A MIND THAT FOUND ITSELF
Clifford Whittingham Beers
TO THE MEMORY OF MY UNCLE
SAMUEL EDWIN MERWIN
WHOSE TIMELY GENEROSITY
I BELIEVE SAVED MY LIFE
AND WHOSE DEATH HAS FOREVER ROBBED
ME OF A SATISFYING OPPORTUNITY
TO PROVE MY GRATITUDE
First edition, March, 1908
Second edition, with additions, June, 1910
Reprinted, November, 1912
Third edition revised, March, 1913
Reprinted, September, 1913
Reprinted, July, 1914
Fourth edition revised, March, 1917
Reprinted, February, 1920
Fifth edition revised, October, 1921
This story is derived from as human a document as ever existed; and, because of its uncommon nature, perhaps no one thing contributes so much to its value as its authenticity. It is an autobiography, and more: in part it is a biography; for, in telling the story of my life, I must relate the history of another self—a self which was dominant from my twenty-fourth to my twenty-sixth year. During that period I was unlike what I had been, or what I have been since. The biographical part of my autobiography might be called the history of a mental civil war, which I fought single-handed on a battlefield that lay within the compass of my skull. An Army of Unreason, composed of the cunning and treacherous thoughts of an unfair foe, attacked my bewildered consciousness with cruel persistency, and would have destroyed me, had not a triumphant Reason finally interposed a superior strategy that saved me from my unnatural self.
I am not telling the story of my life just to write a book. I tell it because it seems my plain duty to do so. A narrow escape from death and a seemingly miraculous return to health after an apparently fatal illness are enough to make a man ask himself: For what purpose was my life spared? That question I have asked myself, and this book is, in part, an answer.
I was born shortly after sunset about thirty years...