Sebs Corrigan

Trash Mammal


Aunt Lea is letting me live in the apartment above her garage on the condition that I see a psychiatrist and start therapy again. Which is why I’m writing this. Because therapy comes with fucking homework. Like I don’t already have enough shit to do and think about everyday. Now I have to “write out all the thoughts and feelings” I have during the day. My thoughts and feelings are that I don’t want to do this. I would rather do anything else. Like eat glass. But I’m not that sick. 

Sick enough to need medication though, apparently. Aunt Lea was so excited when I came home with the little orange bottle. “Now you’ll finally have some joy in your life.” Yeah, because a starting dose of 25mg of anti-seizure medication is going to make a difference. Probably as much as the other, what, seven meds did before? So none. Well, except that one that made me actually try to kill myself. That one did do something, but, you know, the wrong something.

Supposed to do this everyday. We’ll see. Probably not. I’ll just number the entries, so I seem consistent and committed to my “healing.” Not like I’m getting graded on this, but I did spend too much money buying this off fucking Redbubble, so maybe I’ll put in some effort.


I don’t know what I’m supposed to write. Worked for a bit today. Got a quarter of the way through a blender manual, English to German. So fun. I love trying to remember which inanimate object has which genitalia, or which have none. Had dinner with Aunt Lea. She asked if I talked to my parents. Of course not. That was the point of moving into your garage. While they sold the house and are off in their new RV (because now they can finally do everything they wanted to do when they were young but couldn’t because they had a child), I get a facsimile of adulthood. In microdose. I’m not actually paying for anything. An illusion, meant to make me feel better about being a fucking loser. Because Rowan is incapable of making decisions or doing anything on their own. Because they fuck everything up. Yeah, I know. Intimately. Like I don’t spend every single second with myself. Like I’m not aware of every single thing wrong with me. 

Can’t work a real job. Can’t move out on my own. Can’t get a driver’s license. Can’t have a simple conversation without getting angry. Can’t do anything without completely fucking it up. 


Dose increased. Added meds for anxiety, beta blockers. So despite not having seizures or heart problems, I am on medication intended for both. Because that makes sense. The syncope is fun. Woke up in the middle of the night, got out of bed to go to the bathroom, and passed out. Hit my head on something. Don’t know what, but when I saw myself in the bathroom mirror, my eyebrow was bleeding. Fell at dinner too. Got up to refill my drink and went down. Smashed the glass and cut up my hand and arm in the shards. How effective can this shit be as an anti-anxiety med when I have to be worried about passing out whenever I move too fast?


I haven’t actually spoken to Lotta since I was in List auf Sylt (which I still feel is as not in Germany while still technically being in Germany as you can get, may as well just be in Denmark), other than seeing what she posts on Instagram. I mean, we like each other’s stories and send videos of frogs to each other. But I don’t know that we had a real conversation since seeing each other in person. She wanted to Zoom. So I did…which was hard because I haven’t actually spoken German since the Fulbright probably. Working solely in text and all. Anyway, she made a comic. Like it’s done, completely edited and all that, but when she posts it online (I guess she has somewhat of a following on her 4-panels because her girlfriend is an influencer or something on German/Danish TikTok. I never really thought to check how many followers she has.) she wants to post it simultaneously, in German, Danish, and English. To get better traction and make sure that scanlators can’t fuck it up. She wants me to translate it.

I told her I’d think about it. I’m busy.

Which is a lie. I think she’s just asking me because she knows me. My German’s not that good. I don’t want to misrepresent her work. She’s really talented, and she’s been talking about making a comic since I first met her. 


I like the little cushioned alcove by the window in my room. I can sit there when my back hurts from sitting at my desk. Breaks up the desk/bed dichotomy of places I put my body.

It’s nice to have my own kitchen. Especially having a dishwasher. Knowing I can just shove everything in there almost makes cooking enjoyable. Aunt Lea came up for dinner and liked the pork chops I made because they were crunchy. That’s what happens when you deep fry something in panko. That’s the point. It’s not like I did anything special.

