MAD IN BELGIUM
Nadia Mahjoub was born in 1972 and lives in Belgium. She graduated in 1994 from Vrije Universiteit Brussel where she studied English and German. She had her first crisis (labelled as psychosis) at the age of 24 when she combined two full-time teaching jobs (!) After 10 medication-free years, she went through another crisis in 2006 just after her daughter Lisa was born, and again in 2008. She was then diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Around 2001, she started working as a volunteer for the Belgian non-profit organisation UilenSpiegel, which represents the interests of (ex-)users and survivors of mental health services in Flanders and Brussels. She writes two blogs (in Dutch): one about the traumatic effects of seclusion in psychiatry and one about the link between psychosis and spirituality and the search for alternative responses to emotional-spiritual crises. She defines herself as an expert by experience. Nadia believes she still has a lot to learn about what exactly happened during her crises and what can be done to improve the approach to madness.