I’m Jesse Meadows, a writer and artist obsessed with critical psych, mental health tech, anthropology, and art. As an Autistic person who’s collected many-a-psychiatric diagnosis over the years, I’ve come to reject normality and critique the medical model of mental illness, which individualizes suffering and de-politicizes distress.

What does it mean to be sluggish?

My archnemesis Russell Barkley wants to coin a new attention disorder — Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, symptoms of which include daydreaming, mind-wandering, and spacing out. It’s another label for people who don’t do the capitalism good (me, it me) and it’s fitting, because I’ve been thinking a lot about slugs lately.

Slugs are creepy-crawly, slow, and kinda gross. Lots of people consider them to be garden pests, but my favorite kind, the leopard slug, eats other slugs’ eggs, so they can actually be helpful to have around.

Slugs are both male and female at the same time, and they dangle on a string of goo and duel with their penises when they mate. Slugs are freaks. They come out at night.

They’re also brilliant survivors, able to hide in crevices and withstand freezing temperatures by burrowing into the dirt. Slugs are ancient — did you know they evolved from snails over a dozen separate times to lose their external shells?

Slugs are incremental, and they create their own road of slime to get around. Their muscles move in fast waves that propel them forward slowly. Slugs are paradoxical. Moving takes them a while, but they can climb walls, if you give them enough time.

I relate to slugs — my queer, nocturnal, slow and slimy brethren — and I’m reclaiming the word sluggish. We might not have tempos fast enough for the Russell Barkleys of the world, but we can get there, in our own way.

Sluggish is about embracing the slow, the weird, and the squished underfoot.

This newsletter covers the politics of mental health, the narratives that shape our dis-order, and the culture that makes our brains. I also love to go off on tangents about nature and the seasons and meaning and sense-making through art.

Free public posts go out on Mondays (usually) and posts for paid subscribers go out on Fridays (usually – we’re on snail time in this house). Paid subscribers also get access to audio & video content, my ongoing Critical ADHD Studies project, and a discord server (SlugChat!).

Here’s a few of my favorite things I’ve written:

You can also find me on IG and Twitter, or get into my podcast Disorderland with Dr. Ayesha Khan.