Susanna Kaysen’s memoir Girl, Interrupted was one of the best books adapted into a film. I loved this book and movie. Published in 1993, it was later adapted into a film in 1999 starring Winona Ryder (as Susanna Kaysen) and Angelina Jolie. I marveled at how this was a wonderfully written work of creative nonfiction. People afflicted with or without a mental illness could relate to so many parts of her story.
Here in this excerpt early in her memoir, Susanna explains how easy it is to slip into a parallel universe of mental illness. She struggled with borderline personality disorder. A mental parallel universe, where the laws of physics didn’t apply, trapped her. After crossing over the boundary between the sane and insane, she felt as if her mental illness contained her inside a prison, thus leading her to a two-year stay at the McLean Hospital.
We all slip into a parallel universe of our own from time to time to escape or to cope. We create our own little world to escape to within our minds when something greater than we are confronts us.
Other times, it’s as if we’ve slipped into another consciousness and become someone unrecognizable to all those around us including ourselves. Over time, what we’ve transformed into imprisons us.