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Reconsidering Mental Illness. Justin Leach ENG 201 Kellie Sharp 4/11/14. Purpose:. Analyze the possible correlation between mental/emotional trauma (abuse, divorce, sexual assault) and the development of mental illness. Explore Multiple Personality Disorder

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Reconsidering mental illness

Reconsidering Mental Illness

Justin Leach

ENG 201

Kellie Sharp



  • Analyze the possible correlation between mental/emotional trauma (abuse, divorce, sexual assault) and the development of mental illness.

  • Explore Multiple Personality Disorder

  • Argue mental illness as a healing method rather than a sickness.


  • Mental illness is not a sickness, but rather a state of mind that can be shelter for a person who needs to heal mental or emotional wounds.

  • Mental illness can protect victims of emotional or mental trauma from painful experiences from earlier in life.

  • Multiple personality disorder (MPD) replaces harmed personalities with new ones allowing the person to live more happily.

What do the sources say
What do the sources say?

  • Sourcesrange from academic articles, to interviews with people with mental illness and MPD, to medical journals.

  • Most of them, if not all seem to agree with the claim that abuse and trauma are related to mental illness in some way.

  • In some cases it is the focus of the entire article while in others it is just listed or mentioned.

  • The main source and inspiration for the project is The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz

Multiple personality disorder
Multiple Personality Disorder

  • This mental illness causes patients to experience sudden shifts in personality.

  • Unlike bipolar disorder this mental illness causes completely new characters to take over the body of the person.

  • Bipolar disorder just causes shifts in mood.

  • People with MPD can live completely normal lives, even be the acting guardian to children.

  • Often found in victims of child abuse or sexual assault.

The myth of mental illness
The Myth of Mental Illness

  • It is a book published in 1961 by Thomas Szasz

  • Challenged the fact that mental illness was considered and illness for those “disabled by living”

  • Szasz states that people can no longer have troubles; doctors diagnose these troubles as mental illness.

  • Argues that mental illness is not a sickness or a disease but rather a difficulty fitting in with social norms.

Kim noble
Kim Noble

  • An interesting case of MPD

  • Has more than 100 separate personalities

  • Dominant personality changes throughout different stages of her life.

  • Cares for her young daughter.

  • Grew up in a broken home, had divorced parents, was abused as a child.

  • Her MPD has caused her to forget her troubled past and allows her to live a happy life.

  • Her illness has been more of a help to her than a hindrance.

  • Has written a book about her life with MPD called All of Me

Media evidence
Media Evidence

  • Norman Bates from the novel and film Psycho as well as the recent television show Bates Motel is believed by many to suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder.

  • Norman was emotionally abused and repressed by his mother Norma as a child into early adulthood.

  • After murdering his mother he begins to channel her oppressive personality which causes him to commit murder numerous times throughout the story line.

  • This is evidence that it is an accepted my many that abuse may lead to MPD.

What makes this argument unique
What makes this argument unique?

  • Many people disagree with the idea of mental illness being anything other than what it says it is.

  • The general population believes that it is a negative thing and cannot be thought of in a positive way.

  • Combining the argument that mental illness is not an illness and the argument that it can be a sort of healing method helps to support each argument and causes it to be a whole new argument all together.

What am i trying to prove
What am I trying to prove?

  • In order to validate this argument evidence must be given that supports:

  • Mental illness can be thought of as something other than a sickness

  • Mental illness can be used as a healing method

  • There is a correlation between mental illness and mental/emotional trauma.


  • “The Myth of Mental Illness.” Szatz, Thomas. Moral conflict and psychiatry,  Yale Rev., 1959

  • “Kim Noble: The Woman with 100 Personalities.” Michison, Amanda. The Guardian, Friday 30 September 2011

  • “Norman Bates Bio.”