Over the last three years (wow, has it been that long?), I’ve read and reviewed a lot of books. Here are a few quotes that stood out for me.
No One Cares About Crazy People
In No One Cares About Crazy People, Ron Powers intertwines a sweeping history of mental illness stigma with the stories of his two sons’ mental illness, which eventually stole the life of one of them. He concluded the book with this plea:
The mentally ill people in our lives, as they strive to build healthy, well-supported, and rewarding lives for themselves, can show us all how to reconnect with the most primal of human urges, the urge to be of use, disentangling from social striving, consumer obsession, cynicism, boredom, and isolation, and honoring it among the true sources of human happiness. To put it another way: the mentally ill in our society are awaiting their chance to heal us, if we can only manage to escape our own anosognosia and admit that we need their help.
Note: Anosognosia is the psychiatric term for lack of insight.
An Unquiet Mind
An Unquiet Mind tells psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison’s story of living with bipolar disorder while working in the field of mental health care. She wrote that, as a result of her illness:
I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters; worn death ‘as close as dungarees’, appreciated it—and life—more; seen the finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through.
In Written Off, Philip T. Yanos writes about how people with mental illness are written off by society because of stigma. He offers these thoughts on making things better:
The true alternative to stigmatizing is not just tolerating, but accepting and embracing difference. If we can all accept and embrace the beauty of our own ‘freakness,’ and recognize it as such, we will be much more likely to accept and embrace the ‘freakness’ of others.
The Body Keeps The Score
In The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk explains the meaning of the book’s title this way:
The body keeps the score: If the memory of trauma is encoded in the viscera, in heartbreaking and gut-wrenching emotions, in autoimmune disorders and skeletal/muscular problems, and if mind/brain/visceral communication is the royal road to emotion regulation, this demands a radical shift in our therapeutic assumptions.
The Collected Schizophrenias
In The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang, writes this about experiencing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization:
Rarely did I experience such a radical and visceral imbalance of power as I did as a psychiatric inpatient amid clinicians who knew me only as illness in human form.
Is there anything you’ve read that stands out in your mind as being particularly powerful or meaningful?
Oh, and a quick p.s. to anyone who feels pressured to keep up with things on their blog:
For the last 2 years, I did weekly book review without skipping a week. So far this year, this is the second week I’ve skipped because I haven’t read “enough.” I’m sure you don’t care in the slightest; neither do I, and I encourage you to also not care if you fall behind on regular things you’re trying to keep up on your blog. Life’s too short to waste fucks on things that don’t matter.
This content was originally published here.