Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

638 Words3 Pages
This book tells the whole story of mental healthcare from the patient to the family affected by it, how the illness destroyed Sylvia Frumkin’s life and how she dealt with it, how the system did and didn’t help her, and how she persevered. Sylvia provided the book’s title. She was a student at New York’s High School of Music and Art when she had her first psychotic break. At 16, in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, she asked her mother “Is there no place on earth for me?” It’s a question she asked again and again over the years and by the book’s end, this question haunts me as well. Should patients be locked up in a mental institution or among our communities? Sylvia Frumkin is a mental patient who spends years in and out of hospitals, treatment centers, and halfway houses. We see Sylvia on multiple medications, being misdiagnosed by various doctors, which give you an insight on the horrible state of the mental healthcare system. The state mental hospitals (like Creedmoor) were heavily overpopulated and under-staffed. There were language and cultural barriers between the patients and the doctors because most of the doctors at Creedmoor were foreign-born and educated. In one instance, Sylvia referenced knowing Mary Poppins and making a movie with Don Knotts and because the doctor didn’t know these people, Sylvia was misdiagnosed. Common practices regarding the medication of patients were to put patients on multiple medications at one time, and then wean them off of them as their symptoms subsided or their side effects became worse. Because most doctors didn’t really understand how the medications worked with different individuals, this was sort of a gamble when prescribing. In Sylvia’s case, these practices probably made her illness worse, doctors didn’t know or bother to become familiar with her case history, she wasn’t given enough of medications to

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