De-Medicalizing Misery

pp 141-157

The Personal is The Political

  • Jacqui Dillon


The recognition that the personal cannot, ever, be other than politically developed from the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s (Hanish, 1970). It was an acknowledgment that the experiences, feelings and possibilities of our personal lives are not just a private matter of personal preferences and choices but are limited, moulded, defined and delimited by the broader political and social context. They feel personal, and their details are personal, but their broad texture and character, and especially the limits within which these evolve, are largely systemic. This concept is very relevant to contemporary mental health but, before looking at the political, I need to start with the personal. I would like to go back, right to the very beginning.