Manic? : a play in two acts
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AbstractThis thesis is about the power of story. All medical systems throughout the world are based upon specific stories which they believe about the nature of human existence. Oftentimes, it is easy to lose ourselves in the narratives we know, claiming them to be ultimately true. I will explore and compare two distinct medical narratives, Western and Tibetan Buddhist psychiatry, in order to explore deeper questions about the nature of human suffering. I will take you on this exploration through my own personal narrative as I straddled these two worlds to find grounding and purpose in life. We will explore how these traditions conceptualize mental illness, personal identity, human nature, purpose, and health. We will explore their underlying assumptions and values that are often unquestioned. When we speak of medical narratives, we cannot separate them from our lived experiences. These narratives are not static, do not exist in a vacuum, and may be experienced differently by one person to the next. Therefore, I am only expressing one perspective of infinite. But these are the stories I know and these are the stories that I can genuinely share. I have a fundamental understanding by studying and analyzing the primary texts of the two psychiatric systems: The Fifth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the rGyud Bzhi . I also have a basic understanding of Tibetan Buddhist psychiatry through four months of study in Bodh Gaya and Darjeeling, India and four months of research of Western psychiatric and psychological history and thought.
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