Trauma and Madness in Mental Health Services

A first-person perspective

Based on my doctoral research, wherein I interviewed individuals identifying with a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder from across the US and Australia on what they found helpful and/or harmful in mental health services, this book explores the madness inherent within the mental health system and what has been helpful for people on their journey towards recovery.

The following is a brief description of the project:

DID_Noel_Hunter

The concept of dissociative identity disorder (DID; previously known as multiple personality disorder) is often confused with schizophrenia and/or borderline personality disorder, with bitter debates arising both in and out of professional circles on the topic. Are they different? Which ones are real diseases in need of intrusive and coercive biological interventions and which are reactions to trauma? Are some individuals just faking it for attention? Are the cinematic presentations of such individuals to be believed? What do we really know? And how much do we still not know?

This book will explore these questions in an effort to understand how individuals suffering these extreme states of distress might find help and begin healing. Unlike other books on the topic of trauma and emotional distress, it will be driven by the voices of the people who have been there (including the author), rather than solely by expert opinions. This will be done by weaving together anonymous first-person perspectives in a critical discourse that both challenges the current mental health paradigm and offers hope for the future. The perspectives of individuals who identify with a diagnosis of DID will specifically be included throughout, and will inform an exploration of how these differ from and/or converge with those who identify with other categories of emotional distress, such as schizophrenia.          

Readers will develop an appreciation for the historical and current problems within the mental health system that make it so difficult for many individuals experiencing dissociation, voices, altered states, and other effects of childhood adversity to find the help they need. This book will offer ideas for healing options and recommendations for the future. And, people who are looking for advice on how to cope or find help will find valuable resources and information that may guide them on their journey to health and life satisfaction. It will not offer simplistic formulas, nor insinuate a one-size-fits-all solution. Alternatively, it will suggest a paramount need for acknowledging complexity and appreciating subjectivity, while understanding and believing in the power of overcoming even the most tragic life circumstances.

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