GIRL NEXT DOOR
Episode 1: Diagnosis
Two friends discuss living with mental & chronic illness while leaving our continent to study in the strange world of prestigious institutions in the heart of the British Empire complex.
When Sarah Lubala & I first met, we'd already been living next door to each other in halls of residence at the University Still Known as Rhodes in South Africa for six months. She studied English & Law. I studies Politics & Drama. We became friends quickly - we both loved the written word; when we were in res, we spent all our time in our rooms; and although we didn't yet have all the language we needed for it, we were both already living with illness.
It's been almost a decade since then. Despite how bruised it has left us, neither of us have quite shaken that yen to learn. 6 years ago, Sarah went on to do her Masters at the London School of Economics - as she puts it, realising "this is where all the money went," while walking through Central London. I went to do mine at the University of Oxford in 2018. Both of us nearly died during our time there, as our well-versed conditions (including complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from childhood trauma) imploded in the clay oven of alienation, neglect and structural racism, on the other side of the world.
This podcast, swear words and all, is part of us dealing with the aftermath of that; telling the truth about the unique challenges of these elite spaces; and part us finding time for a chat. They draw on our particular experiences, but hopefully have meaning for those striving to live life with mental or chronic illness; break stigma that still shrouds these topics and induces brutal shame; and testify to the life-saving nourishment of empathy and friendship. At present, they are simply the audio of us talking over Skype - hence any sound challenges.