(Re)defining recovery: exploring poetry as a therapeutic tool in recovery from severe mood episodes and associated suicide attempts in bipolar disorder
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2020 Felicity Lacey
The critical component of this thesis explores the value of poetry as a therapeutic tool in recovery from severe mood episodes and associated suicide attempts in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Through literary analysis of Shira Erlichman’s Odes to Lithium and Jeanann Verlee’s Said the Manic to the Muse, I suggest that poetry allows a therapeutic space for dynamic reclamation of subjective narrative experiences of bipolar disorder from the medical discourse. Poetic devices such as personification and juxtaposition support the decentralisation of narrative in the subjective dialectic, thus creating scope for the productive tolerance of polarities, fragmentation and disorder. In doing so, poetry can facilitate emotional healing whilst eschewing redemptive narrative arcs. This provides valuable alternate readings and renderings of ‘recovery’ as part of an ongoing management of chronic mental illness which prioritises the experiential perspective, and thereby posits poetic process as a dynamic therapeutic tool in bipolar and attempted suicide contexts. The creative component of this thesis is a collection of poetry exploring my own recovery.
Keywordscreative writing; poetry; literary analysis; bipolar disorder; attempted suicide; mental health recovery
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