For eight years I was an inmate in a state asylum for the insane. During those years I passed through such unbearable terror that I deteriorated into a wild, frightened creature intent only on survival. And I survived. I was raped by orderlies, gnawed on by rats and poisoned by tainted food. I was chained in padded cells, strapped into strait-jackets and half-drowned in ice baths. And I survived. The asylum itself was a steel trap, and I was not released from its jaws alive and victorious. I crawled out mutilated, whimpering and terribly alone. But I did survive.
A nightmare has taken hold of my body. Lunacy has dug its way inside my mind.
The scariest thing of all is never knowing what you’re suddenly going to believe.
It is in my head! That’s why it’s called Mental Illness.
To think too much is a disease.
Then the weeks rolled by in a sinister psych ward haze filled with white-coated orderlies and rocking whack-job patients torn straight from some old Jack Nicholson film, all anti-psychotic meds and padded lonely cells…
My brain had begun to endure its familiar siege: panic and dislocation, and a sense that my thought processes were being engulfed by a toxic and unnameable tide that obliterated any enjoyable response to the living world.
Can you smell his sweat? That peculiar goatish odor is trans-3-methyl-2 hexenoic acid. Remember it, it’s the smell of schizophrenia.
Cause I’d rather stay here
With all the madmen
Than perish with the sadmen roaming free
And I’d rather play here
With all the madmen
For I’m quite content they’re all as sane
“Forgive me," I wrote at the bottom. "I did not think I would break.”
I begin to wonder if David was like me. Seeing monsters everywhere and realizing there aren’t enough slingshots in the world to get rid of them.
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.
—Tamara Ireland Stone
That is what madness is, isn’t it? All the wheels fly off the bus and things don’t make sense any more. Or rather, they do, but it’s not a kind of sense anyone else can understand.
I repeat one of my mantras. “This is not happening. This is not real. This did not happen to you. That was someone else.”
Inside my head is a jigsaw made of trillions and trillions and trillions of atoms. It might take a while.
It was the face of a human being who’d been constructed exclusively of wounds. Not time or history or ambition, nothing but wounds. The face of a person who could probably kill someone without feeling anything whatsoever.
It felt like this was never going to end. The world wasn’t going to stop crashing down until there was nothing left of me but dust.
I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.
It can’t have been fun to live with somebody whose brain was under siege.
I remember once I read a book on mental illness and there was a nurse that had gotten sick. Do you know what she died from? From worrying about the mental patients not being able to get their food. She became a mental patient.
Children of the mentally ill learn early on how not to be a bother, especially if they grew up with neglect. As my sister insisted once, when she was in severe pain after injuring her ankle, ‘This isn’t me! This is not who I am!
To not have your suffering recognized is an almost unbearable form of violence.
He could only consider me as the living corpse of a would-be suicide, a person dead to shame, an idiot ghost.
Every now and then I hear voices in my head, but not very clear. I can’t understand what they are saying. It’s a mental illness. I have been diagnosed as a manic depressive.
He was seemingly born not only with a gift for language, but with a particularly nasty clock which makes him go crazy every three years or so.
What is the natural reaction when told you have a hopeless mental illness? That diagnosis does you in; that, and the humiliation of being there. I mean, the indignity you’re subjected to. My God.
Except you cannot outrun insanity, anymore than you can outrun your own shadow.
They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.
This disease comes with a package: shame. When any other part of your body gets sick, you get sympathy.
The fear of the drugs running out is manageable-the fear of time running down isn’t.
The guilt I felt for having a mental illness was horrible. I prayed for a broken bone that would heal in six weeks. But that never happened. I was cursed with an illness that nobody could see and nobody knew much about.
It has been said of dreams that they are a ‘controlled psychosis,’ or, put another way, a psychosis is a dream breaking through during waking hours.
—Philip K. Dick
I think a lot of psychopaths are just geniuses who drove so fast that they lost control.
Our society tends to regard as a sickness any mode of thought or behavior that is inconvenient for the system and this is plausible because when an individual doesn’t fit into the system it causes pain to the individual as well as problems for the system. Thus the manipulation of an individual to adjust him to the system is seen as a cure for a sickness and therefore as good.
—Theodore J. Kaczynski
Bipolar robs you of that which is you. It can take from you the very core of your being and replace it with something that is completely opposite of who and what you truly are. Because my bipolar went untreated for so long, I spent many years looking in the mirror and seeing a person I did not recognize or understand. Not only did bipolar rob me of my sanity, but it robbed me of my ability to see beyond the space it dictated me to look. I no longer could tell reality from fantasy, and I walked in a world no longer my own.
The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy. In military science this is called Psy-Ops, for your info.
—David Foster Wallace
One in four of us will have a mental illness at some point. That is a lot of people.
That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.
Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.