A comedic tour of a variety of mental health issues, with Lyme disease and gonorrhea thrown in for good measure.
Krigman suggests that his debut will provide standards by which a universal health-care program should operate, and at times he does make piquant and spot-on comments about the recent health-care debacle in the United States. But what is really going on in this title is a great celebratory slap on the back of human quirkiness, in the mode of Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Krigman doesn’t deny the existence of bipolar, narcissistic personalities or dissociative identity disorders, but suggests that these terms may be applied to larger audiences. Much of the time, Krigman’s writing has the flavor of a stand-up routine: “Normally, gonorrhea cannot be spread by sharing toilets or bathrooms. However, that depends on who you’re sharing the bathrooms with, and what you are doing while all this sharing is going on.” Elsewhere, readers are cautioned: “Dementia should not be confused with Existentialism—wherein people appear to understand time, place, and person, but are confused when it comes to why.” The author’s approach is intelligent and caustic, as he broadly sketches out medical opinion on topics such as depression or anorexia, then either whittles them down—“narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness”—or inflates them to the point that readers may wonder who, if anyone, isn’t stressed or anxious. Don’t recognize the fuzzy diseases, he says, turning serious, and don’t come crying to his claims office if your lifestyle makes you sick. But most of all Krigman wants humans to appreciate their foibles and follies, to cheer on those intrusive thoughts and see where those delusions lead.
Trenchant and amusing, occasionally tasteless and bracingly humanistic, Krigman will get in your head.