Bedlam’s Door: True Stories of Madness and Hope by Mark Rubinstein, MD
Published September 1, 2016 by Thunder Lake Press
Genres Non Fiction, Psychology
Why would a man born in Hungary and living on Manhattan’s Lower East Sid run down Delancey Street ranting, “I’m king of the Puerto Ricans”? What would compel a physically healthy woman to persuade surgeons to operate on her more than a dozen times? Though these and these and the other stories in this volume read like fiction, each is true. Former practicing psychiatrist Mark Rubinstein opens the door and takes the reader deep into the world of mental illness. From the chaos of a psychiatric emergency room to a maximum security prison, the stories range from bizarre to poignant and the people from noble to callously uncaring. Bedlam’s Door depicts the challenges mental illness poses for patients, their families, health-care professionals and society. More importantly, it demystifies the subject while offering real hope.
“Psychotherapy is both an art and a science.”
Bedlam’s Door begins with a brief forward giving a brief rundown about the book and it’s author, followed by a preface from the author. The book is broken down into 14 case studies, followed by a glossary of terms, which would be helpful for anyone who isn’t familiar with mental illness or psychology. Most of the case studies begin when the patient is admitted or the first time that the author meet them. He then briefly explains what is going on with them and the chapter proceeds to explaining more about the situation or person, while giving dialogue from conversations. Each case study ends with an afterward, where the author explains a bit more about the individual and the mental illness they were suffering from. While I found all of the case studies to be unique and interesting, I enjoyed “A Deeper Cut”, the last case study in the book to be the most interesting, as I previously had not read about that particular mental illness.
“One Hundred people suffering from a similar condition, for instance depression, will have one hundred different stories to tell.”
Before I continue my review, I do want to say that I am a big advocate for mental illness education and awareness, so if I sound a bit intense about anything that is why. I really enjoyed this book; I previously have not read anything involving case studies of actual patients and I found it to be very interesting. The author presents it in a way that would be easy to read and understand by someone who was not familiar with the area of psychology. My one issue with the book is the use of the word “mad” and “madness”. I only briefly studies psychology in college, I have a degree in Anthropology, but I do know words such as mad, madness, insane and crazy are not actually psychological terms. Right in the first case study the author uses the term “mad” and “mad odyssey” which I wasn’t a fan of. I image that when he is using the term “mad” or “madness” he is referring to delusions or hallucinations. These terms are also often used to describe things like psychosis or dissociation as well. I just prefer when authors, whether it is a book, blog post or article, use the correct scientific terms when referring to mental illness. It teaches the public to not use words like mad, crazy or insane and helps reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Speaking of reducing stigma, the authors talks about this in the last chapter before the glossary and I thought that was great. Like I said, I am a big advocate for mental illness awareness and education. The case studies themselves help explain mental illness in a way that I hope does bring awareness and education to people who were formally uneducated or unaware of these type of disorders. I really liked that the author wrapped up the book by addressing that all of the mental illnesses described in the book are real diseases and “not in your head”. Overall, it was a very interesting book and I think that a great deal of readers will find this book to be both interesting and educational. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Happy reading!