Quotable Quotes
July 29, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I’m searching for any good quotes on people suffering with mental disorders, or inspiring ones to help people with mental disorders get over them.
posted by hadjiboy to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I really appreciate the work of Kay Redfield Jameson, particularly this book. She, herself, is manic-depressive, and has explored the illness in other books such as An Unquiet Mind and Touched With Fire. Both books contain observations which you might find helpful, depending on what sort of quotes and what sort of mental disorder you're exploring. Exuberance is an interesting follow-up to those works, particularly given her own struggles with manic depression.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 9:28 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure this is what you're looking for, but the one that was the most actual help towards me when struggling with manic depression during my early twenties was a paraphrase of something Douglas Adams wrote:

"There is no possible consequence of NOT committing suicide that is worse than the known consequence of doing so."
posted by Ryvar at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

Perhaps the only true dignity of a man is his capacity to despise himself. - George Santayana

Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. - Michel de Montaigne

Let us not burden our remembrances with a heaviness that is gone. - William Shakespeare

Emotion has taught mankind to reason. - Marquis de Vauvenargues

In a fight between you and the world, back the world. - Franz Kafka

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. - William E. Henley

Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness. - Don Marquis

Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind. - Thomas Jefferson

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe. - Goethe

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. - Richard Carlson

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all. - Bill Clinton
posted by furtive at 10:08 AM on July 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you. - Rita Mae Brown

You must always be puzzled by mental illness. The thing I would dread most, if I became mentally ill, would be your adopting a common sense attitude; that you could take it for granted that I was deluded. - Wittgenstein

Psychoanalysis is the mental illness it purports to cure - Karl Kraus
posted by furtive at 10:11 AM on July 29, 2007

Dorothy Parker's "Resume" is about suicide and ends, "You might as well live."

"You can feel like a mental patient, but that doesn't mean you have to act like one." -- Marsha Linehan, founder of DBT.

Ending on the best note: "It's your life. Live it with people who are alive. It tends to be contagious." -- Peter McWilliams.
posted by RobotHeart at 10:57 AM on July 29, 2007

When you're going through hell, keep going- Churchill.
posted by fshgrl at 11:25 AM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have been very sick at times, and I'm afraid that being on the receiving end of "cheer up!" platitudes makes things worse, not better.

I understand that you probably have a friend that you're trying to help, but this is not the way to do it.

That's particularly the case with major depression. The victim already hates himself; that's part of the syndrome. Hearing all kinds of platitudes from others just increases the self-hatred. "See! All these other people were able to surmount this trial, so why can't you?", says the victim to himself. "I really must be the scum of the earth."

That's not the reaction you wanted, I assume.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2007

Evidently, the cravings are all in my head, but hello, isn't that where I live? My shrink said that she will add this issue to my scroll and that we would get to it shortly before time travel. - Jason Love

Don't be afraid to go in and fall flat on your face a few times. Whatever happens, surely it is better than to not have made a move and wonder what might have been?

To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet.

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. - Susan Ertz

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. - Thoreau

Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.

If Descartes' maxim 'I think therefore I am' holds true, then the flip side is 'If no one knows what I am thinking, do I exist?' - Lorna Graham "Wanna Talk?" Reader's Digest October 2003 issue

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. - Emerson

The funny thing about panic is that it always comes at the least useful moment.

A genius is someone who is screwed up in a useful way.

If you meet someone who claims to have it all together, run like heck in the other direction.

Compelling reason will never convince blinding emotion. - Richard Bach

Courage means being afraid but going anyway.

A panic attack is like drowning, but there's no water to make you feel better about it.

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.

Was I ever crazy? Maybe. Or maybe life is... Crazy isn't being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It's you or me amplified. If you ever told a lie and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child forever. - from the movie and/or book "Girl, Interrupted"

All bad things must come to an end, too.

If you think nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments. - Earl Wilson

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't. - Richard Bach

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. - Thomas Edison during the light bulb invention process.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding TryTheTilapia: what kind of "mental disorder" do you have in mind (so to speak)?

Also, I must point out that it is unlikely that an "inspiring quote" is going "to help people with mental disorders get over them." In fact, I find the suggestion somewhat insulting, or ignorant at best.

That said, I do find quotes inspiring (though not enough to cure myself of a mental disorder...if only); here are a few I like:

"The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable." --Paul Tillich

"It isn't where you come from that counts; it's where you're going." --Ella Fitzgerald

"...it can be hard to sustain a sense of humor during an experience that is really not so funny. It is urgently necessary to do so. The most important thing to remember during a depression is this: you do not get the time back. It is not tacked on at the end of your life to make up for the disaster years. Whatever time is eaten by a depression is gone forever. The minutes that are ticking by as you experience the illness are minutes you will not know again. No matter how bad you feel, you have to do everything you can to keep living, even if all you can do for the moment is to breathe. Wait it out and occupy the time of waiting as fully as you possibly can. That's my big piece of advice to depressed people. Hold on to time; don't wish your life away. Even the minutes when you feel you are going to explode are minutes of your life, and you will never get those minutes again." --Andrew Solomon, in The Noonday Demon (pg. 430)
posted by splendid animal at 2:31 PM on July 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

Oh, and supplementing fshgrl:

Rodney Atkins - If You're Going Through Hell

Country-flavored Churchill!
posted by splendid animal at 2:49 PM on July 29, 2007

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.. - Jack Kerouac

Well, it always made me feel okay for being a crazy person.
posted by Ugh at 9:07 PM on July 29, 2007

Response by poster: Steven, it's actually I who am the sufferer of the depression. The reason why I asked about the quotes was to know if there was something out there that would jolt me out of this mood I'm in; something to help me fall back on; something that others might've turned to in their time of need.

(splendid animal, I've got Cyclothymia.)
posted by hadjiboy at 3:51 AM on July 30, 2007

In that case, I'll share with you an excerpt from one of Kay Jamison's books that made me feel a LOT better about being so inconsistent in dealing with my life - she's talking about her time in college, and how research gave her the flexibility she needed to deal with her mood disorder.

"It was a wonderful experience: I learned to code and analyze data, program computers, review the research literature, design studies, and write up scientific papers for publication. The professor I was working with was studying the structure of human personality, and I found the idea of investigating individual differences among people absolutely fascinating. I immersed myself in the work and found it not only a source of education and income, but escape as well. Unlike attendance at [begin pg. 48] classes--which seemed stifling and, like the rest of the world's schedules, based on an assumption of steadiness and consistency in moods and performance--the research life allowed an independence and flexibility of schedule that I found exhilarating. University administrators do not consider the pronounced seasonal changes in behaviors and abilities that are part and parcel of the lives of most manic-depressives. My undergraduate transcript, consequently, was riddled with failing grades and incompleted classes, but my research papers, fortunately, offset my often dreary grades. My mercurial moods and recurrent, very black depressions took a huge personal and academic toll during those college years." --Kay Redfield Jamison, in An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (pgs. 47-48)
posted by splendid animal at 3:35 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

There are so many quotes from Undercurrents by Martha Manning that are helpful to me, and I've struggled with depression for most of my life. These aren't "cheer up" quotes. Rather, they are quotes that provide insight and empathy and understanding in a way that only someone who experiences depression--and is surviving it--can express. Plus, it's a damn funny book.
posted by jeanmari at 4:07 PM on December 2, 2007

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