Susanna Kaysen quotes

  • Crazy isn't being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It's you or me amplified. If you ever told a lie and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child forever.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Children #Lying #Crazy

  • The only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Inspirational #Crazy #Littles

  • Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can't go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling that person is kept inside or snatched out, to prove something about the family's mental health.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Depression #Crazy #Feelings

  • I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl Interrupted #Survival #Talent

  • Suicide is a form of murder - premeditated murder. It isn't something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes 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.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Suicide #Suicidal #Mean

  • Not everything has a happy ending, and not everything has an ending. Some things just kind of dribble away or cut off abruptly.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Cutting #Happy Endings #Kind

  • As far as I could see, life demanded skills I didn't have.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Skills

  • Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Insanity #Matter #Dropping

  • I know what it's like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can't. How you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Hurt #Trying #Want

  • But when they were done, I wondered if there would be a next time. I felt good. I wasn’t dead, yet something was dead. Perhaps I’d managed my peculiar objective of partial suicide. I was lighter, airier than I’d been in years.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Suicide #Years #Peculiar

  • Don’t ask me those questions! Don’t ask me what life means or how we know reality or why we have to suffer so much. Don’t talk about how nothing feels real, how everything is coated with gelatin and shining like oil in the sun. I don’t want to hear about the tiger in the corner or the Angel of Death or the phone calls from John the Baptist.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Depression #Real #Mean

  • Every window in Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Cheer Up #Views #San Francisco

  • We say that Columbus discovered America and Newton discovered gravity, as though America and gravity weren't there until Columbus and Newton got wind of them.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #America #Wind #Columbus

  • There is thought, and then there is thinking about thoughts, and they don't feel the same.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Thinking #Feels

  • 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.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Stupid #Thinking #People

  • You could also "request" to be locked into the seclusion room. Not many people made that request. You had to "request" to get out too. A nurse would look through the chicken wire and decide if you were ready to come out. Somewhat like looking at a cake through the glass of the oven door.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Glasses #Doors #Cake

  • When women are angry at men, they call them heartless. When men are angry at women, they call them crazy.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Crazy #Men #Heartless

  • All my integrity seemed to lie in saying No.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Lying #Integrity #Saying No

  • My chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom came from the fact that I was living a life based on my incapacities, which were numerous.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Boredom #Feelings #Facts

  • It's one of the reasons I became a writer, to be able to smoke in peace.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Able #Reason

  • When I was supposed to be awake, I was asleep. When I was supposed to sleep, I was silent. When a pleasure offered itself to me, I avoided it.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Sleep #Silent #Pleasure

  • In the parallel universe the laws of physics are suspended. What goes up does not necessarily come down, a body at rest does not tend to stay at rest and not every action can be counted on to provoke an equal and opposite reaction. Time, 'too, is different. It may run in circles, flow backward, skip about from now to then. The very arrangement of molecules is fluid: Tables can be clocks, faces, flowers.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Running #Flower #Law

  • Insanity comes in two basic varieties: slow and fast. I'm not talking about onset or duration. I mean the quality of the insanity, the day-to-day business of being nuts.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Mean #Talking #Nuts

  • I needed to be alone, I felt. I wanted to be going on alone to my future.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #My Future #Wanted #Needed

  • Maybe, there's a moment growing up when something peels back... Maybe, maybe, we look for secrets because we can't believe our mind.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Growing Up #Believe #Secret

  • The world didn't stop because we weren't in it anymore.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #World

  • By the time we hit the streets they were silent and closed in on us, and they had assumed the Nonchalant Look, an expression that said, I am not a nurse escorting six lunatics to the ice cream parlor. But they were, and we were their six lunatics, so we behaved like lunatics.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Ice Cream #Expression #Nurse

  • Mental illness seems to be a communication problem between interpreters one and two.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Communication #Two #Mental Illness

  • A thought is a hard thing to control.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Hard Things

  • An observer can't tell if a person is silent and still because inner life has stalled or because inner life is transfixingly busy.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Busy #Life Is #Silent

