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?”Continue reading “Nicole Luongo”
A Set of Monologues by Shaneisha Dodson
Cast of Characters
KENYA: African American female, fighting against genial mutilation.
JUDY: Any race, female. Transgender. Big personality.
SANDRA: Any race, fighting against sex trafficking.
LAURA: Any race, female. Victim of domestic violence.
MONICA: Any race, female. HIV positive.
ESTELLE: Any race, female. Secretly suffering from depression.Continue reading “Shaneisha Dodson”
My Story: From Darkness to Light
I remember it so vividly. Sitting there, at the front of the classroom, as my heart rate began to quicken and my palms grew sweaty. The world around me started fading away, while my teacher continued Continue reading “Nicole Crevar”
Two years ago, a friend of mine who works and advocates within the mental health system in Erie County, NY asked me to write something for the Anti-Stigma Coalition. I wanted to write about the RISKS involved with asking for help because this is a topic that is often avoided because those who work within the mental health system do not want to deter potential consumers from seeking services, but the reality is that there are risks involved with seeking help – and that sometimes force and trauma are packaged as or folded into help, and this is something that every consumer and person deserves to know before they seek help for themselves or others – or have help forced upon them.
Below is what I wrote for the coalition – it didn’t jive with the campaign’s mission but it does jive with MITA’s mission, and so it’s been sitting in a folder for two years, but I decided to post it up in the event that someone out there reads it and finds it meaningful or helpful. This short essay was written primarily for people who identify as consumers but is likely to be relevant to those who do not identify as consumers or those who identify as psychiatric survivors. It was written by someone who was harmed, not helped, by the mental health system, and by someone who does not identify as a consumer – but, rather, as a survivor. Continue reading “To Seek Help or Not to Seek Help: Taking Precautions and Being Proactive Choice-makers”
(if i were to write in honor of Kathy A this would be where i would say so)
I am fourteen and I am filling up the water bowl.
I am taking off my shirt. Continue reading “ROBBIE B”
There is a difference between a ‘fabricative realist’ (one who invents a reality for the purpose of manipulating or holding control over another) and a ‘deluded realist’ (one who believes in the reality that a person with more power convinces them to believe).
Neither fabricative realism nor deluded realism is realist realism: it is a situational realism that forms between two parties in a relationship that is built on a significant power differential, a power differential primarily based on access to information.
A perfect example of this might be found in the traditional therapist-client relationship. Continue reading “The Therapist and The Two Realities of Power”
Part of MITA’s literacy mission is to empower through education. We hope to inform institutionalized individuals and people affected by the mental health industry about commitment, mental hygiene law, and their rights. Continue reading “A Cognitive Autonomy Information Sheet”
Exposing Psycho: How Hitchcock’s Famous Film Aided in My Recovery from Trauma
For Becky and Ryan
“Film should be stronger than reason.” –Alfred Hitchcock Continue reading “Jacqueline Wilson”
In 2017, while I was incarcerated against my will in a psychiatric institution in Buffalo, NY for ten days, I shared a room with a woman I will never forget.
She was Barbara to me at the time, although on one occasion, I asked her for her last name and I wrote it down in my composition notebook. Tonight, I looked through the pages of that notebook for her name. I have not been able to bear to look at what I had written during my time in hell with my friend until now. I found what I could handle reading for tonight. Three words:
Barbara Warren Jones. Continue reading “Justice for Barbara Warren-Jones”
Ashes To The East
Francine Bankowski handed the neatly wrapped bundles of cloth to the woman before her—her slender, icy hands trembling—noting her customer’s look of distaste when they touched.
I’m cold and tired, not filthy, Continue reading “Lisa Carter”