Journal of Medical Humanities 31 (2):91-109 (2010)

This essay discusses Susan Smiley’s documentary film, Out of the Shadow (2004), and Tina Kotulski’s memoir, Saving Millie: A Daughter’s Story of Surviving Her Mother’s Schizophrenia, as filmic and narrative treatments of their mother’s schizophrenia. Mildred Smiley, and her diagnosis of and treatment for schizophrenia, is at the center of both her daughters’ treatments of mental illness, and in these texts, all three become witnesses to the multiple experiences of mental illness and the multiple events of psychiatric power. As I will argue, these two texts are treatments of schizophrenia that both see and don’t see Mildred Smiley’s experience of mental illness. Through these texts, we—viewer and reader—are asked to look again, or to look for the first time, at mental illness, and we are positioned as having the agency to look or look away. As we look and try to make sense of what we see (and don’t see), we too participate in the production of mental illness as a category of analysis
Keywords Schizophrenia  Witnessing  Psychiatric power  Filmic and narrative treatments
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DOI 10.1007/s10912-010-9109-1
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Witnessing: Beyond Recognition.Kelly Oliver - 2001 - Univ of Minnesota Press.

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