I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden - Joanne Greenberg "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" is the author's fictionalized account of her three-year inpatient treatment for schizophrenia during the early 1950s. At that time, the mental health industry was not so focused on pharmaceuticals as it is today, so we get an inside look at the therapies employed (ranging from cold pack restraints to talking with a psychiatrist).In the person of narrator Deborah, Greenberg shows what schizophrenia looks like from the inside, with her clear division of Earth from Yr (her internal landscape, with its own language and social mores) and how her breakdown began. In a time of strong anti-Semitic sentiment, Deborah is often the only Jewish girl in her school, her summer camp, etc. She is pressured by her parents to always be perfect in appearance, manners and intellect ... and eventually has a breakdown that can be directly traced to both of those issues.We also see other patients in varying degrees of illness. One of the things that Greenberg acknowledges is that her parents were able to pay for the best of care and not all in her circumstances were so fortunate.With the help of a sympathetic therapist, Greenberg is able to understand how Yr is her coping mechanism for when life in society is too much for her. Ultimately, she is able to reintegrate into society.For every memoir that talks about the horrors of mental health treatment, there is its opposite number. So much depends upon the fortunes of the patient. This book was quite interesting as a look at the positives of non-pharma treatment.