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“This tendency was exemplified in the President’s speech, when he stated: ”We all know somebody — a family member, a friend, a neighbor — who has struggled or will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their lives.” Note the construction of the sentence: “We all know somebody – a family member, a friend, a neighbor – who has struggled with mental illness.” The person with mental illness here is always someone else. They are always removed from ourselves. They are the people we help, the people we are sad for, the people we want to save. The people who are sick, the people who are hurting, the people with the problems – they are categorically not us. They are other. They are, moreover, specifically not the implied audience of the sentence. The implied audience is the people who “know somebody’ with a mental illness. Obama probably wanted to evoke sympathy for people with mental illnesses. But in doing so, he reinforced the trope of the mentally ill as the “other” – as people who aren’t worth speaking to, and about, directly. Despite the fact that one in five Americans suffer, or will suffer, from a mental illness, and thus make up a fairly sizeable portion of the audience. Thing is, I do actually know a family member, a friend AND a neighbor who has struggled with mental health issues. You know who else has struggled with mental health issues? Me.”—The “Family Members, Friends, Neighbors” approach to Mental Illness: Analysis of 2013′s National Conference on Mental Health | Culturally Disoriented
“I'm sort of OK as long as I sit perfectly still on the couch here. Like how you don't realize how drunk you are until you step off the bar stool, the real trouble starts when I try to get up and do anything.”—Showering Is For Happy People (Article on depression).
Memoirs About Mental Illness
Agorafabulous! (2012) by Sara Benincasa
The author, a comedian and blogger, explores her experiences with agoraphobia and depression.
An Unquiet Mind (1995) by Kay Redfield Jamison
The author, herself a psychologist, chronicles her own struggles with bipolar disorder.
Bitter Medicine (2010) by Olivier and Clem Martini
Olivier, a graphic artist, and Clem, a playwright, create a graphic memoir about their family’s struggle with schizophrenia.
Blue Genes (2008) byChristopher Lukas
The author explores his family history of depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide.
The Center Cannot Hold (2008) by Elyn R. Saks
The author tells of her experiences with schizophrenia while also becoming a professor of law and psychiatry.
Darkness Visible (1990) by William Styron
The celebrated author of Sophie’s Choice explores his experience with depression.
Drinking: A Love Story (1997) by Caroline Knapp
The author tells of her long battle with anorexia and alcoholism.
Electroboy (2003) by Andey Behrman
The author’s story of bipolar disorder and electroconvulsive therapy.
Girl, Interrupted (1993) by Susanna Kaysen
Kaysen, diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, chronicles her two-year stay at a psychiatric hospital at age 18.
Girl in Need of a Tourniquet (2010) by Merri Lisa Johnson
The author’s struggle with borderline personality disorder.
Hurry Down Sunshine (2009) by Michael Greenberg
A father’s look at his daughter’s struggle with bipolar disorder.
Just Checking (1999) by Emily Colas
A mother’s story of OCD.
Loud in the House of Myself (2012) by Stacy Pershall
The author’s story of eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
Lucky (2002) by Alice Sebold
The author chronicles the trauma she experienced after she was raped in college, and the depression and substance abuse that followed.
Marbles (2012) by Ellen Forney
A graphic memoir about the author’s experiences with bipolar disorder.
Monkey Mind (2012) by Daniel Smith
The author’s battles with anxiety.
Passing for Normal (2000) by Amy S. Wilensky
The author’s story of Tourette’s syndrome and OCD.
Prozac Nation (1994) by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Wurtzel chronicles her experiences with depression and substance abuse during her college and young professional years.
The Quiet Room (1996) by Lori Schiller
The author tells of her seven-year long journey through psychiatric hospitals and halfway houses in her battle with schizo-affective disorder.
Running With Scissors (2003) by Augusten Burroughs
The author chronicles his childhood in which his mother sent him away to live with her psychiatrist.
Skin Game (2000) by Caroline Kettlewell
The author explores her story of self-harm throughout her young adult life.
Sickened (2003) by Julie Gregory
The author tells the story of her abusive mother’s experience with Munchausen by proxy disorder.
Stalking Irish Madness (2008) by Patrick Tracey
The author attempts to unravel his family’s history of schizophrenia after the disorder plagues two of his sisters.
Unholy Ghost (2002) edited by Neil Casey
An anthology of writers on depression.
Wasted (2009) by Marya Hornbacher
In this Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, the author tells of her 14-year struggles with eating disorders.
Welcome to My Country (1997) by Lauren Slater
The author, a psychologist, chronicles the stories of her patients and connects them with her own experiences with mental illness.
When Rabbit Howls (2002) by Truddi Chase
The author tells her story of dissociative identity disorder through her alters.