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.  

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6 thoughts on “The Skepticism of Auto-pathography. The Unreliable Narrator.”

  1. I commented on your post over at blahbolar diaries. Here it is:

    Actually, I’d be skeptical of anybody’s autobiography as fact, whether or not mentally ill, for any autobiography is told from a first person perspective and therefore is biased and blinded in part. Even biographies written by others suffer the same skewed perspective. How can any one author see all perspectives objectively? Impossible. What an autobiography does tell is what that perspective and experience is, first hand. That is what is interesting. That is why some novelists shift perspective, giving us the ability to see from different characters’ points of view.

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    1. In all truthfulness I thoroughly enjoy reading some people’s autobiographies. They are very subjective and perspective based narratives, that reflect a particular facet of their individuality that they wish to be presented to others. I agree that they will never be able to be objective and unbiased, but I guess their motives for writing aren’t based in scientific methodology. I like how you brought novelists into this, I love a good novel, its always about altering the audience’s ability to see different perspectives that are incited by the author. Thank-you for your post. (Think I might go buy a good book today ) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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