Acting Mentally Disordered: The Example of Schizophrenia, Anxiety, and Depression
We know very little about how people conceptualize the feel-ings, emotions, and behaviors that cause them to be viewed as abnormal. A difficult problem in trying to analyze disordered perceptions is one of organizing the subject matter (insanity) into a coherent scheme for discussion. To conceptualize the insane experience in any generalizable fashion requires a systematic approach; yet insanity is a situation in which normally constituted meanings are at risk and disorder rather than order is usual. Therefore, a necessary first step in the sociological analysis of becoming mentally disordered is to identify common experiences among those so afflicted. Memoirs and
similar accounts are a useful starting point for investigating the subjective experiences of the mentally ill (Karp and Birk 2013: 30).