Susanna Kaysen Q3 essay



Kaysenwas a victim of the sociological challenges facing the young peoplein the 60s. The baby boom came with a myriad of challenges thatresulted in a significant number of them suffering from differentmental conditions. The generation gap that ensued as result of thetake off to a social life dominated by increased socialization andpermissiveness led to many parents believing that tehri children werein need of psychiatric help. Kaysen suffered depression andaggressiveness and she spent close to two years in a mental hospital(Kaysen, 2013). The time that Kaysen spent in the hospital exposesthe experiences of mental health patients.

Kaysen’sexperience in the mental health hospitals has affected the way Iperceive mental health patients. First, I have always thought thatmentally ill patients seek help only through the opinions of a thirdparty. For example, I have always seen violent or reservedindividuals who are not willing to go to the hospital. It sometimestakes the efforts of relatives and friends to turn them in fortreatment. However, Kaysen willingly accepts to be hospitalized andeven agreeing to stay in the hospital for three week (Kaysen, 2013).Her stay, however, turns out to last for two years.

Kaysenalso narrates how the mentally ill patients are stigmatized in thehospital. For example, she describes the condition of the dormitoriesthat are characterized by grilled windows and locked doors (Kaysen,2013). In addition, the mentally ill patients are detached from theexternal world. They only get a glimpse of the changing world throughthe television. Unlike other patients in a streamline hospital,mentally ill patients lived in total incarceration. She regards tothe practice as unfair. However, she later discovered that mentalillnesses require being addressed in totality (Kaysen, 2013). The useof various methods to restrain the patients may have seemed excessiveto her since she was staying among other patients, Lisa Rowe, whosestate of mental condition required the use of such measures.


Thesymptoms harbored by Kaysen were consequential enough for her to beadmitted to hospital. The rationale for this is that in the 60s and70s, the pharmacological treatment of mental illness and shorteffective therapies had not infiltrated the medical field.Consequently, most of the therapies were lengthy, and they requiredpatients to stay under care for long.

Herbehavior at school first describes an individual who keeps on tryingin her biology lessons but fails consistently (Kaysen, 2013).However, she gives up and abandons school. She also exhibitsunbecoming behavior by dating her teacher. Her depression levelsheathen when she decides to attempt suicide. It depicts an individualwho have been harboring the thought of ending her life when herdepression level was mild. However, when it becomes severe, shedecides to take an aspirin overdose but luckily survives.

Besides,Kaysen believes that she is not sick. She even disagrees with thediagnoses made by the doctor that require her to be hospitalized. Herperception may have been highly influenced by her idea of a mentallyill person. According to her, she was aware and willing to commitsuicide, and she did not consider it as a detrimental healthcondition (Kaysen, 2013). However, her behavior after being admittedto the hospital depicts an individual who requires medication. Forexample, she is aggressive and disruptive when she stands before thetelevision daring anyone to oppose her (Kaysen, 2013). In the outsideworld, such behavior could have led to her being at loggerheads withother people and the law.


Kaysen,S. (2013). Girl,interrupted.New York: Vintage.