Waiting for Recurrence: Medical Uncertainty As System, As Experience

||Abigail Jane Mack|| I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage Two, on my 25th birthday. The news was not shocking, though I felt the ground beneath me shift profoundly. After an ultrasound and biopsy, I had a sense the diagnosis was coming. It was not a scary diagnosis. “It’s the second-best cancer you could…

Screen Play: Writing Ethnography of Mental Healthcare in Los Angeles

Abigail Jane Mack    “I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside of me. I cannot even explain it to myself.” – Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis “The symbol of madness will henceforth be that mirror which, without reflecting anything real, will secretly offer the man who observes himself in…

The “Criminal Mind:” Discourses of Mental Health and Crime, Part 3

Abigail Jane Mack “UNLOCK THE POWER OF THE WELLNESS EFFECT.” In white lettering across a cool blue background photograph of happy workers, Prudential Financial touts the employer benefits of financial well-being for employees. The Wellness Effect™ will not only create confident, mentally healthy workers but improve the lives of workers’ families and communities. Following a growing…

The Criminal Mind: Discourses of Mental Health and Crime, Part 2.

Abigail Jane Mack I began Part 1 of this series with the image I reproduce here. Item number 1552 rests against a stark black background. Gray, veiny matter folds in on itself, cleaving in distinctive left and right lobes. The brain appears as an organ and an icon. Below, in stark lettering, “criminal.” An indelible…

The “Criminal Mind”: Discourses of Mental Health and Crime Part 1

Abigail Jane Mack Everything happens for the first time, but in a way that is eternal. -Jorge Luis Borges “We are as we think,” Stanton Samenow writes, concluding Inside the Criminal Mind.[1] The text, now in its third edition, outlines a theory of criminality, which has had enormous though often overlooked impact on psychiatric and…