"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Back in the olden days, everyone’s wife was insane, with “insane” being a catch-all term for “unhappy, nervous, angry, excited, or basically feeling any sort of emotion whatsoever.” Husbands would be like, “Hey, Doc? My wife currently has twelve babies and no human rights, and she’s sad for some reason,” and the doctor would be like, “Well, she sounds hysterical. Here, I know just the thing.”
Doctors would recommend the “rest cure” for such an affliction, which meant the women were left alone for weeks at a time with little to no mental stimulation. As you might imagine, this often did more harm than good. That’s where “The Yellow Wallpaper” comes in. Its narrator is a woman whose “rest cure” triggers a full-scale downward spiral THAT HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman actually wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” to convince her real-life doctor that confining her to a bed for three months to cure her “hysterical tendency” nearly drove her to madness. So not only is it disturbing, but it’s based on a story that’s all too real. CHILLS.