Visionary Alternatives to the DSM

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Hello everyone-
This is a call for submissions to a zine I am compiling, which will include self-portraits and descriptions of one’s own madness/mental health issues as a DSM alternative. Artist Brian Lewis Saunders, who did an experiment where he did a self-portrait every day under the influence of various drugs- psychiatric, illegal, over the counter, etc inspired this project. His work can be found here

The idea for my zine is that labels like Bipolar I, Schizophrenia, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are dehumanizing and cannot capture how beautiful and diverse and complex madness is. I want to create a translator from DSM to mad pride- sort of like an alternative guidebook for understanding madness rather than the DSM. I have been discussing this on the Icarus Project Forums for a while now. ***The submission deadline is 12/29/12.** You can submit via email to or at the Icarus project webforums at this thread I also suggest checking out some of the self-portraits already made in the thread. Please note you will have to register to submit via the Icarus forums.

Your submission can be in any media or any combinations of media- including photographs, but please make sure it is you own original work. Please submit a high-resolution photo of your submission. JPEG format is preferred. You can also submit solely in writing.

For everyone submitting, please include the following. Please number each response and list the response to each number separately. The responses can be very brief if you wish- even bullet points for numbers 2 & 3. Email me if you are having trouble with any of this for any reason and we can work something out. Also I am very happy to have feedback about these suggestions for inclusion.


  1. The name of your madness (Please do not use an actual DSM diagnosis)
  2. A description of your madness including specific hallmarks/”symptoms” (I really encourage you to include positive hallmarks as well if you are including negative hallmarks)
  3. A description of the form of “treatment”/healing/recovery that is relevant to your madness. This might simply mean what you need to do for yourself to function in a society where madness is stigmatized. It could mean what self-care is important to avoid an extreme state, how friends and family or professionals can be of assistance, what herbs/food/medication/drugs/etc. is useful for you in a crisis
  4. Self perceived prognosis at time of submission (what do you all think of this- this might be edited out later. also interpret this however you wish. you might be horribly “ill” by society’s standards but feel your life is going wonderfully and therefore say prognosis is excellent- expecting many years of art creation or something similar)
  5. The name you would like to be credited for your submission (anonymous is fine),
  6. An email address/website/other contact info if you wish (OPTIONAL),
  7. A title for your self-portrait that is different than the name of your madness (OPTIOINAL)
  8. A short anecdote or story that is relevant to your submission (s) or a description of how your madness developed (OPTIONAL- does not guarantee inclusion of this part of the submission)

Today is 11/3/12. In all likelihood I will start working towards compiling the zine and editing it mid December and will plan for it to be done by late January. Please spread the word to and mad friends you think may be interested.

For inspiration here is the self portrait I did of myself today: