Narration of mental suffering: instructions for the use of Ubaldo Sagripanti

Ubaldo Sagripanti, psychiatrist
Ubaldo Sagripanti, psychiatrist

Telling oneself is important because, beyond the diagnosis and treatment of any disease, there is a person, and together with his/her, his/her loved ones, who helps him/her and who cares for him/her. This simple reality changes with the change of those who live their illness as each one of us lives and is distinguished from others by every individual personality.

Technology provides medicine with the best possible tools, but these will always only be a part of the cure as long as there are human beings who care for other human beings. If we do not listen and tell our stories we risk leaving the person in the background, treating the disease and not the ill person. Each one of us with his or her story is a little boat in the middle of the sea, and sometimes, even a little bit of ailment is enough to be suddenly out of the port; off the coast, with faces, smells and lights that are there, inside of us, and at the same time to oceans of distance; we sail among images and words that leap between the sun and the deep as the marine creatures do. Sharing one’s own story helps to better deal with any small or large navigation it may be.

Narrating mental suffering, or even simple psychological discomfort is more difficult because in common opinion these things still “taste” of closed, isolated and shameful even if there is no longer any reason. With the closure of the asylums, psychiatry undertook to ensure that mental illness was considered as any other organic pathology, but perhaps for this reason a “scientific” approach emerged, based on evidence, reviews and guidelines which, although indispensable, generated two different kind of psychiatrists: those of the “measures” and those of the “experiences” with all their variations. In recent years, the vision of mental disorder has preferred the dimensional criterion to the more rigidly categorized criterion of the previous Statistical Diagnostic Manuals, but we are still far from an epistemologically appropriate instrument to address mental suffering in a harmonious and integrated way.

Narrative Medicine with its tool can contribute to the creation of a renewed meeting place between science and humanity to the full satisfaction of both.

Beginning to share allows each aspect of the narrative relationship to approach the understanding and serenity that are needed to stay, for caring and live better.

Have a good narration.

Ubaldo Sagripanti

20 Centesimi di Psichiatria

Matteo Nunner

Graduated in Literature at the University of Eastern Piedmont, he's now studying anthropological and ethnological science at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Journalist and writer, he collaborated with many local newspapers and in the 2015 he published his first book "Qui non arriva la pioggia". In the 2017 published "Il peccato armeno, ovvero la binarietà del male".

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.