The Skepticism of Auto-pathography. The Unreliable Narrator.

Auto-pathography is an autobiography that is focused on the disability/disease or disorder of the author. The skeptics criticize the ability of any authors who write autobiographies to adequately create a self-representation and self-regulation of their work. A mental illness narrative asks whether the discourse of mental illness can be narrated as a true debilitating condition. Questioning whether it is the author’s therapeutic or pathological identity that is engendering the narrative. The author is also tainted by their medical identity or label, influenced by their psychiatric categorization of symptoms and the effects of ongoing medication treatments. The reliability of the narrative is completely undermined by the person’s mind that has been altered by both the illness and the treatment, ultimately creating a fictional self-story that can’t be in any complete way corroborated.

Authors all write for different reasons, whether it is to directly mislead the reader or as a vice to protect themselves from their own perceived inner guilt. A lot of authors are completely unaware that their first-hand narration makes them unreliable; the recounting of their events is filtered through their distinctive set of beliefs, experiences and biases. Reality is ultimately multi-faceted, shaded by the uniqueness of each individual interpretation and their perception of objectivity and honesty. A direct example of the unreliable narrator is my experiences with depression, whereby I view winter as dulling the memories, finding it hard to construct a coherent narrative with most moments having been forgotten. The elusive memories create misrepresentations and uncertain insights into the ‘actual’ occurrences of events, making discernment unattainable.  

A Mad, Mad World…

A mad, mad world. I’m getting pretty excited for Halloween this year; it’s one of my all-time favourite days, not the treats, just the costumes and general outlandish atmosphere. This year I feel as though I’m the very clichéd figure of madness, masquerading in a costume that isn’t really a costume anymore. The maniac that is mental illness occupies a wholly unenviable ontological status. The iconic figure that has been chained in the asylum cell. The heightened sense of excitement during Halloween fuels my reckless and excessive drinking which is generally followed by unequalled feats of dancing and generalized eccentric behavior, but then again I always think it was a good time, so no harm no foul. My psychologist keeps on asking why I do certain things or how they make me feel; truthfully I have no idea, in the end I just keep giving extrapolated and rambled responses, offering honest yet elusive answers.

BTW: both pictures are me from last year, was sah excited.

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My Bipolar Sunshine.

A woman’s mental health journal: “I’m god or I use to be”
Her husband made a marginal note: “Did you quit or were you fired?”

Beautiful, crushingly so, you’re going to be the rest of my life. You are a forest, not a temple, you can’t be destroyed and desecrated, and you will always grow back over and over no matter how badly you’re devastated. If I was given the option to be a ‘little’ manic for the rest of my life, I would sign my name on the dotted line and say “HELLS YES!”. Being that ‘little’ bit manic simplifies the world, people smile back at me; I can easily become that easy-going sociable deity that my anxiety holds back from. My anxiety shifts its perception, people are no longer the scary or judgmental third parties of my life, they’re just people. Crazily enough my jokes to strangers even seem funnier (I’ve been having a giggle about my doctor being called Fernando for the past week). It makes me put my opinion forward, I always have an opinion in my classes at university, but hypomania makes me more forthcoming, people come to me for help with their work. The ability to be social is my ideation of heaven, without it I feel like I’m living a type of sub-life.

My go-to phrase during hypomania is “shit happens, life goes on”, I live by that phrase a lot, during hypomania the realisation that nothing in this world is permanent, not even our worries is endlessly realized. The notion that I should be just manic enough, on the low end of the spectrum. On one side of the spectrum you think that you’re Jesus, the other end promoting creativity and productivity. A common misconception surrounds the belief that the less medicine someone is on the less defective they are. Crazy doesn’t truly exist is any whole form, being diagnosed with bipolar doesn’t mean you’re crazy, maybe it merely means that you’re more sensitive to things that people can’t see or feel, or maybe it’s never truly crazy, just a little bit mad, how much depends on where you fall on the spectrum, how much depends on how lucky you are.