Oh, and having a bathtub is nice too. Except now I’ve spent too much money on bath bombs from Lush. Toby’s Magic Cow is the best one though. Turmeric Latte is good too, but I swear it turns my skin yellow. And really, Lush, if you’re going to claim your products are good for sensitive skin, don’t include almond oil in them? How is something a lot of people are allergic to good for sensitive skin? They tend to go together.


I told my psych (another fucking resident, jfc, can I just see someone who already knows what they’re doing?) that the “anxiety” pills are not helping, actively making my life worse actually, and she said, “sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Your body will adjust.” Sure. Just like my body is adjusting to the ever increasing dosage of the other meds. I’m losing weight apparently. I have to get weighed at every appointment, and it’s gone down each time. It’d be nice if I actually looked like I lost it. 

Oh but that’s not very body positive of me, is it? 

How dare I dislike something about myself?


I agreed to work on Lotta’s comic with her. She told me she was going to pay me, but I said I’d rather her just mail me some snacks. The internet always says they’re in the US, but I can never find any fucking Kinder Happy Hippos. I also miss NicNacs, like every other American (without a peanut allergy) who has lived in Germany. I told her if she even thought about sending me salted licorice, I’d rewrite her whole story. 

If I wanted that kind of flavor, I’d go take a gulp of the ocean. Or lick a frat boy. 


Had a zoom brunch/dinner with Aunt Lea and Lotta. Aunt Lea wanted to meet Lotta because I’d been spending all my free time working on the comic. Also, now that I’ve seen it, it’s not a “comic.” It’s a fucking graphic novel. It’s almost three-hundred pages. I don’t know why she’s posting this online and not trying to get it published. If I had known beforehand how long it was…

It was weird having to keep translating for Lotta and Aunt Lea. Especially when they were talking about me, how much weight I’ve lost and how pale I am. And the stupid questions Aunt Lea was asking about Germany. Like if they have microwaves.

They want to do it again soon. And Lotta’s girlfriend might come too. I don’t know if I have the energy for that, but I guess Lotta’s girlfriend is learning English. 


Today my therapist told me she’s not sure how to help me. 

What am I supposed to do with that?


Idea for futuristic tech: Real life “skip intro” button that skips over having to get out of bed and dressed. Press it, and you already are. Maybe then I could be productive.


Trying to explain to my aunt that not allowing negative thoughts, smiling, or any of that toxic positivity shit is not going to fix me. And that sometimes I need to just…wallow. I don’t know. 

I feel like it’s a lot like how when you go swimming and the water’s cold, so you dunk your whole body in so your body adjusts to the temperature. The water doesn’t actually get warmer, your body just stops freaking out about it. Only way out is through or whatever, except you’re not actually getting out. You’re just surviving in the through. I guess toxic positivity is a lot like someone in a hot tub throwing hot tub water on you when you’re in the cold pool water. It’s only going to make you more aware of how cold the pool is. 

It feels like that. A lot. Like I can’t get out of the pool and the only thing I can do is get used to water. 

Wow. Look at me. Making a mental illness/water analogy without referencing drowning. Probably because drowning has an end. And this doesn’t, not really. Or maybe I’m just trying too hard. I don’t fucking know. 

I’ll just go watch Bojack again, keep fetishizing my own sadness. 


Sometimes I think people hoard family members. Why else are they so obsessed with their kids giving them grandkids? Have your children lost their novelty? You need new ones? Aunt Lea told me she can’t wait for Nat or Killian to make her a grandmother. 

I feel like everyone puts too much stock in family. They let their family members get away with horrible things because “family.”

I have no right to complain though. I only have somewhere to live because of my aunt. She wouldn’t let some rando just live with her if it weren’t her sister’s kid. So while I want nothing to do with my parents, I’m relying on my aunt to basically take care of me, and she does, willingly, because she’s my aunt. I am surviving only because of familial obligation.


