What's Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders

By Carol Donley; Sheryl Buckley | Go to book overview

From In a Tangled Wood:
An Alzheimer's Journey

JOYCE DYER


CHAPTER THREE: PLAQUES AND TANGLES

This is madness, I think. "This is madness," I say out loud. But I know better.
This is Alzheimer's disease.

Marion Roach, Another Name for Madness


1

TANGLEWOOD is a tiny and simple world, but still a world far too complicated for most of the people living here. A thousand times a day, residents of Tanglewood ask where their rooms are and where they sit for dinner. Names printed in black marker and pasted to bright backgrounds appear on dining room tables, on doors of rooms, above beds. The construction-paper backgrounds are color-coded. Each resident has become a Crayola crayon in a box of twenty-four. My mother's color is consistently, always, purple.

A long table runs across one side of the living area. A heavy piece of glass protects its surface, but also weighs down a photograph display of residents. Their names are printed boldly on strips of paper taped above each picture. A banner appears at the top: "Seniors at Tanglewood. Summer 1994."

Mr. Miller just arrived at Tanglewood and still knows his name, and where he eats, and how to find his room. Mr. Miller always wears his baseball cap tightly on his head to keep his brains from spilling out and says the same thing a hundred times a day to anyone who will listen. "Have you seen Sandra Miller? Tell her I'm looking for her."

But for residents who no longer can read, or have forgotten their names, the signs become useless. Lost men and women sit at tables and with thick yellow thumbnails pick and scratch the heavy tape that bolts their names to the furniture.

-325-

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What's Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Literature and Medicine ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Editors'' Commentary on Narrative xiii
  • Part One - Clinical & Bioethical Perspectives 1
  • The Meaning of Normal 7
  • From Madness, Heresy, and the Rumor of Angels- The Revolt against the Mental Health System 17
  • From the Flamingo''s Smile- Reflections in Natural History 30
  • From Rewriting the Soul 39
  • From "On Being Sane in Insane Places" 54
  • From Love''s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy 61
  • Three Stories from Cases in Bioethics 68
  • Part Two - Narrative Perspectives 85
  • Section One - Children & Adolescents with Mental Disorders 93
  • Silent Snow, Secret Snow 95
  • The End of the Party 110
  • From Girl, Interrupted 117
  • From Equus 125
  • Section Two - Mental Disability (Retardation) 135
  • Two Stick Drawings 137
  • From Joe Egg 139
  • The Life You Save May Be Your Own 146
  • From of Mice and Men 156
  • Average Waves in Unprotected Waters 165
  • Lily Daw and the Three Ladies 173
  • Section Three - Women''s Experiences with Mental Disorders 183
  • Three Poems 185
  • From like Water for Chocolate 187
  • From Faces in the Water 189
  • The Yellow Wallpaper 201
  • The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window 215
  • The Avalanche 218
  • "No Name Woman," from the Woman Warrior 219
  • Three Poems 229
  • Section Four - Mens Experiences with War Trauma, Including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 233
  • "1919" from Sula 235
  • Night March 241
  • Mental Cases 249
  • From Ceremony 250
  • From Mrs. Dalloway 257
  • Section Five - Men … Mental Disorders 269
  • Panic 271
  • King of the Bingo Game 273
  • "Cash" from as I Lay Dying 281
  • Gogol''s Wife 285
  • The Tell-Taie Heart 295
  • From the Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge 299
  • Section Six - Alzheimer''s & Dementia 301
  • To You My Mother Lost in Time 303
  • From My Journey into Alzheimer''s Disease 305
  • From in a Tangled Wood- An Alzheimer''s Journey 325
  • Two Poems 340
  • A Wonderland Party 343
  • Notes on Contributors 345
  • Permissions Acknowledgments 350
  • Index 354
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