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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

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Essay title: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, written by Joanne Greenberg, has by far been the most difficult book to read and understand. With its difficulty aside, I couldn’t set the book down. I found it so interesting to read what goes on inside a person’s head who suffers from schizophrenia. It made me understand and appreciate why people with a mental illness behave the way they do. We can’t see what goes on in their thoughts, or what they are feeling. So why are we so quick to judge? This book has taught me not to judge, or laugh at a person’s behavior while suffering from an illness. It has made me have a greater sympathy and respect for the sufferers of mental illnesses. I can’t imagine living in the mentality world as Deborah Blau. Her world was so real to her, the world of Yri. She couldn’t escape. She couldn’t betray her god Anterrabae. Imagine walking one day in her shoes. It’s a scary thought.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden has made me realize so many things. I learned that a mental illness affects everyone, not just the patient. A mental illness, especially one as severe as schizophrenia, will have a huge impact on the lives of parents, family, friends, and even the team of medical authorities and doctors. It has also made me recognize the differences in the approach doctors take when attempting to treat a mental illness. Throughout the story, Deborah developed such a strong relationship and friendship with Dr. Clara Fried, her therapist. This took time, but was an important factor in order to overcome Deborah’s illness. Dr. Fried took a more laid back approach as compared to Dr. Royson, the therapist who temporarily filled in for Dr. Fried while she was away one summer. He focused on trying to logically prove that Yri is Deborah’s own creation, not a real kingdom. He bombarded her with questions, trying to find answers. Dr. Fried empathized with Deborah. She allowed Deborah to know that she could always go back to her kingdom, providing her with comfort. She gained Deborah’s trust and respect. Dr. Fried had the education and experience, as do many doctors. What puts her above the rest is her ability to sympathize with her patients. Dr. Clara Fried declined several other professional opportunities in order to take on Deborah’s case. I must say it was the most unselfish, best decision she could have made. Her empathy is her greatest gift as a doctor. With her help, Deborah gained the courage to fight her way through schizophrenia.

Deborah’s schizophrenia was able to be traced back to the age of five, when her first words of Yr’s were uttered. When she was five, she suffered from a tumor. She felt violated when the doctors examined her, and outraged when they told her there would be no pain. The truth is… it was very painful for Deborah, and she did not appreciate the lies. Terrified, Deborah fled into her own world, the world she created on her own, the Kingdom of Yr.

The tumor was not the only thing that triggered Deborah to retreat to Yr. Although her early childhood surgery clearly had an important influence, there were many other things that took place in her life. Her grandfather’s martyr complex, her father’s shame at depending on her grandparents financially, the anti-Semitic prejudices of her peers and neighbors, and the jealousy created from birth of her younger sister Suzy all affected how Deborah expressed her illness.

Now, at the age of sixteen and a failed attempt of suicide, Deborah’s father Jacob and her mother Esther decide to take up their family physicians advice. Dr. Lister recommends that Deborah be taken to a mental hospital for treatment. Her parents face self-doubt and self-blame. They are concerned about the reaction of their relatives to finding out about where Deborah was being sent. They decided on telling Esther’s parents and Suzy that she is at a convalescent school.

In the hospital, Deborah is surrounded by a lot of people of her kind. Over the course of three years, she befriends some of them and is hurt by others. She hears about Dorris Rivera, a previous patient at the hospital that managed to leave the hospital and live a normal life. Deborah hopes she can someday do the same. The gods of Yr shout to Deborah that she could never go out into the world again, causing another psychotic episode. Deborah is transferred to the Disturbed ward, causing great concern from her parents.

Deborah’s psychotic episodes often correspond with moments that reveal details of Yr to Dr. Fried. Although it may appear like her illness is getting worse, it actually is a sign that she is beginning to fight it. For years Deborah hid Yr, but now she feels no pressure to hide her illness, to live a lie. While Deborah struggles to free herself from her illness, her family is also

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