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Housewife headache. Digital image on bone china plate.

I love this vintage advertisement for the treatment of a condition known as ' Housewife headache' so it just had to become part of my Sick Selfie series. It seems that all these these years I thought my permanent headache and fatigue was as a result of a neurological condition when really it was just caused by  'boredom and emotional fatigue'. Who knew?

The advert  goes on to say.....'making beds, getting meals, acting as family chauffeur, tiresome work day after day- is a mild form of torture. These boring but necessary tasks can bring on nervous tension, fatigue and what is now known as housewife headache'.  It ends with....'see if you don't feel better all over with a brighter outlook after taking 2 Anacin tablets'. 

Where, oh where can I get this wonder drug cure for boredom, pain, cooking, cleaning, driving, tension, torture, fatigue and bed making.....

I want to feel better and have a brighter outlook and I want it now!!!!!

Posted by Jane McCormick, 27 August 2014

Last modified by Jane McCormick, 27 August 2014

Sick Selfies @ Centred

Sick Selfies @ Centred 
After a year of trial, error and some epic fail, fail better scenarios, not to mention a prolonged bats in the belfry intermission, I finally got some Sick Selfies images onto bone china plates for Ceramic Ireland's Exhibition which opened in Dublin last week.

Couldn't have done it without the support of my unpaid P.A. Joe and the lovely Tina from Ceramic Ireland who shared her knowledge of digital printing for ceramics and encouraged me every step of the way........and of course Jessie, Robbie and friends who attended the opening in my place, talked the talked and drank more than my share of the wine as instructed.

Yes, indeed I was too sick to go to the Sick Selfie bone china plates launch.... same old, same old, but happy all at the same time.

Centered is on at the Farmleigh House Gallery, Phoenix Park, Dublin until October 7th.

Posted by Jane McCormick, 19 August 2014

Last modified by Jane McCormick, 21 August 2014

Under fire

The head is under fire from all angles today... peace process talks appear to have broken down. Am thinking of digging a tunnel to get behind enemy lines but don't have the energy, interest or tools required.... maybe tomorrow... internal and external weather conditions permitting... or not, as the case might be.

Posted by Jane McCormick, 6 August 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 13 August 2014


Stretch your legs, partake of some refreshments and talk amongst yourselves till I get back.  

I should warn you though, I may be some time.

Posted by Jane McCormick, 19 July 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 21 July 2014

Too anxious to go to the Anxiety Festival

Earlier this year I was too sick to attend the Sick Festival in Brighton and last month I was too anxious to attend the Anxiety Festival in London. Whatever next....

Too tired to go to the Chronic Fatigue Festival, too sad to go to the Depression Festival or too sore to go to the Pain Festival.

This is a sad state of affairs indeed and I decided to address it by sending an email to the Anxiety Festival asking if they were planning to live stream any of their events so that people with anxiety could become part of the audience from the comfort of their own home.

After all, it is their Festival. In doing this I was half joking but fully in earnest at the same time and I really did not expect to get a reply so I was nicely suprised to get a swift response from the Festival Projects Assistant.  

Here is a quote from her email: 

"We really do understand the importance of reaching people who cannot attend and it’s been something we’ve thought about along the way. Unfortunately we have been unable to record or film the events this year but it’s something we do hope to change in the future." 

She also sent me links to any online reviews and publicity for the event which I attach below. Thank you Scarlett. So hang on in there all you who are in pain, or are too sick, or fatigued, or depressed, or anxious, or immobile, or all of the above (and I sure hope no one has all of the above), maybe by next year we will go to our bespoke festivals.... virtually, if nothing else.

Here are some articles/videos/photos to get a flavour of what the festival has been like. You may have seen all of these already! News clip of Anxiety Fanfare rehearsal and interviews-

Article on festival:
The Assessment article and interview -

Errol Francis, Director, article:

Manual Oracle review:

Solaris- Time Out:
Outside In Q&A with Dizziness of Freedom artist:
Video of Liz Atkin performance ‘Curdled’:
Union Dance in Brixton -

Posted by Jane McCormick, 9 July 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 14 July 2014

I am not your inspiration, thank you very much.

Stella young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair - a fact that she doesn't, she'd like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity.  In this talk Young breaks down societys habit of turning disabled people into 'inspiration porn. (Text from ted talk home page).

There is nothing I can add to this as the video says it all....except have a look see and be inspired to be uninspiring!

Posted by Jane McCormick, 14 June 2014

Last modified by Jane McCormick, 14 June 2014

Bats in the belfry

Bats in the belfry  Meaning: 1580s, "pertaining to bats" from bats, slang sense "nuts, crazy" is attested from 1903, from the expression (to have) bats in (ones) belfry, also meaning "not right in the head" (1901)

This time last year we had a huge colony of bats in our attic. The 'bat man' from the wildlife trust said it was probably a nursery for baby bats for miles around and we should be honoured that they choose our attic as their summer residence. What may be lovely in a barn is not not so lovely in your living space.

The smell resulting from thousands of bats and their baby's using your attic insulation as their en suite is unbelievably awful, especially on hot days. On top of that the little feckers  began wriggling through tiny cracks in the attic into my studio space below where I found them lurking in drawers, behind seat cushions, under tables, stuck to gaffa tape and occasionally floating tits up in the water basin.

Did you know it's illegal to be in pocession of a dead bat in Ireland?  Anyway, dead or alive they had to be evicted from the studio space almost daily over the summer months and not by me I might add. The sound of me screaming was the signal for my husband Joe to humanely relocate them outdoors where he hung them from a bush by their tiny creepily human like hands.

