Date of Graduation

Fall 2019


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Jennifer Murvin


The essays in this collection each explore to some extent my experience of mental illness, specifically clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. In writing these essays, I wanted to experiment with different methods of representing the self as it undergoes an experience of mental illness. In the essay “I Was a Teenage Misanthrope,” for example, I portray myself in a somewhat humorous way, highlighting my antisocial behaviors for comic effect, in order to depict a period of my life that might otherwise have been too difficult to write about. In “Quiet Midwestern Bitch,” an essay about anxiety, I represent multiple selves on the page to look at how one of my selves, written in the first perspective, interacts with another, idealized self. These techniques and others have helped me develop different self-characterizations for writing about mental illness, which in turn allow me to depict complex life experiences. I hope these essays inspire further and more nuanced explorations of self-representation in personal essays of all kinds.


personal essays, autobiography, illness stories, mental illness, anxiety, depression, self-representation, double perspective

Subject Categories



© Lane E. Pybas

Open Access

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