Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves…
As an adult with sensory processing disorder, I am contemplating a memoir with each chapter named after a mental illness found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Each chapter could highlight a scene or reflection that illustrated how that mental illness manifested in my life. I could have a chapter for: learning disabilities, major depressive disorder, Asperger syndrome, obsessive/compulsive disorder, hypomania, substance abuse, anxiety, etc. I could also have chapters for disorders which have not yet been named, categorized or quantified. Like the one my friend, the sociology major, and I discussed recently. It is a syndrome in which the afflicted identifies completely with whatever disorder she is currently reading about in the DSM.
I could possibly get this piece published in the American Psychiatric Journal or at least underwritten by a major pharmaceutical company.
Another exceptionally brilliant idea is to set up my memoir like a Wikipedia entry. The piece would have hyperlinks from the main text to the bio of each character, which would be hyperlinked back to the main text or each individual scene. This way the reader could experience the memoir as she would in a caffeine-induced all-night conversation with the main character.
This format could be expanded to include alternative scenes written from the perspective of each individual character. This would allow the reader to experience the memoir as if she were a guest at a dysfunctional family gathering hosted by the main character.
The writer could also link to factual information of interest that pertained to the memoir, such as Google maps of scene locations, entries from DSM Online and advertisements by, say, pharmaceutical companies. Another major advantage to this format is that the author could add to it indefinitely thereby never having to actually finish it.*
*The syndrome characterized by an all-encompassing failure to ever finish a work of art has yet to be named and entered into the DSM.