Friday 9 September 2022

Friday Fics Fix - This Fic Understands Mental Health Problems

Warning: this post discusses eating disorders, general mental health problems, and realted symptoms and themes

'Normally, when Mac had a problem, all it took was some spare parts and a Swiss Army knife...'

'Fics Fix!' with purple background and white lightning bolt shape

I thought, before reading this, that I wouldn't ever end up recommending it.

Honestly? I figured from the syopsis and tags on AO3 for this fic, that it would probably be trauma porn - which I've been known to indulge in when the need arises, but wouldn't y'know, recommend to anyone. 

Not least because trauma porn is often really poorly written, exploitative, and gratuitous.

I was wrong. This fic is freaking amazing.

And the fic author saying this was the first fic they started... wow!

OK, so this fic is from the MacGyver fandom

 - modern MacGyver, not the 1980s, impressive hair, Richard Dean Anderson stuff.

For those of you who are entirely unfamiliar - MacGyver's a typical action-adventure TV spy thing, except the main character, MacGyver (Mac), uses science and the power of household objects to get him and his team out of numerous scrapes.

It's not the kind of situation I would've naturally looked at and thought... I wonder what would happen if MacGyver had an eating disorder?

But I am so glad that the fic author decided to do it!

This is novel-length - gotta love that dedication! - and well-written.

(You know that's an almost guaranteed rec, right there.)

And the writer has a confidence - with the prose, the topics, and the characters - that means that the meshing together of the source material and the theme of eating disorders somehow... works.

Like, it really works.

On a personal note, I found a lot of the issues Mac had in this fic with self-worth and distorted thinking were um... pretty damn familiar.

Mental health problems do not occur in a vacuum - there's a lot of overlap between different disorders and issues.

And while I can't speak for the accuracy of the unique-to-eating-disorders aspects of this fic, the parts where it overlapped with my own experiences of Depression and Anxiety were amazingly accurate.

...And helpful.

MacGyver: Yeah. No, I hear you.
Via Giphy

This fic just has an understanding of mental health problems - and the pressure to mask them - that I've very rarely seen explored so compassionately and astutely.

A big feature of this fic is Mac's internal dialogue, and I swear to God, some of it could have been transcribed from actual arguments I've had with myself. 

And I hadn't realised, until reading this fic and reading the internal dialogue, how lonely the feeling of 'no-one knows what this experience is like' had gotten. 

Just the feeling of understanding from this fic helped to alleviate the loneliness related to that experience that I hadn't even noticed was there.

People who haven't dealt with mental health problems might think, 'well, if you didn't know it was there, it wasn't bothering you,' - but that's not actually true. 

Our brains are amazingly complex things, and even when you don't know you're feeling something, it will be taking up space and energy in your head - and releasing that makes a big difference.

This fic has some SPOILERS for the earlier series, up to Desi's first series as a team member.

...But if you're not familiar with the show, this is one you could probably still read and have it make sense, so long as you're not the kind of person who needs to know everything about every detail mentioned.

Please mind the Content Warnings for this one, it deals with a lot of heavy stuff:

* = MAJOR warning

- eating disorders*

- binging and purging*

- vomit*

- starvation and malnutrition*

- blood

- injury

- cancer

- suicidal thoughts

- passive suicidality

- hospitalisation

- in-patient mental health treatment

- body image issues

- self-worth and self-esteem issues

- Ableism

- internalised Ableism

- internalised fatphobia/body-shaming

- family issues

- poisoning

- dissociation

- Anxiety symptoms

References to:

- kidnap

- military service

- bombs

- general violence

- sexual assault

- child sexual abuse

...I think that's it. But be extra careful with this one, dearest nerdlets!

This week's fic, then, is:

The Feeling of Fakin' It by Pigeonsplotinsecrecy

Friday Fics Fix is taking a break next week and will be back on 23rd September 2022

Have you read any fanfiction where you never would've come up with the premise the fic author has come up with? (Clean-ish please!)

Do you know of any stories - any format - where the creator/s clearly get mental health problems?

Talk to me! 😊💬

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  1. I've read a few books where the authors seem to get OCD, like Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. Those little details automatically make me like a series better!

    1. Not sure whether that one's on my TBR - if it's not I'll have to add it! :)


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