Book Ends: Silent Screams by D. Cross
Reviewed by Columnist Kurt Sass
Silent Screams is a brutally honest, well-written account of the life of a woman who has endured a myriad of hardships most of us could barely imagine.
Although the first four chapters are devoted exclusively to her experiences with (and failures of) the mental healthcare system, the remainder of the book is a biography of a life full of setbacks, and more importantly, uncaring people.
The book is full of countless example of how people in all facets of life had failed her. For example, growing up, many doctors would dismiss her many symptoms until her condition grew worse and worse. This neglect continued until she finally got diagnosed with tuberculosis, far later than necessary. In addition, the nuns refused to believe her when she said she had difficulty walking up stairs.
Years later, while in a psychiatric hospital for six weeks, she was never told her diagnosis, participated in completely silent group therapy and psychiatry sessions and was discharged even though told that she had no home to go to.
Ms. Cross also reveals later in the book about an illness later in her life and the many many delays in getting a proper diagnosis and treatment, all the time while in constant pain.
If all this wasn’t enough, throw in some uncaring relatives and three “predators” and you can see what a brutal existence this women had to deal with.
The major point I got from this book, unfortunately, is that no matter where you turn, especially the ones in whose hands you put your life, they will disappoint you. Ms. Cross’s viewpoint, as stated in the end pages of the book, has been one of acceptance.
While I recommend this book to most people, there are some that definitely should not be reading this. To most people, this book is a good example of how, in some cases, the medical/mental health care system, in the regard to how they treat people, has not changed (in some cases) over the years. Great strides have been made, and patients for the most part, have been treated with more dignity, but this book will show as evidence that much more needs to be done. For this reason, I recommend this book, especially for mental health and medical healthcare advocates. While I am glad Ms. Cross has found peace in acceptance, I wish she had an advocate during her times of need to help get the proper care and treatment she needed.
On the other hand, this book should not be read by anyone who is currently undecided about their opinion of mental health or healthcare professionals in general or anyone who is contemplating seeing a therapist or healthcare professional for the first time. It does not give a full representation of healthcare professionals. This is just one person’s experience and is not typical. It is also a very depressing book.