulthood, I became even more mentally sound. I upgraded to thumping the concrete walls. Many times, I would slap or punch myself in the face. I reigned havoc on many valuable items I owned; ripping them to shreds, breaking them, or punching their screens out. I have found myself on the ship of life walking the plank and falling into the sea of despair countless times. Then riddled by the shark’s mouth: “you are in this predicament because you are agnostic. Pray and God will help you,” “you are too negative,” “you are making me sad. Please stop embarrassing yourself,” “everyone has depression. People choose to be depressed because they refuse to have gratitude.” The most painful was, “you are trying to hurt me,” expressed on the phone by one of the same individuals who said it while I was an infant. Immediately, I broke my phone; threw my laptop and kicked over a standing lamp and started to punch myself in the face because “I am mentally sound.”

“I am mentally sound” to the point that I do not practice “self-harm” by cutting myself. Instead, I frequently practice “self-care” by laying in bed wrapped up in anxiety and depression for days while involuntarily going on a fast that I hope will bolt me beyond the finishing line. My passion is like a free-spirited whale that lurks in the depths of the darkest blue or on the surface of the shimmering turquoise horizon. “I am mentally sound.”

In Canada, now and then a few "mentally stable" people hallucinate and think that I am unwell and beg me to waste the precious time of a hardworking mental health practitioner. Realizing how my excessive “self-care” is negatively affecting my courses, I tried desperately to secure academic accommodation. Seemingly, I need to be diagnosed with at least one of the listed mental health disorders to be qualified for that option. I chuckled as I looked at this list intensively because most Jamaicans would call me “mad” for acknowledging its existence. I am not diagnosed with any of these mental health disorders. “I am mentally sound.”


It’s not About The Mental Healthcare—It’s The Inaccessibility of The University Itself

It’s not About The Mental Healthcare—It’s The Inaccessibility of The University Itself

The Importance of Responsible Media Consumption

The Importance of Responsible Media Consumption