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.