  • Disease [is] as one of our languages. Doctors understand what disease has to say about itself. It's up to the person with the disease to understand what the disease has to say to her.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Doctors #Disease #Language

  • It is easy to slip into a parallel universe. There are so many of them: worlds of the insane, the criminal, the crippled, the dying, perhaps of the dead as well. These worlds exist alongside this world and resemble it, but are not in it.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Dying #Insane #World

  • Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #World #Cry

  • This time I read the title of the painting: Girl Interrupted at Her Music. Interrupted at her music: as my life had been, interrupted in the music of being seventeen, as her life had been, snatched and fixed on canvas: one moment made to stand still and to stand for all the other moments, whatever they would be or might have been. What life can recover from that?
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl #Would Be #Might

  • ... now I was safe, now I was really crazy, and nobody could take me out of there.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Depression #Crazy #Safe

  • A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Suicide #Self Harm #Suicidal

  • Maybe I was just flirting with madness the way I flirted with my teachers and my classmates.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Teacher #Flirting #Way

  • Tell me that you don’t take that blade and drag it across your skin and pray for the courage to press down.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Skins #Praying #Drag

  • I was trying to explain my situation to myself. My situation was that I was in pain and nobody knew it, even I had trouble knowing it. So I told myself, over and over, You are in pain. It was the only way I could get through to myself. I was demonstrating externally and irrefutably an inward condition.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Pain #Knowing #Over You

  • It's a long way from not having enough serotonin to thinking the world is "stale, flat and unprofitable"; even further to writing a play about a man driven by that thought.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Writing #Men #Thinking

  • The girl at her music sits in another sort of light,the fitful,overcast light of lie,by which we see ourselves and others only imprefectly, and seldom..-Girl,Interrupted
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl #Lying #Light

  • It's a fairly accurate portrait of me at eighteen, minus a few quirks like reckless driving and eating binges. It's accurate but it isn't profound.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Profound #Portraits #Driving

  • My family had a lot of characteristics - achievements, ambitions, talents, expectations - that all seemed to be recessive in me.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Ambition #Expectations #Achievement

  • Don't separate the mind from the body. Don't separate even character - you can't. Our unit of existence is a body, a physical, tangible, sensate entity with perceptions and reactions that express it and form it simultaneously. Disease is one of our languages. Doctors understand what disease has to say about itself. It's up to the person with the disease to understand what the disease has to say to her.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Character #Doctors #Perception

  • Scar tissue has no character. It's not like skin. It doesn't show age or illness or pallor or tan. It has no pores, no hair, no wrinkles. It's like a slip cover. It shields and disguises what's beneath. That's why we grow it; we have something to hide.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Character #Wrinkles #Hair

  • With wild eyes that had seen freedom.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Eye

  • If I could have any job in the world I'd be a professional Cinderella.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Jobs #World

  • And in the end, I lost him. I did it on purpose, the way Garance lost Baptiste in the crowd. I needed to be alone, I felt. I wanted to be going on alone to my future.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Purpose #Crowds #Way

  • Viscosity and velocity are opposites, yet they can look the same. Viscosity causes the stillness of disinclination, velocity causes the stillness of fascination. An observer can't tell if a person is silent and still because inner life has stalled or because inner life is transfixingly busy.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Opposites #Looks #Velocity

  • It was a spring day, the sort that gives people hope: all soft winds and delicate smells of warm earth. Suicide weather.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Suicide #Spring #Wind

  • I am not a nurse escorting six lunatics to the ice cream parlor.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Ice #Nurse #Six

  • Actually, 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

    #Suicide #Kitchen #Tragedy

  • I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won't.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Sad #Suicide #Thinking

  • Whatever we call it - mind, character, soul - we like to think we possess something that is greater than the sum of our neurons and that animates us.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Character #Thinking #Soul

  • This behavior may...counteract feelings of'numbness'and depersonalization that aries duriing periods of extreme stress.-153 Girl,Interrupted
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl #Stress #Numbness

