Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Jennifer Sinor

Abstract

While a body of creative nonfiction writing exists regarding experiences with various psychological disorders, few personal accounts have been written about the physical complications of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Some memoirs tell a tale of serious illness in a straightforward narrative line. On the opposite end of this spectrum, other memoirs intentionally blur the lines of truth and heighten the confusion of a disorder. This thesis is as much a narrative of my experience with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as it is a response to the void in creative nonfiction surrounding this specific disorder and the narrative forms others have chosen to utilize while writing about the body.

In this thesis, I manipulate traditional narrative forms to expose the truth of my experience. The first chapter contains a straightforward narrative of my experience in the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in Ashland, Pennsylvania, to provide a framework for a thesis regarding the redemption of a ruined landscape, or an ill body. The second section follows the guidelines of a psychosocial interview and intake form used by therapists and reveals the particular physical manifestations of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The third and final section is fragmented into fiction, drama and memoir. The combination of my personal story with illness and the geological, social and industrial history of central Pennsylvania coal mining and the mutation of form used to convey it permits a deeper level of understanding for the complexities surrounding collapsed bodies, landscapes and narratives.

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