WTF is the deadline?

If you have to torture yourself to listen to this. It’s basically what is written below, but it’s just for value add and I hate my voice, so there’s that. So, yeah.

The Deadline is video, podcast and blog project (and eventually community theatre project), taking you on a darkly humorous boutique distillery tour that crosses representations like “Who do you think you are?”, “Time Team”, “Drunk History” with “What we do in the Shadows”.  Let’s talk about what is hidden in our family history closets and mock the crap out of the government policy and the inane and outdated social conventions that drive stigma and taboo.

Now before you go ballistic about how “you can’t laugh at that!”, people often laugh through trauma as a way to cope. And we won’t be laughing at people’s experience unless it’s something a family member found funny and is prepared to share with you…and you are not that wanker whose going to tell them they can’t laugh at this are you? We will mock the hells out of the system along the way.

If you would like to read a bit about how community arts and good mental health practice here’s a little taster for you:

Keller, S.; McNeill, V.; Honea, J.; Paulson Miller, L. A Look at Culture and Stigma of Suicide: Textual Analysis of Community Theatre Performances. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 352. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/3/352#cite

About the author of this site: I’m Jacci Pillar, a presenter somewhere between Louis Theroux and John Safran but a lot queerer than both.  “The Deadline: Of Death and Gin”; is a hybrid arts project that combines autobiography, anthropological ethnography and comedy. 

Why do this? It all started with a family history of laughing about “things you shouldn’t laugh about” in order to heal through some big family crises. My family has been plagued with mental health and addiction issues, often hidden with such ferocity it was comical. Then I began unwrapping the family history in 2005…

Two founding ancestors of a Brady lineage in Australia, John and Bridget were goldrush brewery owners in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia.  (Irish-much?) John died in 1887 from “a wound to the throat after being in a state of insanity”.  His wife, Bridget, died a few years later with an enlarged liver, a typical drinker’s death.  My great grandmother, Jane Brady, was left to die in Sunbury Mental Hospital in 1945, and while her connection of the original lineage is unclear, this is because of the erasure of mental health histories and social stigma. Jane and extended family claimed to be direct descendants of a John and Bridget, but other family members dispute this. Jane’s records are vague and require more investigation.

Regardless, the Deadline is not about family history, it’s about family secrets and how and why they shouldn’t be secret and it’s about understanding social history. How family secrecy doesn’t help us heal, demonizes and excludes people and reinforces dangerous stigma about mental health and addiction.

RESEARCH IS SAYING THIS TRAUMA COULD BE both INHERITED and a result of experience, WHICH LED ME TO ASK, AM I DOOMED?

Image is a gif of the character Bernard from BBC series Black Books (played by Dylan Moran). He is spinning around from bookshelf and saying “You don’t beat around the bus do you?”

We all talk about good mental health but then hand our depressed relative a drink in the corner at Christmas and hope they’ll go away.  Let’s face it, we’ve all got that Uncle or Aunt.  For my family that person is me. 

If you’ve ever rung a suicide hotline late at night, you’ll realise lack of funding mean you are more likely to get on hold music than rapid help. 

The voice message should say “Please try and restrict your suicidal thoughts to between the hours of 8.30am and 4.30pm, when we have the resources to deal with you.  We are sorry for the inconvenience.  Have a nice night.

Research has also shown how stigma, shame and lack of services, push people to further harm.

If we want people to keep living so much, why are we literally killing people with shame? 

Could modern mental health and addiction services be like the self-fulfilling bungled social policy of promises unmet, the ultimate spin.  “The Deadline” takes a personal look at what we’ve learned anything in the last 200 years.  

Worse, could the idea that we inherit our trauma be taken on board by people so deeply that it replaces ideas like fate and destiny? Or self-fulfilling prophecy?

I sincerely hope not!

Take a journey with me through The Deadline, from my great great grandfather’s 19th century brewery to now – using comedy, history, family stories,  picking researcher’s brains and gin! Don’t forget the gin!

Content will include literary blogposts and some little film and podcast projects as we get out to Kilmore and Sunbury later this year and do some history investigation like:

  • Interviews with experty type people
  • Interviews, oral histories and stories from other Irish-Australian families with similar intergenerational mojo
  • Interviews with people who perform about dark topics
  • Whatever else I think of.

Weekly posts and updates as the project develops coming soon…

IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, HAVING A PERSONAL CRISIS OR HAVING THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE, CONTACT LIFELINE ON 13 11 14

YOU CAN CALL THEM 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK FROM ANYWHERE IN AUSTRALIA.

LOOKING FOR INFORMATION OR SUPPORT SERVICES ON ALCOHOL OR DRUGS AND NOT SURE WHERE TO BEGIN? CALL THE AUSTRALIAN DRUG AND ALCOHOL FOUNDATION 1300 85 85 84 TO SPEAK TO A REAL PERSON.

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