© Media Watch 12 (1) 79-92, 2021
ISSN 0976-0911 | E-ISSN 2249-8818
“Trying out different medications make you feel like a dartboard”: Selfhood, Agentic Crisis, and Mind-Altering Pills in Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon and Jamie Lowe’s Mental
Vellore Institute of Technology, (Chennai), India
The article examines Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (2001) and Jamie Lowe’s Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing Mind (2017) to foreground how the selected prose memoirs capture the existential and embodied crises of patients who narrate about embodying an estranged order of selfhood that has evolved as a result of the complex entanglement of mental illness, clinical diagnosis, and mind-altering pills. The paper examines how the organic and ontological notions of selfhood and agency are deconstructed and reconstructed by the psychiatric medications consumed by patients. This paper argues that the notions of shame and stigma associated with the neurochemical self and the act of medical non adherence exhibited by the patients are rooted in selfhood’s essentialized notion. By drawing on the theories proposed by the posthumanist thinkers, the paper reflects on the neurochemical self and agency’s notions with renewed attention to the psychotropic agents’ role designed by the psychopharmaceutical industries to intervene and reconfigure our organic orders of thoughts and feelings.
Keywords: Selfhood, identity, psychiatric medications, depression, bipolar disorder, illness narratives
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Manali Karmakar is an Assistant Professor in English at the Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai, India. Her research interests include literature and medicine, posthumanism, mental health, and disability studies. At present, she works as one of the contributors for the collection titled The Edinburgh Companion to Science Fiction and Medical Humanities. The collection is under contract with Edinburgh University Press.
Correspondence to: Manali Karmakar, Vellore Institute of Technology, School of Social Sciences and Languages, Vandalur–Kelambakkam Road, Chennai-600 127, India