Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Pathography and Enabling Myths" Respone

This essay deeply resonated with many beliefs about the healing process that I've already formed and further developed my understanding in a way that was easy to absorb. It's true that when someone becomes ill, our society is quick to view illness as "a condition to be corrected, rarely to be simply accepted" (Hawkins 223). The focus in these situations is immediately put on the illness, while the person suffering from it is rarely acknowledged as needing his or her own attention. Serious illness is a traumatic experience for most people. Even after a cancer patient's illness falls into remission, his or her emotional response may not have followed suit. 

This is where Pathography comes into play. It allows those who have endured serious illnesses or other traumatic experiences to make sense of and organize their overwhelming and complex emotional reactions to their experiences. It helps a person reach out (either to others directly or to a vague general audience), leading him or her out of the isolation that frequently comes with trauma. Hawkins claims that "serious illness threatens not just the existence of the body but also the integrity of the self" (241). Pathography creates a space for those who have experienced illness to not only explore and understand their emotions but to also "go beyond it"-- to grow within the writing process itself and give new meaning to their experiences, as well as reach out to others who still suffer. 

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