The syncope is getting worse with the weight loss. So she switched me to a different blood pressure medication for my anxiety. And upped the dose of the other med. She doesn’t want to put me on actual anxiety medication until “we” figure out why I’m so anxious. 

But I just am. It just happens. If I knew why I get so overwhelmingly scared for no reason, when all I’m doing is sitting at my desk or watching TV, I’d tell her. But I don’t. It’s just something else I have to deal with. And having all these “professionals” essentially being like “hm, weird” is not helping. What the fuck am I paying them for? I can “hm, weird” myself.

Still waiting for the joy Aunt Lea is convinced I’m going to get from the medication. 


Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, because I’m now on antidepressants too and they don’t let me sleep, if I stare out the kitchen window, I can see down into the front yard and watch some raccoons knocking over the trash cans and eating from them. It’s cute. I feel like Linda, but without the husband or kids or moderately successful restaurant. I’ll have to think of names for them.

I set an alarm now to go down in the morning before my aunt gets up, so I can clean up all the trash before she sees. She’d want to put traps out or something, but they’re not hurting us. They’re just trying to live their little lives; let them eat from the trash. 


I’ve started, or have been, I don’t really know how to describe it. I remember things happening. But I can’t remember the context of it happening. I remember having a conversation, I think, about making potato salad. But I haven’t made potato salad. And I can’t remember who I was talking to about it or even when I might have been talking about it. And now, I’m not sure if I dreamt it, or I watched someone else have this conversation, or if I just completely made it up and have convinced myself it was real. 

Maybe it’s just because I can’t sleep anymore. Or because I’m still losing weight. Or because I’m also getting dizzy spells…while lying down. When I told my psych this was happening, she told me to drink less caffeine, I drink too much iced tea. And eat too much chocolate. Same amount as always, but now suddenly it’s a problem. 


Aunt Lea has started announcing herself at the door by asking if I’m wearing pants. If I’m not in the presence of other people, I’m not wearing pants. She thinks this is funny.


I’m feeling not good, worse than normal. Every interaction with Aunt Lea makes me angry. She’ll say things that she knows are going to make me angry (she literally starts conversations with, “I know this is going to make you upset…”) then gets mad at me for getting angry. I just…I don’t understand why she thinks it’s okay. Asking me if I’m looking for a different means of employment, if I’m ever going to call my parents, if I want to download a dating app…

No. I don’t. Leave me alone.

And then I feel like shit for getting angry because she’s already going out of her way for me, letting me live here, buying takeout from my favorite restaurants. But I just…why aren’t I allowed to be angry when she does something that she knows will upset me? Just because she loves me unconditionally, for some fucking reason, does that mean I have to let her keep making me angry? Or am I supposed to…I don’t know. I’m just ungrateful and taking advantage of her. I wish she’d leave me alone, so I can stop feeling bad about myself because I’m an asshole and refuse to change. Or am unwilling to work at actually changing. I don’t know. I need to sleep.

The raccoons were fighting over a chicken bone. I cut up an apple and a pear and threw them out the window for them. They’re not getting my bananas though.

“All I can do is apologize.” You could have not done it in the first place.


I think she’s lonely. Nat and Killian are successful and on their own with their lives. Maybe she’s just trying to use me as a surrogate, but I’m not my cousins. I don’t deserve the kindness. But self-pity isn’t going to do anything. Pathetic.

Go to sleep.


I keep just rereading Lotta’s book instead of translating it. I hate that I’m jealous. I wish I could do something like that. Or anything. I wish I could do fucking anything. But I can’t. I am happy for her though. I really am. It’s weird to realize the jealousy doesn’t negate the happy. They aren’t mutually exclusive. I can be both, because she is my friend.

I feel like so much of how I, or maybe it’s broader than that, was raised to believe that any negative emotion—sadness, jealousy, anger—were bad. They were bad feelings, and you were wrong to have them. I’m trying to unlearn that. 


Aunt Lea told me she’s glad therapy and the meds have been helping. I asked her when I ever said that. She said she just assumed.

