MADGRRLS, Women's Voices in Mental Health

The MadGrrls email list was established in 1997; a derivative of the original Madness  list.

The list conversations are about many things; the women on the list all have the experience of being psychiatrically labelled (or likely to be) in common. The list membership is diverse: many countries, many perspectives (from the value of meds to sexual preferences), many voices. We are women who have moodswings, fears, voices and visions, and we share a fundamental respect for the diversity contained within that experience.

Our membership numbers fluctuate as does our volume, we can be very chatty with upwards of one hundred messages a day or we can be quiet with only a few.  As a discussion list our topics vary widely, we are not limited to mental health issues. 

Members wrote recently in response to a request about what prospective members should be told via this page:

They need to know that this is by far the best home anyone could have on the internet, and as such it must be treated with awe, respect, and a total lack of reverence.  This is place that can fill many needs, if you allow it to.  You grrls are like family to me, only better.  You act as a sounding board, as playmates, and as significant reality checks.  You're unflaggingly supportive of me -- even when I don't feel I'm deserving of support.

Above all, madgrrls is a place to be heard.  I can say the silliest
little thing here and even if it doesn't elicit an enormous response, I
feel confident that my voice is getting out there, that the silence
won't engulf me, and that I matter.

God, I'm going to sound all squishy and mushy, when this isn't always a snuggly, warm place.  After all, we can be pretty cruel:  Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl.....
(please note: this is an in-joke you will need to join to understand, sorry about that.)

We have some pretty hard discussions in here, but they feel very safe. I know that no one here will ever attack me, and that's significant in a world where it's hard to find a place that is both acceptable and accepting.

I want each of the grrls and prospective grrls to know that the only
way to be heard is to make some noise.  We seem intimidating to
newbies, I'm sure.  We all know one another pretty well and we're like a giant slumber party.  It's all in good fun and will always try to be careful not to put your eye out with that.

This list is just as important a home to me as my own physical, real
house is.  It's not perfect.  It needs a little paint sometimes.  The
plumbing rattles a bit when it's cold, but it's very, very comfy.

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Madgrrls is my morning ritual -- a moment of connection, thought and giggles before I start my day. Sometimes it's my lifeline, a place
where I can spill out all my chaos and know that I'll be understood.
It's a place I can turn to for practical advise, philosophical
pondering, tech help; a place where even my stupidest puns are
forgiven. Through Madgrrls, I've come to know women I would never have met in my day to day life, and my life is enriched by their perspectives.

~~~~~~~~~~

This list saved my life

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Each morning I wake up, stumble to the kettle and then to the computer.  As I drink my coffee I read what my family of choice has been up to on the other side of the world while I slept.  I often laugh, sometimes cry, always feel part of something and connected in a very real way to these women scattered in places I may never see.  MadGrrls is the place that gave me life, I safely explored concepts that had never been safe before, I was challenged, stretched, held and made fun of when I needed it most. MadGrrls is magic. We are family.

~~~~~~~~~~

As a new person, I struggle sometimes to keep track of everybody. It
used to feel weird to have such intimate conversations with people I
don't know very well. I was stuck for a little while in this guilt
thing, feeling like I wasn't qualified to post because I didn't know
anybody's history, yet feeling bad that I wasn't posting more. I found
recently that if I just get into the habit of posting as much as
possible, even if its just chatty and not particularly insightful, it
becomes easier to learn more about everyone, and to eventually have more intelligent things to say.
 

 

If you are interested in joining the MadGrrls list, please refer firstly  to our MadGrrls guide and netiquette and if you think you can live under it on list please write to the owners (Kathryn McNulty & Sara Clarke) at 
madgrrls-request@listserv.icors.org  and we will let you know what we need to proceed. As a private list the owners need to get to know you a little before you can become a member. We try not to be too tedious or scary   ;-)