This article traces my struggles with psychosis, arrest, psychiatric institutionalization, and recovery. Mobilizing a cathartic approach to autoethnography, I reveal my resistances, resiliencies, oppressions, nightmares, and recovery processes in the mental health system as I became entangled in another, darker reality and tried desperately to escape it. This work is a contribution to the emerging field of Mad Studies that seeks to privilege lived experiences with madness and the mental health system as a way of knowing. I found that doing an autoethnography of the mind helps recover the pieces of a fragmented identity and heals some of the visceral horrors that haunts us through and beyond experiences with mental illness.
Through Madness and Back Again: An Autoethnography of Psychosis
Matthew S. Johnston is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of sociology and anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He has published a number of journal articles on the topics of gender, security, and mental health, most notably in Qualitative Research, Men and Masculinities, Crime Media Culture, Gender, Work & Organization, Social Movement Studies, and Punishment & Society. He is interested in exploring how persons labeled as mentally ill navigate their involvement with the psychiatric apparatus.
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Matthew S. Johnston; Through Madness and Back Again: An Autoethnography of Psychosis. Journal of Autoethnography 11 May 2020; 1 (2): 137–155. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2020.1.2.137
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