Because I haven’t tried to kill myself again?

Is the bar that low?


If your psych ever asks you what moods you’ve been feeling lately, the correct answer is not “I don’t know. I’m angry all the time and everything sucks” because it’s just going to result in another dosage increase for a medication that has done nothing. 

I also told her about the memory problems. She told me the memory is probably just from being so tired, so she put me on a different antidepressant and prescribed me some sleeping pills. I hope they’re not like the ones from high school. One dried me out to the point I was leaving trails of skin flakes like breadcrumbs. The other made me insatiably hungry and thirsty. I gained so much weight…but maybe that would make me stop losing weight now. 

But it’s hard not to be happy about how skinny I am now. I feel like whole new aesthetics and types of clothing have become available. 


Was talking with Lotta again, and I asked her why she wasn’t trying to get her comic published as a graphic novel. Her girlfriend (I still have to look her up on TikTok) started yelling about how she said the same thing, that it’s so good and would absolutely get published. Lotta said she doesn’t know if she could deal with the rejection. We told her it wouldn’t get rejected. 

I’ve got about one-hundred pages translated. Translating literature is so much different than translating instruction and user manuals. Trying to toe the line between localization and rewriting the text is so hard. 


I don’t need affirmations. I need medications that actually make me feel better.


Shit. Shit shit shit. 

Lotta’s girlfriend messaged me. She sent Lotta’s comic to a publisher. She asked me to hold off on translating until she hears back. And to not tell Lotta.

I love being in no win situations. I have to tell Lotta. It’s her work, not her girlfriend’s. Even if I think there’s also a good chance of it getting published, that’s supposed to be Lotta’s decision.



Good in aesthetic, Bad in functionality: Octopus nipple rings.

Bad in aesthetic, Good in functionality: Standard bars.


Everything sucks. I told Lotta what her girlfriend told me. So now she’s mad at her girlfriend and me. I don’t…why is she angry with me? I was supposed to not tell her? I’m quasi-fired until she hears back from the publishers.

I’ve been taking the sleeping pills, multiple pills, every night, but I still barely sleep. I’m lucky if I get three hours. Sometimes I can nap during the day but everyone is telling me to stop doing that. Because that’s why I can’t sleep. But sometimes that’s the only time I get any real sleep.

Doses keep getting increased and meds switched around. Aunt Lea tells me to keep going, but I don’t think she gets it. I leave therapy feeling worse about myself because the therapist doesn’t know what she’s doing with me. The psych doesn’t care how the meds are affecting. I mean…this is what happens when you get residents. I know this is how they learn, but I’m tired of feeling like a fucking guinea pig. I just want to see someone who knows what they’re doing.

I don’t want to work anymore. I’m so tired. Staring at the computer screen has started making me nauseous. So now I’m not eating either, not real meals at least. 

Cheez-It Grooves will always be there for me.


There should be somewhere you can go to just scream. No questions, no concerns, just a soundproof room where you just…AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH. And then leave and go back to your day.


Lotta broke up with her girlfriend, who is now compulsively messaging me, calling me a spaßbremse. Yeah, I’m the fucking killjoy. Lotta’s posted multiple stories on her Instagram about how betrayed she felt by her girlfriend, and I guess now their followings are fighting with each other or something. I don’t know. I honestly don’t care. Lotta won’t talk to me, not that I’m really trying that hard. I’m still not sure what I did wrong. But I’m great at ruining things. So I’m not surprised. This is why I shouldn’t talk to people, shouldn’t even try. I’m no good at it.


Aunt Lea won’t leave me alone. She said I seem “extra sad” lately. Yeah, not eating, not sleeping, not being able to work will do that. All I can do is lay in my bed, in the alcove, on the floor. The dizziness, the syncope, the memory issue…and nothing in my head has improved. Still feel like shit. Still hate everything. Still don’t want to do anything. 

I’m spending money on meds that don’t work, therapy that’s a waste of time, my psychiatrist is juggling my meds around like a fucking clown, a literal fucking clown. A goddamn court jester without the charm.

