Saturday, February 28, 2009

Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent

My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin

You might call this: Slouching Towards Bedlam (Vincent's own words). It is a very interesting book that may not appeal to persons with psychiatric disease to whom drugs are the answer or to those who idolize psychiatrists. It is well-worth reading.

From Publishers Weekly: Vincent's first trip to a mental institution—to which the writing of Self-Made Man drove her—convinced her that further immersion would give her great material for a follow-up. The grand tour consists of voluntary commitments to a hospital mental ward, a small private facility and a boutique facility; but Vincent's efforts to make a big statement about the state of mental health treatment quickly give way to a more personal journey. An attempt to wean herself off Prozac, for example, adds a greater sense of urgency to her second research trip, while the therapists overseeing her final treatment lead her to a major emotional breakthrough. Meanwhile, her fellow patients are easily able to peg her as an emotional parasite, though this rarely stops them from interacting with her—and though their neediness sometimes frustrates her, she is less judgmental of them than of the doctors and nurses.