Why you and everyone you know is a PASTICHE

Illustrations: Mark Starmach

When you think about self-knowledge and inner work, you might picture a bearded guru or calm monk. But as I’ve started my own self-knowledge journey, through two focused years of therapy after being diagnosed with a generalised anxiety disorder and falling into recurring spikes of panic, I’ve found it’s far…

My brother‘s fall into psychosis, and his reemergence

Illustrations by Mark Starmach




It’s Thursday night at the Hills District Martial Arts Taekwondo gym in the outskirts of suburban Sydney, where my 33-year-old brother, James, is undergoing his black belt grading. Sweat pours from his black curls down his reddened face. His feet move masterfully across the pastel pink and…

Humans 101

Your (over)use of a certain emoji may hint at your values and flaws

Illustration of two hands over a crystal ball with emoticons inside.
Illustration: Mark Starmach

Here’s an instant personality test. Get your iPhone out and bring up the keyboard. Tap the emoji button and look to see what your most frequently used emoji is. It’s the one at the tippy-top of the list (unless you’re using an Android device, which will show your most recently…

It seems counterintuitive, but a pessimistic outlook may help.

“Well, you have a severe anxious depression,” the psychiatrist said to me. “Severe,” he reiterated. Tension hung. “But that’s great, because we know exactly how to treat that.”

Instantly my temperament lightened. I felt assured on some primal level by the psychiatrist, Dr Ken (name changed for privacy). It was…

With misconceptions rife, perhaps we need an alternative…

As I laid awake in bed unable to sleep, worried that I may never fall asleep again, stuck in a state of panic so powerful it caused my heart to thud, my chest to clench, and my head to sweat, I couldn’t help but feel that the word ‘anxiety’ doesn’t…

Mark Starmach

Finding light on the dark side of life. Copywriter and Co-founder of Intangible Goods. www.markstarmach.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store