Quotes on mental illness

“Alcohol ruined me financially and morally, broke my heart and the hearts of too many others. Even though it did this to me and it almost killed me and I haven’t touched a drop of it in seventeen years, sometimes I wonder if I could get away with drinking some now. I totally subscribe to the notion that alcoholism is a mental illness because thinking like that is clearly insane.”
Craig Ferguson, American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
 
“Suicide is a form of murder— premeditated murder. It isn’t something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes some getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.It’s important to cultivate detachment. One way to do this is to practice imagining yourself dead, or in the process of dying. If there’s a window, you must imagine your body falling out the window. If there’s a knife, you must imagine the knife piercing your skin. If there’s a train coming, you must imagine your torso flattened under its wheels. These exercises are necessary to achieving the proper distance.The debate was wearing me out. Once you’ve posed that question, it won’t go away. I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won’t. Anything I thought or did was immediately drawn into the debate. Made a stupid remark—why not kill myself? Missed the bus—better put an end to it all. Even the good got in there. I liked that movie—maybe I shouldn’t kill myself.In reality, it was only part of myself I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made every window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy.”
Susanna Kaysen
 
“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 Kaczynski
 
“Between 10 and 20 percent of people with anorexia die from heart attacks, other complications and suicide; the disease has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Or Kitty could have lost her life in a different way, lost it to the roller coaster of relapse and recovery, inpatient and outpatient, that eats up, on average, five to seven years. Or a lifetime: only half of all anorexics recovery in the end. The other half endure lives of dysfunction and despair. Friends and families give up on them. Doctors dread treating them. They’re left to stand in the bakery with the voice ringing in their ears, alone in every way that matters.”
Harriet Brown
 
“The word is dissociate. There is no ‘a’ before the invariably say dis-a-ssociate, which, if you’re suffering Disso-ciative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder, can be irritating. People then want to know how many personalities I have and the answer is: I don’t know. The first book about Multiple Personality Disorder to make an impact was Flora Rheta Schreiber’s Sybil, published in 1973, which carries the subtitle: The True and Extraordinary Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities. Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley published the controversial The Three Faces of Eve much earlier in 1957, and Pete Townshend from The Who wrote the song ‘Four Faces’. People seem to feel safe with numbers.
The truth is more complicated. The kids emerged over time. Billy, the boisterous five-year-old, was at first the most dominant. But he slowly stood aside for JJ, the self-confident ten-year-old who appears when Alice is under stress and handles complicated situations like travelling on the Underground and meeting new people. The first entity to visit was the external voice of the Professor. But he had a choir of accomplices without names. So, how many actual alter personalities are there? I would than fifteen and less than thirty, a combination of protectors, persecutors and friends – my own family tree.”
Alice Jamieson, Today I’m Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind
 
“Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over.I know how wrong this is.When I was a child, I didn’t understand. I would wake up in a new body and wouldn’t comprehend why things felt muted, dimmer. Or the opposite–I’d be supercharged, unfocused, like a radio at top volume flipping quickly from station to station. Since I didn’t have access to the body’s emotions, I assumed the ones I was feeling were my own. Eventually, though, I realized these inclinations, these compulsions, were as much a part of the body as its eye color or its voice. Yes, the feelings themselves were intangible, amorphous, but the cause of the feelings was a matter of chemistry, biology.It is a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again.”
David Levithan, Every Day

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