Today is Day 23 of Nannernannerbooboo. This is for Kerry’s prompt on madness at Real Toads. Kerry has given us several examples of quotes from Shakespeare on madness as this is the great bard’s birthday.  Wee notes:  often times the insane were treated worse than animals.  In the 1890’s it was common to treat/to “cure” insanity to pull the teeth of the insane, to give women hysterectomies, freezing cold baths, laudanum…Bedlam, Willard Asylum – these names conjure up visions of horror.

“I have become comfortably numb” Pink Floyd

My family put me here years ago
when I had a child out of wedlock.
They drugged me
gave me cold freezing baths
cut off my beautiful hair
pulled my teeth
gutted me like a fish
I withdrew from them
Now I live inside my head
I walk on stars and mountains
I am silent
Non-reactive even when abused
by the attendants
I say nothing
I no longer fight
I just sit
And think
And scream
Inside my head
Inside my

public domain photo

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 14:34:06

    Yes. Powerful and all too believable. If you weren’t mad when you went in….


  2. Sherry Marr
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 15:20:06

    I love “I walk on stars and mountains.” I am glad she has this escape. It is appalling how those deemed mad were treated not that long ago. I know I would have been locked up in those times – women could be institutionalized for such things as hysteria, or weeping, both of which my ex drove me to. LOL. I love the way her thoughts taper off at the end. So well captured.


  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 16:01:13

    This is so chilling… the way we treated people diverting from norm. I think there are still things being done that will be considered horrendous when we learned more.


  4. erbiage
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 17:12:34

    Gruesome, Toni

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Vivian Zems
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 18:33:17

    To think that people were treated this way! A good write… you depicted it well.


  6. coalblack
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 20:27:23

    All the more horrifying for being accurate.


  7. Victoria C. Slotto
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 20:56:24

    This is an all too vivid reality, Toni. Even in the early ’60’s when I was a student nurse we went for 12 weeks to a 5000 bed state hospital. In the more acute wards they used to line up all the patients with their head at the foot of the bed for electric shock therapy, pre-medicate them with atropine and go bed to bed to shock them. The students’ job was to hold the electrodes on their temples. After the came about their thoughts were scrambled so they gathered them in large groups for therapy. This could work on a one-to-one basis, but really…in a group? And the cold shower thing was still in play for the alcoholics. When I think of it! I’m afraid I could go on and on.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 23, 2018 @ 21:06:18

      I know. I was brief in my notes knowing it could totally freak some folks out. As a child I remembered seeing a movie on at 10? 11? __ at night called The Snakepit about a woman being out in a mental institution. A stark b&w movie. I think my parents though so had fallen asleep on the couch. And there was Six Hill that warehoused the insane and those with dementia or hardening of the arteries as they called it then. Scary places. The several in VA are placed of dread even now.


  8. elleceef
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 21:24:42

    Crusome indeed, but this person has escaped to a place of peace where “they”can’t reach her. Well one,,, 🙂


  9. elleceef
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 21:26:06

    My typing is scary as my spelling, I meant gruesome and well done 🙂


  10. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 21:44:43

    I did a prompt once on this subject… a photographer had gone through and taken pictures of the old asylum. This whole poem is a scream … and the ending profound.


  11. Willow
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 22:07:59

    This is so crazy good — one of my favorite poems of late. Excellent work.


  12. sanaarizvi
    Apr 24, 2018 @ 02:01:30

    It’s terrifying when someone who is not mad is treated this way! Powerful write, Toni💞


  13. annell4
    Apr 24, 2018 @ 10:04:08

    A wonderful write!!


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