Preferred Name

Erin Casey

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication Studies


Carlos Alemán


This thesis uses an autoethnographic methodology informed by narrative theory to interrogate my experiences of relational and identity tensions as both a consumer of mental health services and an advocate for the care, autonomy and acceptance of those who identify with concepts of mental illness recovery. In doing so I am using my personal diaries and medical records from the past seven years as archival data to assist me in recovering and reconstructing narratives that represent meaningful truths about these experiences. I also call on heavily what Carolyn Ellis (2004) calls "relational ethics" because I know that while I am sharing my stories I am also sharing the stories of those closest to me, specifically my friends, family and treatment providers. Wherever possible I use pseudonyms and changing identifying information, however when that is not possibly I think thoughtfully and reflexively about what sharing the story could do to them and to our relationship. Finally, I propose that this autoethnographic inquiry is a work of advocacy itself. We live in a world today were there are false boundaries between the mad and the sane and the sick and the well. However, I know a world much more fluid and fragmented than that. I hope to bring the reader into that world through the storying of my experience.



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