Apparently it’s not that difficult. According to this list of reasons for admitting people to the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane in the late 1800s, you could get locked up for anything from living an immoral life to egotism, even laziness. I think that covers just about all of us.
But a few of these are particularly hilarious.
- Imprisonment: Really? You’re locking me up for having been locked up? That makes perfect sense.
- Novel Reading: I know people who don’t think much of fiction, but this is going a tad far.
- Over action of the mind and over taxing of mental powers: Apparently lots of people got locked up back then for thinking too hard. As a matter of fact, hard study alone could get you locked up.
- Religious enthusiasm: Anyone who gets excited about their religion should clearly be confined. And if you’re so messed up that you combined this with the previous one and end up in over study of religion, then you’re hopeless.
- Bad whiskey: Ha! If anything could get you locked up for a while, this would be it.
- Women trouble: Enough said.
- Time of Life: This is one of my favorites. Why are you in here? I don’t know, it’s just that time of life.
- Snuff eating for two years: Yep, seems like that would do the trick.
- Asthma: Oh right, a little stay in a mental institution will clear that right up.
- Masturbation: The list has a real issue with this one as it pops up no less than five times. As far as I can tell, the following are dangerous: mixing it with tobacco, doing it while having syphilis, doing it for 30 years or more, and doing it in a “deranged” manner, whatever that means. But whatever you do, don’t “suppress” it either. No mixed messages there.