  • I had an inspiration once. I woke up one morning and I knew that it was my task to swallow fifty asprin.It was my task:my job for the day.-17 Girl Interrupted
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl #Morning #Jobs

  • When you’re sad you need to hear your sorrow structured into sound.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Sorrow #Sound #Needs

  • Something about the goat dancing made me want to cry.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Dancing #Goats #Want

  • Twenty aspirin, a little slit alongside the veins of the arm, maybe even a bad half hour standing on a roof: We've all had those. And somewhat more dangerous things, like putting a gun in your mouth. But you put it there, you taste it, it's cold and greasy, your finger is on the trigger, and you find that a whole world lies between this moment and the moment you've been planning, when you'll pull the trigger. That world defeats you. You put the gun back in the drawer. You'll have to find another way.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Lying #Gun #Veins

  • Being crasy doesn't mean to be broken...It is you and me amplified", Girl, Interrupted
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl #Mean #Broken

  • What is it about meter and cadence and rhythm that makes their makers mad?
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Mad #Cadence #Makers

  • Confuse was the nurses' word for abuse.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Nurse #Abuse

  • Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Girl #Dream #Crazy

  • I'm your mind", it claims. "You can't parse ME into dendrites and synapses
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Mind #Claims #Synapses

  • You have to have a somewhat cold heart to be a writer.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Heart #Cold #Cold Heart

  • For nearly a century the psychoanalysts have been writing op-ed pieces about the workings of a country they've never traveled to, a place that, like China, has been off-limits. Suddenly, the country has opened its borders and is crawling with foreign correspondents, neurobiologists are filing ten stories a week, filled with new data. These two groups of writers, however, don't seem to read each other's work. That's because the analysts are writing about a country they call Mind and the neuroscientists are reporting from a country they call Brain.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Country #Writing #Data

  • Light like this does not exist, but we wish it did. We wish the sun could make us young and beautiful, we wish our clothes could glisten and ripple against our skins, most of all, we wish that everyone we knew could be brightened simply by our looking at them, as are the maid with the letter and the soldier with the hat.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Beautiful #Light #Clothes

  • Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren't? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Insanity #Acting #Stuff

  • Our hospital was famous and housed many great poets and singers. Did the hospital specialize in poets and singers or was it that poets and singers specialized in madness?
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Singers #Madness #Poet

  • Emptiness and boredom: what an understatement. What I felt was complete desolation. Desolation, despair, and depression. Isn't there some other way to look at this? After all, angst of these dimensions is a luxury item. You need to be well fed, clothes, and housed to have time for this much self-pity.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Self #Luxury #Clothes

  • Freedom was the price of privacy.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Privacy

  • 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 of that 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 excercises are necessary to achieving the proper distance.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Distance #Fall #Numbness

  • Are you crazy? It's a common phrase, I know. But it means something particular to me: the tunnels, the security screens, the plastic forks, the shimmering, ever-shifting borderline that like all boundaries beckons and asks to be crossed. I do not want to cross it again.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Crazy #Mean #Tunnels

  • For many of us, the hospital was as much a refuge as it was a prison. Though we were cut off from the world and all the trouble we enjoyed stirring up out there, we were also cut off from the demands and expectations that had driven us crazy. What could be expected of us now that we were stowed away in a loony bin?
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Crazy #Cutting #Expectations

  • The floor of ice cream parlor bothered me. It was black-and-white checkboard tile, bigger than supermarket checkboard. If I looked only at a white square, I would be all right, but it was hard to ignore the black squares that surrounded the white ones. The contrast got under my skin. The floor meant yes, no, this, that, up, down, day, night -all the indecisions and opposites that were bad enough in life without having them spelled out for you on the floor.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Black And White #Night #Ice Cream

  • Emptiness and boredom: what a complete understatement. What I felt was complete desolation. Desolation, despair and boredom.
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Boredom #Despair #Emptiness

  • In a strange way we were free. We'd reached the end of the line. We had nothing more to lose. Our privacy, our liberty, our dignity: all of this was gone and we were stripped down to the bare bones of our selves
    -- Susanna Kaysen

    #Self #Liberty #Gone