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  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

  • Insanity is a lack of proportion.

  • ... Linda began to feel even more sharply that she was going insane. She wondered if she had already had a nervous breakdown and just didn't have time to notice it.

  • That's the truest sign of insanity — insane people are always sure they're just fine. It's only the sane people who are willing to admit they're crazy.

  • ... when ... I've thought of madness, it seems most easily explained to me as poetry in action. A life of symbol rather than reality. On paper one can understand Gulliver, or Kafka, or Dante. But let a man go about behaving as if he were a giant or a midget, or caught in a cosmic plot directed at himself, or in heaven or hell, and we feel horror — we want to disavow him to proclaim him as far removed as possible from ourselves.

  • ... it was the mental injuries that I was least able to treat. In the worst cases women had lost their entire families — husbands, children, and parents all dead. Many of these women had also lost their minds. They sat and muttered and cried and laughed aloud. They hugged themselves and rocked back and forth, gazing at nothing for hours on end. They refused to eat and had no idea of day or night. And I could do nothing to help them.

    • Halima Bashir,
    • in Halima Bashir with Damien Lewis, Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur ()
  • ... the people who say Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare are the same kind of people who wrap their heads in tin foil so the aliens can't read their thoughts.

  • Writing and the hope of writing pulls me back from the edges of despair. I believe insanity and despair are at times one and the same.

    • Bell Hooks,
    • "Writing From the Darkness" (1989), in Wendy Martin, ed., The Beacon Book of Essays by Contemporary American Women ()
  • Madness is always fascinating, for it reveals the ungluing we all secretly fear: the mind taking off from the body, the possibility that the magnet that attaches us to a context in the world can lose its grip.

  • A touch of madness is, I think, almost always necessary for constructing a destiny.

  • Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can't go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside.

  • Insanity comes in two basic varieties: slow and fast. I'm not talking about onset or duration. I mean the quality of the insanity, the day-to-day business of being nuts.

  • It is now 21 years since people found out that I was crazy and all because I could not fall in with every vulgar belief that was fashionable. I could never be led by everything and everybody.

    • Phoebe B. Davis,
    • 1856, in Louise Bernikow, The American Women's Almanac ()
  • The difference between mad people and sane people ... is that sane people have variety when they talk-story. Mad people have only one story that they talk over and over.

  • ... in mad people fear goes on constantly, night and day, wearing one ditch in the mind that all thoughts must travel in.

  • I have not withdrawn into despair, I did not go mad in gathering honey, / I did not go mad, I did not go mad, I did not go mad.

    • Hoda Al-Namani,
    • "I Remember I Was a Point, I Was a Circle," in Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, ed., Women and the Family in the Middle East ()
  • ... frankly, goin' crazy was the best thing that ever happened to me. I don't say it's for everybody; some people couldn't cope.