21 October, 2007

Trapped - A Book Review

I saw a mosquito tonight. It will be a little hard to describe where I saw him, but let's give it a shot.

Above my sink is a bright light. And to the left of that light, I hang a hand mixer for protien drinks. On the mixer, my son hangs a cup. The cup is clear plastic. So, picture a little to the left and below my sink light, an inverted, clear cup.

The mosquito was hopelessly trapped inside this cup.

He was pulling a "moth" and flying toward the bright light, when he stumbled into a clear plastic prison. He immediately set to work trying to get on with his life, I imagine, though I was not there to see his first actions. When I arrived, he seemed to vary his path a little bit flying first to the left, then up, then down, then right and mixing the pattern up creatively, in hopes of finding a hole through which he might escape from the prison he could not even see.

The 4 inch hole at the bottom of the cup never figured into his escape plans.

I watched him for a minute before I walked away and finished cooking dinner. (For those of you keeping score, yeah he's still alive somewhere in my house.)

He was trapped by nothing but his own wiring. In order to free himself, he would need to travel 120 degrees away from the bright light and in the right direction - down. I never saw his path drift more than 60 degrees from the light, and I never saw him go down much at all.


In related news, I finished reading "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" today. It's the true autobiography of a 16 year old girl in the 50's who was committed to an insane asylum for schizophrenia. The book had the same effect upon me as did watching "A Beautiful Mind." It left me a jibbering idiot for a little over an hour. Every time I read about schizophrenia, I lose a touch with reality for a little while. It's quite unsettling.

I was still suffering from that straightjacketed thinking when I saw the mosquito.

The parallels are far too obvious to draw, but I'll do it anyway. Insanity arrives when our hard wiring comes in conflict with an invisible trap. People who think they're pithy say foolish things like, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time." These pithy, cruel people cannot see the trap. They sit outside the cup telling the victim to "Just fly straight up. Watch, I'll show you how it's done."

They say brilliant things like, "With the right drugs, you can live a normal life." Maybe with the right drugs the tormented quit bouncing their heads off the top of the cup, instead of sitting there half-asleep on the side of their invisible trap, but it's no normal life. Either way, the cruel don't know that and shoot their mouths off none the wiser for their pith, and none the kinder for their helpfulness.


So with this post, let my recommendations be 2:
1) If you find yourself beating your head against an invisible trap, seek competent help and ignore foolish helpers. They're everywhere.

2) If you want to know what it's like to be helplessly tormented by your own mind, and if you would like to cry repeatedly for pure tragedy, pick up a copy of the book, "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." It is a brilliant self-portrait of one girl's journey through the darkest hell earth offers, and of the people she learned to appreciate along the way. The book will freeze your heart with its portrayal of insanity, and melt it with the story of those who endure it - themselves, their parents, and their doctors.

1 comment:

Weekend Fisher said...

I read Rose Garden many years ago. Oddly enough, it seemed like a lifeline to me at the time. Not in any comforting way. I mean, are lifelines really comforting, or are they just something solid to hang on to that keep us from sliding any further? Kind of like your well-meaning-platitudinarians, they would give you a teddy bear or a book of proverbs when you needed a lifeline.