Friday, December 23, 2011

I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can by Barbara Gordon

I was raised in a culture that says we are responsible for our feelings and can therefore fix them ourselves. Mom wouldn’t even let me say “nervous.”  If you were nervous, you settled down. If you were sad, you cried and got it out of your system. I’ve refused for decades to acknowledge or address my own borderline claustrophobia, and it wasn’t until very recently that I even acknowledged mental illness. So, finishing Barbara Gordon’s I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can felt like two weeks of torture.

When Barbara Gordon wrote this book, she was an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker for CBS. She had been taking Valium for years for anxiety, the source of which I never clearly understood, but “goes off the deep end” when she stops taking the drug “cold turkey.” She almost immediately becomes incapable of doing anything normal, cries constantly, and quits working. Then her live-in boyfriend, who is obviously equally psychotic, begins to beat her and hold her captive, and she ends up in a mental institution. Click On More Below...

The balance of the book is about Barbara Gordon's (pictured) relationship with various therapists and doctors, all of who she portrays as blithering idiots. I do not doubt that Gordon suffered from drug withdrawal and possibly mental illness, but I also couldn’t help but wonder if she never got well because she didn’t have to. Since she continued living in Central Park West in New York for years, not working, she obviously had a pretty substantial source of support from her parents. Sometimes, I think people live in their neuroses because that is where they are comfortable, but when you have to get up every day and support yourself, that’s got to be a much harder place to stay. Like I said, I’m not very empathetic.

I really had a hard time finishing this book and don’t really recommend it for anyone, unless you’re looking for a kindred spirit of wackos. Sorry!


  1. Being a wacko myself, I can't help but laugh at your review! Here's to higher self-esteem for women!! Dube

  2. But you're a fun wacko! Couldn't agree more about the need for higher self-esteem for women though.