Alissa Quart - A Saner Approach?. PDF

PDF The article, "A Saner Approach?" is featured in July's edition of O, The Oprah Magazine. I enjoy reading this article as the author explores the main characters inner tension very well. The article opens by introducing the reader to Jacks McNamara, a 19-year-old college student who experiences a mental breakdown. The author explains features of McNamara's internal struggle with bipolar disorder and how that manifests externally and the systems in place to manage it. Born out of the displeasure McNamara feels with the institutionalization she experiences, is the grassroots movement, the Icarus Project. The Icarus Project is part of a larger movement known as the "Recovery Movement, or Mad Pride." This movement seeks to end the stigma associated with people diagnosed with a mental disorder, create better collaboration between mental health workers and patients, and create awareness in the general public. The article continues to explore the specific logistics of implementing a program like this and some of its criticisms.

I am hooked right away as the introduction effectively describes a likable character, her internal struggle and how it translates into the world. Fletcher explains how "often an internal conflict does not exist in isolation but gets connected to another kind of conflict" (2013, p.112). Quart does connect McNamara's own mental illness to societies larger view of people diagnosed with a mental illness, but does little to illuminate the issue of society's view of mental illness besides to state it exists. However, she does a great job explaining the inner tension McNamara feels. Quart does this by applying an honest approach to describing what McNamara experiences. Quart states, "McNamara grew so obsessed with thoughts of corporate conspiracies and the end of the world. . .in her mind, life resembled a dystopian science fiction movie and she often couldn't remember what day it was" (2013, para.1). I do feel Quart could have done more in regards to specifically stating how society, in general, connects with people diagnosed with a mental disorder. To some, that may be perceived as a tangent, but to me, that tension is an all too real necessary element worth exploring further. While, I am not specifically diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I can relate to these issues as it is difficult to manage my own mental illness as well as how society perceives me or my seeking treatment. That being said, if I were Quarts writing teacher, I might suggest she ask McNamara specifically how she felt in dealing with the stigma associated with mental illness and incorporate that into her writing, if appropriate. Quart is a great writer and I would like to be able to somehow take her ability to condense a complex topic while accurately incorporating inner tension in an honest, clear way.


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