These little darlings are an endangered species so you can't remove them from their chosen roost during the breeding season. All you can do is apply for a 'licence to move' so that when they leave to go to where ever they go for winter.... Ibiza perhaps.... you can block up the holes so that they can't get back in when they return.

This we did this by the book and so when they came back this year and found they could no longer get into the attic (and they tried very, very hard ) they decided to roost in my belfry.  The belfry bat is definitely not endangered. The country is overrun with them, ever on the lookout for a vacant host to roost in and no one, not even the 'bat man', wants bats in their belfry. These bats are not 'cute' or in need of protecting. They are a scourge, a curse, an affliction and a torment. They breed anxiety, dread, fear and depression and need to be flushed out before they have time to multiply and infest the entire host. In these enlightened days it's o.k to admit openly that you want rid of the bats in your belfry and by whatever means possible, fair or foul.  I have just applied for a licence to kill......because this time it's personal. 

Posted by Jane McCormick, 5 June 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 June 2014

The bitch is back

As a child I was afraid of the dark. The bedroom I shared with my sister was awash with monsters and murderers  of all description. They mainly resided under the bed but there were also quite a few squeezed into the roomy corner wardrobe as well as behind the curtains.

The presence of my sister helped not a wit. We each managed our night terrors alone. She kept fear and insomnia at bay by sneaking the dog into her bed while I slept with my head under the covers barely able to breath.

I was working on the theory that if I couldn't see the monsters they couldn't see me. This strategy seemed to work well as I was neither murdered or savaged by monsters in all the years I lived in the family home.  I am not sure where the monsters went when I grew up.... all I know is they were gone for a very long time and then, without as much as a by your leave, they came back.

The monsters of adulthood don't  hide under the bed or in wardrobes or even confine themselves to the hours of darkness like normal monsters.... their stomping ground is the early morning hours around dawn.  These bitches don't hide, they descend and loom, terrorising from within. I do so wish I could put them back under the bed where they belong.

Posted by Jane McCormick, 17 May 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 20 May 2014

Private and confidential

I was delighted to find out last week that this piece was accepted for Creative futures Tight Modern travelling exhibition which I heard about through DAO.  

It's a self portrait I made in 2012 on a hospital appointment letter. It got a new lease of life recently as a piece of wearable misery art when I made a badge out of it.

I really like the idea of someone I don't know wearing a piece of my misery... would that it might lighten the load.

Posted by Jane McCormick, 9 May 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 9 May 2014

Not half right

Living with a neurological disorder that involves head pain there are many times when I don't feel quit right. Sometimes it's from pain and the general sense of brain disorder that goes with the territory and sometimes it's from the depression that is also part of the package.

'She/he is not half right' is a popular Irish saying to describe someone who has mental health issues but there are others that work equally well like 'Bad with the nerves' or 'Not all there' or, my particular favourite, 'There's just a little want..' Anything to avoid using the dreaded word Depression.

There are special delivery techniques for these sayings... they can either be whispered through a cupped hand or better still, the even less subtle 'out of the side of the mouth' method... best delivered with a knowing nod and wink towards the poor soul who happens to be 'not half right'. 

Posted by Jane McCormick, 15 April 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 16 April 2014

Sick selfie on virgin

Holy wells specialising in the curing of specific diseases can be found all over Ireland. Such illness are often reflected in the names given to the wells: Tobar na sul (the eye well); Tobar na plaighe (the well of the plague); Tobar na ngealt (the well of the insane) to name but a few. 

Last weekend I took the waters at St Mullins well in County Carlow which is said to have the cure of both the headache and the plague. I left a sick selfie on the virgin as a offering.

I can declare a miracle... I have not had the plague since I was at the well... as for the headache... well... the less said about that the better...

Posted by Jane McCormick, 8 April 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 16 April 2014

Temporarily out of service

Intermissions due to illness are a regular part of life for many people living with a disability and/or chronic illness. With me these pauses between acts can last a day, a week and sometimes months depending on the severity of the setback or flare up.

This makes long term planning and committing to deadlines a challenge to say the least. Nowadays when I make plans I try to factor in the probability that there will be periods, short or long, when I will be temporarily out of service.

When this happens I put out a virtual sign announcing that "The brain dept management regrets any inconvenienced caused during this stoppage... normal services should be resuming shortly... we hope..."

Posted by Jane McCormick, 1 April 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 2 April 2014

How are you today?

Like most people with chronic illness I get asked 'how are you today?'...  a lot. On many days the truthful answer would be 'I feel shit, thanks for asking', but I mostly settle on one of the many euphemisms I have collected over the years.

These range from the very Irish and clearly untrue 'ah sure I'm grand' to the more English stiff upper lip 'mustn't grumble' taking in 'not quite up to the mark' 'a little peaky' and 'can't complain' along the way.  

What's your brave face answer to this question when you don't want to say 'bloody awful' again?

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 14 March 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 14 March 2014

Self portrait with borrowed smile

I used to be a smiley person but years of chronic pain and its sidekicks depression and fatigue have taking its toll on my smile reflex.

I find it quite an effort to smile at times so I borrowed this smile from a magazine, took a photo of myself with my ipad and so my 'sick selfie' series was born.

I was delighted when this image won an award in the Irish Times photography competition in November 2013


Posted by Colin Hambrook, 10 March 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 March 2014