Document Type

Honors Project On-Campus Access Only



This honors project is a collection of poems that explores my memory, trauma, and understanding of my complex relationship with my schizophrenic mother, my own struggles with mental illness, and the systems for mental health treatment in the United States that affect our relationship. In this project, I examine the social origins of my fear of my mother through a backdrop of secondary sources (Andrew Scull, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Lisa Appignanesi) on the history of psychology and psychiatric treatment and attitudes toward “madness” in the 19th and 20th centuries to today, through a style of poetry informed and influenced by Sharon Olds, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Leila Chatti, Cameron Awkward-Rich, Jenny Boychuk, Donika Kelly, Devon Walker-Figueroa, and Diane Seuss. Through poetry, I reflect upon the impact of my mother’s illness, absence, and institutionalization, my fear and altered sense of self, identity in the wake of trauma, and memory as it has been created and altered by trauma and ableist social constructions of severe mental illness.


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