This autoethnography offers an account of my experience with mental illness and provides an analysis of the performative aspects of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is a genetic disorder triggered by environmental stressors involving a chemical imbalance in the brain. The resulting biologically altered state leaves individuals to steer themselves among and between "appropriate" performance and secret rituals. Analyzing my own communication practices through a performance lens highlights the importance of image management for people struggling with disability. In telling my own story, this article provides readers an in-depth look at OCD as a traumatic brain disorder whose sufferers rely on communicative performance to maintain their public and private identities, and as a disease that impedes social life for its sufferers. Implications of this account for those struggling with mental disability and for practitioners aiming to help them are discussed.
- lived experience
- mental health and illness
- narrative analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health