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Very excited to hear @RLindsayComics here at @HMSCountway today on "Reclaiming the Patient Narrative through #GraphicMedicine" beginning momentarily! @MCPHSArtScience @HachetteUS @NoetheMatt Flier for @RLindsayComics's talk at Harvard Medical School
There’s pie for #PiDay!
Dien Ho of @MCPHS Center for Health Humanities thanks @NoetheMatt for today’s event and starts the talk.
From 19 onward, Lindsay had to accept her diagnosis of a bipolar disorder and the end of her dream to be a comics creator. She would need health insurance and prescription support for life.
Sitting at a desk — working to design pharmaceutical campaigns for people who were like herself — “drove me insane.”
@RLindsayComics Regarding #GraphicMedicine: "There is kind of an emphasis on solely the interplay between words and images, and interstitial space that can hold unnameable emotions." However, the panels themselves, as a units of time, granted control over retelling and recounting her experience.
Lindsay offers a “crash course in visual storytelling,” highlighting the difference in “feeling” with variations on gutter sizes.
Careful thought is given (even if it has become ingrained to Lindsay) to the rhythm that different layouts, panels, and relationship to text boxes create. Thumbnails of RX
“I had containers for that trauma.” - Rachel Lindsay on her use of panels and the sequential art of #comics

The repetition of her medication taking.
This was not cathartic for Lindsay. It was retraumarizing, difficult, painful. #GraphicMedicine should not romanticize the telling or expression of trauma and illness.
In the narrative, at the moment of her breakdown and intervention, Rachel looks to the reader. “Is this okay?” Can she share this with you? Is this a safe space? Panel from RX
If sharing a rational understanding of mental illness were not possible, says Lindsay, conveying an emotional understanding becomes the goal.
Lindsay requested copies of her hospital notes in preparation for RX. Reviewing them was “one of the hardest things I did in my life.” Remarkably, her ambition of showing her work to the @NewYorker was marked as a sign of her being delusional in the official medical notes.
Which better conveys Rachel? Which instills compassion while still delivering information?

(“There were triumphs in this process. This was one of them.” Escaping the clipboard.)
Getting feedback from peers and reviewers, Lindsay shaped this section, “The Fool,” to “unpack the anger” that many saw reflected in the early pages. “It’s easier to be angry than sad.”
To convey “the level of otherness she felt in this career,” particularly being put on the @pfizer account, Lindsay visually coded herself as a wolf amongst her colleagues. Additionally, her eyes change throughout the book — from dots to “google eyes” for expressiveness.
“The approach that was taken to hospitalize me was wrong” — as a grown adult, without conversation, etc. It was unilateral and lacking in proper boundaries (see prev. discussion of panels and control).
“I was afraid of my [bipolar] cycle, but I was also afraid of ruining my life.” The CHUG. CRUSH. TOSS. route was the only one presented to her, the only option.
Audience Q&A gets right to the point: How can and should medicine change? Lindsay emphasizes the issue with the medical notes system, conveying the humanity of the patient, creating a “co-created narrative.” Notes @NarrativeMed work by @RitaCharon at @Columbia.
Students, scholars, and creators are all in attendance (particularly comic-buying @Liz_Sux!). Genuinely rapt attention.
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