|Pages/Publication Date:||239 / 2013|
A woman habitually self-harms, eating light bulbs, a box of nails, and a steak knife; a new mother is admitted with incessant visions of hurting her child; a recent university graduate, dressed in a tunic and declaring that love emanates from everything around him, is brought to the hospital by his alarmed girlfriend. These are a few of the patients that psychiatric physician Christine Montross has met on rounds at her hospital's locked inpatient ward. A doctor of uncommon curiosity and compassion, Montross explores her work experiences to understand the mysteries of the mind, particularly when the patient is in profound crisis and there appears to be no clear solution.
"[The book] draws a troubling but illuminating picture of what it's like to be locked into unrelenting emotional and mental chaos.... Montross does want to illustrate the 'messy, unsatisfying, nonconforming human mind,' but this is also her story—and the story of all those whose mission it is to comprehend and treat these perplexing illnesses.... Montross inserts herself, along with her partner and two children, into the book, with powerful effect. Parenting and caring for patients have quite a bit in common, she explains, including love, frustration, ineptitude—and of course fear.... Other details of Montross's full and joyous family life serve to accentuate the humanity she brings to her work."—Washington Post