The Language of Madness

Since my diagnosis in 2012, I slowly became indoctrinated in the medical model of mental illness which emphasizes a biological basis for “abnormal” behavior. As a person living with bipolar disorder, I learned to categorize my lived experience within diagnostic terms, like manic or depressed, and looked to therapy, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology for a cure.Continue reading “The Language of Madness”

Thinking with Octavia Butler: Prophetic Parallels between Parable & COVID-19

Octavia Butler’s dystopian novel set, Parable of the Sower (1993) in the 2020s, uncannily parallels our current sociopolitical reality. Based in California, the narrative centers teenage Lauren Oya Olamina living a world devastated by the environmental, economic, and political consequences of neoliberalism. Water is costly and scarce, all public services are privatized, and racial tensionsContinue reading “Thinking with Octavia Butler: Prophetic Parallels between Parable & COVID-19”

My Blogging Journey So Far…

This is my 22nd blog post. I didn’t think I would make to this many posts after only starting this blog two months ago. Before I began I was burdened by a sense of urgency to begin writing my thoughts and experiences along with a deep anxiety that I would be putting myself at riskContinue reading “My Blogging Journey So Far…”

Thinking with Laura Briggs: The Race of Hysteria

For most of history, hysteria was a physical and mental condition that had no cure and it was associated with the uterus. It was believed to cause a wide range of symptoms including, but not limited to shortness of breath, anxiety, insomnia, fainting, amnesia, nausea, paralysis, seizures, spasms, convulsive fits, deafness, hallucinations, infertility, and painfulContinue reading “Thinking with Laura Briggs: The Race of Hysteria”

Three Nuggets of Wisdom for Dealing with Disappointment

It’s funny that I’ve chosen a career in academia given that rejection and criticism — major triggers for bipolar episodes — comes with the territory. I am precariously privileged that I have access to financial support from my academic institution and grants as I pursue my PhD. I have funding from NYU, but I alsoContinue reading “Three Nuggets of Wisdom for Dealing with Disappointment”

Thinking with Ashanté Reese: Grief as a Black Feminist Methodology

In my blog post Peer Ethnography: My Theory & Method, I think through my decolonized approach to research inspired by Black feminist theory. An example of this is the way Ashanté Reese discusses grief as methodology in her ethnography Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C. As a mental state andContinue reading “Thinking with Ashanté Reese: Grief as a Black Feminist Methodology”

Healing Journey: Mad Pride

As I learn more about the various experiences of people with mental illness, the more I appreciate the complexities we encounter when naming ourselves. Out of the global psychiatric survivor movement of the 1980s and 90s emerged different language to describe our experiences as survivors of psychiatric abuse, ex-patients who recovered or were misdiagnosed, andContinue reading “Healing Journey: Mad Pride”

Peer Ethnography: My Theory & Method

During a workshop on how to conduct “liberated research projects,” Dr. Nadine Naber walked the class through an exercise to help us students and emerging scholars personalize our own theories and methodologies. After thinking about what makes my research distinct, I came to the terms “peer ethnography” and “lived experience research.” This is because ofContinue reading “Peer Ethnography: My Theory & Method”

Healing Journey: Postpartum Post-Mania Recovery

Navigating pregnancy without medication, my manic moods swung for months between the ecstatic highs of euphoric mania to the agitated episodes of the dysphoric variety. This experience was not only emotionally taxing; it took a tole on my physical body as well. I experienced a decreased sensitivity to pain such that I was prone toContinue reading “Healing Journey: Postpartum Post-Mania Recovery”

Thinking with Audre Lorde: The Politics of Disclosure

Since beginning my PhD in Anthropology, I’ve wrestled with how to navigate the politics of disclosure vis-à-vis my psychiatric diagnosis. I’ve been playing it safe by (mostly) keeping that part of my identity to myself. For many people, especially those with other marginalized identities, holding their mental health diagnosis to their chest is a modeContinue reading “Thinking with Audre Lorde: The Politics of Disclosure”