"Madness? Perhaps. A certain speed of thought, certain wonderful flights of ideas. Certain states of altered perception. Let us stop being afraid. Of our own thoughts, our own minds. Of madness, our own or others'. Stop being afraid of the mind itself, its astonishing functions and fandangos, its complications and simplifications ..."
A book by feminist author Kate Millett, published in 1990. The Loony-Bin Trip details her journey with a dianosis of bipolar disorder. Millett was hospitalized against her will in California in the early '80s and another attempt was made for involuntary hospitalization in Minnesota a little later. After ACLU lawyers fought for her release, Millett consented to undergo lithium therapy.
After seven years on lithium, Millett grows weary of the effects lithium is taking on her body and art (Millett is a painter, author, and photographer, as well as the founder of a women's art colony in New York). She decides to take herself off of lithium, with the help of her partner to monitor her progress or regression without the help of the drug.
In the aftermath of Millett's decision, her partner leaves her, the women in her art colony turn against her, her family again attempts to hospitalize her, and she flees to Ireland in the hopes of finding someplace there where she is accepted. On the contrary, because of a misunderstanding with the airport security, Millett is hospitalized in Ireland for months.
One of the most interesting facets of this book, besides the battle of a fine-tuned woman with flights of artistic temperment with the psychiatric institution, is that the reader (and Millett) never know if Millet really is going crazy or if everyone is just convinced that she is because she stops taking lithium.
A telling story of the fine line that can be drawn between madness and sanity, one seems to wonder throughout this entire book: "How, exactly, is she so different from me?"