The Mad World art exhibition is an aggregation of work by artists, groups, psychologists, psychiatrists, chemists, social workers, and survivors of the psychiatric industry. It starts with the question: Can you work out who here is diagnosed as Mad ? It then introduces a logic problem created by Raymond Smullyan, one of the finest logicians of our time:… Can you work it out ? Read more
This is an interview with Sonia Soans, part of the Asylum magazine collective which is a platform for democratic psychiatry. Having experience in clinical psychology and teaching in India, she has focused her study on gendered representations of addiction. Having recently finished her PhD in Manchester, she regularly contributes to critical psychiatry as she helps bring together the new editions of Asylum magazine. Read more
Nervous exhaustion, melancholy, Weltschmerz, ennui, alienation, neurasthenia, Americanitis, stress, chronic fatigue syndrome, burnout ~ the labels & the socio-cultural context may change yet the symptoms remain the same. We are not referring to issues of faulty brain chemistry here such as clinical depression, mania or psychosis, yet these common & everyday emotions are increasingly being perceived as mental health issues. Should they be? Existential malaise manifests itself in a myriad of symptoms with crucially, no definitive cause ever identified.
A common historical (and current) explanation is that of the socio-cultural, likened to a virus attacking the body but this psychic virus‘inflames’ the psyche (Schaffner, 2014), no more so than during times of rapid social change (Kury, 2012). I do not intend to present a clinical analysis of the ‘condition’ but, whilst acknowledging a consistent trajectory in the occurrence of this individual ‘dis-ease’ with life, focus on the presumptions, treatments and explanations of the times to demonstrate to what extent perceptions of ‘illness’ are influenced by social prejudices and expectations. Read more
Even in cases where no specified mental illness at all is ever claimed to exist, treatment powers and just the threat of their use, can devastate lives long term when child maltreatment situations, which are obviously not the child’s fault, come to involve child psychiatry. That happened to me, though I am not a person who has ever been labelled to have any mental illness. I have Asperger syndrome, but I belong to the generation who have only been recognised as adults. As a teenager I was not diagnosed with any condition at all.
The delay in awareness of Asperger syndrome itself was a consequence of conservatism in psychiatry which was inhumanly slow to consider and absorb the evidence for Asperger syndrome’s existence in place of curing our every problem by forced change. Being not safe to go anywhere near psychiatry meant I missed out on the early emergence of autism awareness. I discovered it, not through any medical route, but through pursuit of my own issues about school pressure, when it was becoming better known. Read more
Here is an interview with a retired pharmacist talking about his recollections of pharmacy, psychiatry, social conditions and Scotland. As a dispenser of medications and someone who was trained in the science of medicines, he recollects how trends come in and pass away, how drugs were perceived and taken, and how they were sold.
Here is an interview with a woman who recounts her experience of being sectioned by her husband. It is intimate and she talks about all the details of how it came about, what it made her feel and what she thinks retrospectively of the experience. She went on to become qualified in the field of psychology and so it presents a particularly interesting perspective on psychiatry.
The way that women encounter the world is significantly undermined in many ways. We need only take a look at the difference in the levels of payment women get for equivalent jobs with their male counterparts. This oral history represents a signifier into the gender differentials which can exist around voice and agency. We know from records that in the past single women who had children out of wedlock – also illegitimate children – were often interred in mental asylums for the ‘social inconvenience’ they suggested to the dominant paradigm. Read more
From individuals interred for their homosexuality, to women who wanted divorces; from teenagers who wanted to write for a living, to malnutrition – discover the history and explore if you can logically spot madness.
Edinburgh: 29th May: Mad World Art Exhibition Opening
Come along and to an art exhibition which is to challenge the world to discover the insane. The concept of ‘madness’ has been a part of human society for arguably millennia, many places – times – and peoples have shaped how we perceive ‘mental health’. Now, in the UK and western world, the dominant perspective is one which medicalizes behaviour, and the medical world has become the overriding voice which gets to speak about what meanings are attributed to these phenomena, and what they represent. Read more