Nicole Luongo

The Becoming is a brutal account of mental illness by a woman who doesn’t believe in mental illness. A lifetime of addiction, eating disorders, and trauma culminates explosively after the author begins a PhD at the University of Oxford, and while in hospital she is liberated through psychosis. Her journey from terror to self-acceptance is grueling, and she makes meaning of it by weaving reflexive narrative with classic and nascent scholarship. Part phenomenological recounting, part social critique, the text disrupts bio-medical approaches to altered states by exploring their emancipatory potential. It also illuminates how conventional mental health treatment pathologizes human suffering. In doing so, The Becoming contributes to anti-psychiatry and Mad studies projects, each of which asks, “what does it mean to be sane?” 

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