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The Sun Magazine

Body and Mind

Mental Health

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Waterbugs

If you’re not familiar with waterbugs, if you’ve confused them with some kind of delicate creature that skips along the surface of a lake, you are adorable. Waterbugs are enormous cockroaches. Specifically they are two to four inches long: meaty, definitive proof that there is no God.

The Sun Interview

The Long Shadow

Bruce Perry On The Lingering Effects Of Childhood Trauma

One of the most important variables, in my experience, is when things happen. If you experience emotionally disengaged caregiving, humiliation, or a sense of being unwanted in the first year or two of life, even if you then escape that environment — maybe you’re adopted, or your parent who was depressed gets better — that early experience can still cause profound social and emotional problems for you all the way into adulthood. On the other hand, kids who have a good first year of consistent, predictable caregiving and then end up in shelters or foster homes and bounce around the system, maybe get sexually and physically abused, and so on — those children often function reasonably well as adolescents.

Fiction

The Unified Conspiracy Theory

I had been coming to the Nite Owl almost every day, because it was the only place I could get my research done. It was nice of my sister to put me up in her apartment and everything, but living with her was making it difficult to continue looking for the Pattern, because her television didn’t work. I’d tried the electronics store, but they’d gotten wise to me real quick. The only place I could watch free cable TV for as long as I wanted was that diner where pretty much no one ever came.

The Sun Interview

Who Are You Calling Crazy?

Gary Greenberg On How We Define Mental Illness — And How It Defines Us

Mental illness is a function of consciousness, and consciousness is something we see through a glass darkly. We simply are not prepared to understand it with the same certainty that we are prepared to understand, say, liver disease.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Unlocked

My mother regularly told me, Heather, if you are ever in danger and I’m not there, make your way to a house with flowers. The flowers show they care and are kind and will help.

It didn’t occur to me until years later that we had not a single bloom in our yard.