Pumpkin, Penguin, and Pepper: Encounters Between a Mentally Ill Medical Student, a Psychiatry Patient, and a Psychiatrist
Encounters between a mentally ill medical student, a psychiatry patient, and a psychiatrist
Keywords:Feminist theory, Affect theory, narrative therapy, psychiatry
A medical student student reflects upon her experiences of personal mental illness and shadowing narrative therpay with a psychiatrist, challenging the pervasive assumption in medicine that illness affects patients but not those who provide medical care. The author draws upon feminist affect theory to critically reflect upon her shame around being a mentally ill medical student. Building upon the seminal work of Kosofsky Sedwick and Sara Ahmed, the author uses their theories of shame to also critically reflect upon its opposite: empathy. Instead of empathy being a conduit to understanding another's experiences, empathy is re-theorized as generosity in allowing oneself to be surprised by all one does not understand about another's experiences.