Monday, September 5, 2016
Why would a Hungarian man run down a Manhattan street ranting "I'm king of the Puerto Ricans"? What made a physically healthy woman persuade surgeons to operate on her more than a dozen times? How could a man in a straitjacket commit suicide while in a strictly supervised, locked psychiatric ward?
Though these and the other stories in this book read like fiction, each is true.
Former practicing psychiatrist Mark Rubinstein takes readers deep into the world of mental illness. From the chaos of a psychiatric ER to the bowels of a maximum security prison, the stories range from bizarre to poignant and the people from noble to callous.
Bedlam's Door depicts the challenges mental illness poses for patients, families, and health-care professionals and offers hope for the future. Like the case histories in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, it shows that though every person's story is unique, we are all more alike than different and are linked by our shared human experience.
I found the stories in this book to be fascinating and at the same time very enlightening. I have read many books where the author has been an expert on the subject matter that they were writing about. This is where I can encounter a problem as the author can sometimes come off as showoffish by using big words and long winded explanations that are way over my head. This causes my reading experiences to be difficult. Yet, this was not the case with this book. Dr. Rubinstein had a nice way of explaining the cases in a way that I was able to understand and even learn from.
I have always said that I could not be a psychologist because I did not really have the patience for people. After reading this book I do applaud Dr. Rubinstein and others like him that do have that patience and compassion for the people in need like the ones in this book. Although, these people are not always special cases but more common then me or anyone else is really aware of. Therefore, the reason that I do support the need for better access and treatment for mental illnesses. With each case, Dr. Rubinstein would at the end of each one give an afterword that would include an update on the patient as well as explain the cause and even how someone like me could look for signs to help someone early on get the treatment they needed. This book is one that people can learn from.