Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Susanna Kaysen.

Susanna Kaysen Susanna Kaysen > Quotes


Susanna Kaysen quotes (showing 1-30 of 169)

“Suicide is a form of murder - premeditated murder. It isn't something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“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.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won't.”
Susanna Kaysen
“Why did she do it? Nobody dared to ask. Because - what courage! Who had the courage to burn herself? Twenty aspirin, a little slit alongside the veins of the arm, maybe even a bad half hour standing on a roof: We've all had those. And somewhat more dangerous things, like putting a gun in your mouth. But you put it there, you taste it, it's cold and greasy, your finger is on the trigger, and you find that a whole world lies between this moment and the moment you've been planning, when you'll pull the trigger. That world defeats you. You put the gun back in the drawer. You'll have to find another way.

What was that moment like for her? The moment she lit the match. Had she already tried roofs and guns and aspirins? Or was it just an inspiration?

I had an inspiration once. I woke up one morning and I knew that today I had to swallow fifty aspirin. It was my task: my job for the day. I lined them up on my desk and took them one by one, counting. But it's not the same as what she did. I could have stopped, at ten, or at thirty. And I could have done what I did do, which was go onto the street and faint. Fifty aspirin is a lot of aspirin, but going onto the street and fainting is like putting the gun back in the drawer.

She lit the match.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“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. They were not perfect, but they were my friends.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Actually, it was only part of myself I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made every window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Scar tissue has no character. It's not like skin. It doesn't show age or illness or pallor or tan. It has no pores, no hair, no wrinkles. It's like a slip cover. It shields and disguises what's beneath. That's why we grow it; we have something to hide. ”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“The only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“When you’re sad you need to hear your sorrow structured into sound.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can't go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling that person is kept inside or snatched out, to prove something about the family's mental health.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted (Faber and Faber Screenplays) Screenplay based on the book
“As far as I could see, life demanded skills I didn't have.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“With wild eyes that had seen freedom.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Suicide is a form of murder— premeditated murder. It isn’t something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes some getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.

It’s important to cultivate detachment. One way to do this is to practice imagining yourself dead, or in the process of dying. If there’s a window, you must imagine your body falling out the window. If there’s a knife, you must imagine the knife piercing your skin. If there’s a train coming, you must imagine your torso flattened under its wheels. These exercises are necessary to achieving the proper distance.

The debate was wearing me out. Once you've posed that question, it won't go away. I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won't. Anything I thought or did was immediately drawn into the debate. Made a stupid remark—why not kill myself? Missed the bus—better put an end to it all. Even the good got in there. I liked that movie—maybe I shouldn’t kill myself.

In reality, it was only part of myself I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made every window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy.”
Susanna Kaysen
“Every window in Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco. ”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“I know what it's like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can't. How you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.”
Susanna Kaysen
“I was trying to explain my situation to myself. My situation was that I was in pain and nobody knew it, even I had trouble knowing it. So I told myself, over and over, You are in pain. It was the only way I could get through to myself. I was demonstrating externally and irrefutably an inward condition.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren't? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“When I was supposed to be awake, I was asleep. When I was supposed to sleep, I was silent. When a pleasure offered itself to me, I avoided it.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Emptiness and boredom: what an understatement. What I felt was complete desolation. Desolation, despair, and depression.
Isn't there some other way to look at this? After all, angst of these dimensions is a luxury item. You need to be well fed, clothes, and housed to have time for this much self-pity.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“The point is, the brain talks to itself, and by talking to itself changes its perceptions. To make a new version of the not-entirely-false model, imagine the first interpreter as a foreign correspondent, reporting from the world. The world in this case means everything out- or inside our bodies, including serotonin levels in the brain. The second interpreter is a news analyst, who writes op-ed pieces. They read each other's work. One needs data, the other needs an overview; they influence each other. They get dialogues going.

INTERPRETER ONE: Pain in the left foot, back of heel.
INTERPRETER TWO: I believe that's because the shoe is too tight.
INTERPRETER ONE: Checked that. Took off the shoe. Foot still hurts.
INTERPRETER TWO: Did you look at it?
INTERPRETER ONE: Looking. It's red.
INTERPRETER TWO: No blood?
INTERPRETER ONE: Nope.
INTERPRETER TWO: Forget about it.
INTERPRETER ONE: Okay.

Mental illness seems to be a communication problem between interpreters one and two.

An exemplary piece of confusion.

INTERPRETER ONE: There's a tiger in the corner.
INTERPRETER TWO: No, that's not a tiger- that's a bureau.
INTERPRETER ONE: It's a tiger, it's a tiger!
INTERPRETER TWO: Don't be ridiculous. Let's go look at it.

Then all the dendrites and neurons and serotonin levels and interpreters collect themselves and trot over to the corner.
If you are not crazy, the second interpreter's assertion, that this is a bureau, will be acceptable to the first interpreter. If you are crazy, the first interpreter's viewpoint, the tiger theory, will prevail.
The trouble here is that the first interpreter actually sees a tiger. The messages sent between neurons are incorrect somehow. The chemicals triggered are the wrong chemicals, or the impulses are going to the wrong connections. Apparently, this happens often, but the second interpreter jumps in to straighten things out.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“We say that Columbus discovered America and Newton discovered gravity, as though America and gravity weren't there until Columbus and Newton got wind of them.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Tell me that you don’t take that blade and drag it across your skin and pray for the courage to press down.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“If I could have any job in the world I'd be a professional Cinderella.”
Susanna Kaysen
“There is thought, and then there is thinking about thoughts, and they don't feel the same.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Don’t ask me those questions! Don’t ask me what life means or how we know reality or why we have to suffer so much. Don’t talk about how nothing feels real, how everything is coated with gelatin and shining like oil in the sun. I don’t want to hear about the tiger in the corner or the Angel of Death or the phone calls from John the Baptist.”
Susanna Kaysen
“My family had a lot of characteristics - achievements, ambitions, talents, expectations - that all seemed to be recessive in me.”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
“Our hospital was famous and housed many great poets and singers. Did the hospital specialize in poets and singers or was it that poets and singers specialized in madness?”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted

« previous 1 3 4 5 6

All Quotes | Add A Quote
Play The 'Guess That Quote' Game

Girl, Interrupted Girl, Interrupted
156,505 ratings
Open Preview
The Camera My Mother Gave Me The Camera My Mother Gave Me
1,075 ratings
Open Preview
Cambridge Cambridge
824 ratings
Open Preview
Far Afield Far Afield
271 ratings
Open Preview