“Adventure Time in an Alien World”: Personal Accounts of Mental Illness on the Web
Dr Raya A. Jones.
Personal stories of bipolar disorder (manic depression) were downloaded from the worldwide web and analysed with attention to chronotope, plot structure, rhetorical devices and writer/reader positioning. The prosocial purpose of sharing personal experiences in the virtual self-help group context seems to invite a progressive plot structure, and is also reflected in the writer/reader positions imminent in these texts. The present paper describes in detail one of the stories, in which the writer reflects on his illness after many years of remission, noting its unique and shared themes as compared with the other texts. The sample as a whole charts a ‘typical journey’ and evinces cultural discourses of the illness and individuality, but the particular crisis associated with the illness and its resolution varies from text to text. Identity commitments seem to be accomplished in the transversal of domains of experience that specific stories perform.
Dr Raya A. Jones (United Kingdom)
Lecturer in Psychology
School of Social Sciences
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)