Catcher In The Rye: Mental Illness

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Did you know that 6.9% of the world’s population has depression? Holden Caulfield, in The Catcher in the Rye, feels like he is the only one experiencing these inner demons, and does not want to burden others with his pain. He does not think that people will understand what he is going in his mind due to the stigma and lack of communication during that time period regarding mental illnesses. After the trauma of his brother’s death, Holden freezes in time. Instead of moving forward, he is trapped in his thirteen year old self, not able to accept or grieve over the pain. After so many years, all of his pain starts to overflow, creating several mental roadblocks. Holden desperately needed someone to notice him drowning, but his much needed conversations …show more content…
Holden goes back to his hometown of New York City, where everyone that is supposed to care for him live. But his family does not know he got kicked out of school, or that he is still suffering from Allie’s death. While the rest of his family is able to move on and be successful, Holden has lost all motivation and is trapped in time. Families are supposed to help you through the hard times, not abandon in a time of need. Holden’s family does not know how much Holden is struggling because they continuously send him away. How can they help him when he is not there? He was never approached by anyone, asking if he needed help or why he was failing all of his classes. Holden had no one looking after him. While it is true that Holden is sixteen years old and should be capable of that himself, we must remember that he does not recognize that he is suffering from the trauma of his brother, or the severity of his mental illness. He does not know how to take care of himself under these circumstances. Lonely and starving for interaction, Holden pops into a phone booth. He “felt like giving somebody a buzz. I left my bags right outside the booth so that I could watch them, but as soon as I was inside, I couldn’t think of anybody to call. My brother D.B. was in Hollywood. My kid sister Phoebe goes to bed around nine o’clock- so I …show more content…
Holden has no one to turn to in a time of crisis, and cannot help himself because he does not recognise the severity of his mental state. He gets worse and worse and even reaches a point where he has psychotic episodes. Based on the example of Holden, people should not be afraid to reach out when they are struggling. When you are on the other side, try to listen what others are saying. Even though they might not directly say they need help, it is always good to look for signs, especially during a time of grief. Do not be like the three witches, only listening to the superficially. Be observant, maybe you can be the person Holden

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