I feel just as bad as when I was living with my parents. I thought getting away from them would be…I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Why am I even still fucking doing this?


Never tell your hospital working psychiatrist that you feel like killing yourself. That you’ve thought of taking all the pills you’ve been prescribed over that past…however many months. Because then you’ll be given the non-choice of if you’d consent to being hospitalized. If you say no, they’ll involuntarily commit you, and that looks bad. You always want to be 201’ed instead of 302’ed. And I’ve already been 302’ed once…

So like innocent people who agree to plea bargains because they are afraid of being found guilty in trial (even though they haven’t done anything), I had to agree to being hospitalized. Not that I’m trying to buy firearms, but that’s not the point. 

I feel like the point is, at no point in any of my therapy or psych appointments have I felt like I could actually be honest. And maybe that’s my fault, I don’t know how to properly communicate or trust people. But like…that’s their job. 

Even in the hospital, when I was telling them I couldn’t sleep, when I’d wave to their nurses coming down the hall with flashlights (because that’s going to help anyone sleep), I wasn’t allowed to be given anything. When I would try to explain that I wasn’t eating because I felt nauseous all the time, that the lights were too bright and making it worse, the TV in the corner of the lounge was making it worse, they made me a consult with a nutritionist and a dietician because of my “eating disorder.” My disorder is that the fucking medications are making me this way. 

Before I was miserable, but I was functioning. Now I’m still miserable, and even completely useless. But no one gets that. Even Aunt Lea. I tried so many times to explain to her that I want to stop the meds because they make me feel so, so bad, but she said if I didn’t stay on them I’d be “breaking our agreement.” The agreement was therapy and a psychiatrist, not medications (even if that’s all psychs do…).

I just…


I feel like every attempt I make to be better, to be healthy, backfires. Any progress I make, if I’ve ever actually made progress, is temporary. I’ll have a good week or two, be productive, start enjoying things, then everything just…drops. And it’s like I never even tried. 

And knowing that this is it, this is what I get to deal with for the rest of my life, is depressing in and of itself. Some people get to live, and some of us have to maintain. But what benefit is maintaining my life really? What am I getting out of this?


I haven’t gotten any better in the weeks since getting out of the hospital. I’m just as unwell with an insane medical bill on top of it (which is totally not making it worse at all, nope).

But I saw online, from the woman I worked under when I was teaching in Germany, that she moved to Bavaria and is in charge of a private high school that specializes in language learning. They sponsor visas for their teachers. I know I won’t get the job, but…I want to be hopeful.


I think I’m done with this for real now. Nothing’s changed. I haven’t had any revelations from writing down my feelings. No fucking epiphanies. It’s just been extra work, and I am exhausted from putting in the work for no payoff. This fucking notebook is just something else I’ve wasted money on. Onto the bookshelf you go. Maybe I’ll fill you with stickers like when I was a little kid. 


Aunt Lea finally sent the last of my things. I hope she didn’t read this. But I didn’t get a frantic call at midnight to see if I’m okay (because she still can’t figure out the time difference even though I put it on her phone).

I’d like to say that getting the job and moving back to Germany has made me happier. Well, it has, in a way. Maybe it’s just the novelty of physical change, but things feel slightly more bearable. Which, honestly, I think is the best I can hope for anymore. And I stopped the meds as soon as I got my visa. I’m not dizzy anymore or passing out. Gained back the weight, which is upsetting, but…

I just need to get used to the water. I can’t get in the hot tub, I can’t get “cured.” So…I think this is it. This is all I’ve got waiting for me. 


Saw a poster at a bookstore today. An advertisement for a meet-and-greet with Lotta Janssen to discuss her debut work.

Maybe I’ll go.

Read previous
Read next

Sebs Corrigan has an undergraduate degree in Japanese Studies and an MFA in fiction writing, but they are currently working in Molecular Diagnostics as a Technical Laboratory Assistant.