Stories from a Suitcase, the Lives they left Behind

I ‘kicked of’ my Alternatives Conference by visiting a workshop of Darby Penny, ‘Stories from a Suitcase’. It was an overwhelming experience. 400 Suitcases where found in the attic of an old and abandoned psychiatric hospital. 200 Of these suitcases contained the personal belongings of people that where admitted to this hospital for a lifetime. Darby Penny ‘researched’ their belongings and wrote a very personal book about a lot of these people. Her workshop was just mind-blowing. The story that really hit me like a brick was the story of Madeline. A woman who lived in this hospital for 47 years, never agreed with her admission and till the last day of her life, as she did most of the days in this hospital, requested to be discharged. Darby Penney should be on Broadway, New York with her performance. It will change the face of Mental Health. I don’t like people to ‘should’ me around and I don’t want to ‘should’ you, but hé ok, for just this one time, everybody SHOULD buy and read this book.

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