Bipolar Disorder is a serious and often misunderstood mental illness that causes drastic shifts in the mood, energy and activity levels of a person. It usually comprises of a manic episode, which can be categorized as a phase of extreme overconfidence and happiness, and sometimes may also include irritability or anger, followed by a depressive episode that can include feelings of sadness, dysphoria, loneliness, and low self-esteem. Scientists still have not yet discovered a single cause of bipolar disorder.
But, currently, they believe several factors might contribute:. However, it is not always so black and white. There are more than 5 types of Bipolar disorders , which include:. Talking about Bipolar Disorder can be extremely difficult for those who live with it every day, as they struggle with swinging emotions and feelings, trying to find their identity between a storm of conflicting episodes and stigmas that surround this serious illness.
But, again, we salute and celebrate the people who are completely living a normal life along with suffering from a Bipolar Disorder. These are the people who motivate other people to not take stress if diagnosed with one and keep moving on in life , happily and smartly. How can you contribute?
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When a person shares their story with you, listen and be there for them. Several people keep their illness a secret due to fear of judgment and differential treatment in their workplace. Making an effort to understand the disorder and the complexities that come with it, is one way to be there for your loved ones who may be fighting it every day. You might never know the person right in front of you, in this era full of stress, might be suffering for a Bipolar Disorder but still smiling and talking to you. How are you contributing? Do you have a story? Tell us in the comments below!
Malawika is a Mass Communication student from Delhi. She is an astrophile, passionate about Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, and loves to listen to the Arctic Monkeys, her favorite band. Find her at her happiest while exploring new cities and justifying her love for the color orange! This simple quote sums up the immediate need and importance of energy conservation, in the 21st century. Most of us know the answers. But let me tell you again.
If we do not start thinking of and implementing alternate sources of energy efficiently the world will face an energy crisis. No matter what the political or economic changes may be, we will face the biggest environmental crises due to the rising carbon oxide and carbon monoxide emissions.
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All thanks to our relentless and endless use of finite fossil fuel resources. When individual efforts combine to make a huge change, every little step goes a long way, especially in the case of energy conservation. Turning off lights and fans when you do not need them not only reduces your electricity bill, but also conserves important energy and reduces the overall need for energy.
It is a ripple effect: one house, one district, one city. We all know how small changes in our behaviour can bring a big impact. Simple acts such as turning down the heat on our thermostat in winters and using air conditioners for a lesser period of time in the summers can be our important contribution to a better and more sustainable future. Can you imagine how it all adds up to create a huge, quantifiable impact?
This is a very basic but highly effective method to tackle the energy crisis. Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying minimally packaged goods or making use of reusable packaging, and recycling them the next time you go shopping. This can significantly decrease the energy used in making and disposing these products.
Did you know that for every half a kilogram of waste you decrease, you save energy and reduce emissions of CO2 by almost 1 pound?! Whereas, our traditional light bulbs are incandescent and consume an excessive amount of electricity. This not only saves you money in the long run, but also conserves energy. Afterall, it is rightly said — there is too much energy conversation instead of energy conservation.
Have you ever had one of those days when you just want to give up on everything, when you just feel hopeless? The point where we know the stress has completely taken control of us and our minds have made us believe that our dreams are absolutely impossible to come true. Trying to find our place on this planet. Tapping into our inner desires. Sometimes we know what we want but not how to get there.
At each stage, there are pitfalls that can keep us looking in the wrong direction, stuck in fear, or stressed about how to move forward. It goes like this:.
Tiny steps in the direction of the goal are still steps in that direction. There is a real magic to be found in connecting the steps together consistently. Big goals are fine as a guiding star, but they need to be supported with smaller steps. Wishful thinking will not make it happen! Want to write a book? Get started by developing a regular writing habit. Maybe try an example of writing one line a day to get that done or try something else that works.
Whatever the objective is, developing a regular practice will help get us closer to it. Take up small steps every day that support this happening and that keep you accountable, while still being achievable. Commit to this and watch amazing things happen. Most of us know the value of listening to our intuition.
The limitations we perceive are put in place by us and only us. When we believe in our potentials, our lives will take on a whole new expression. Remember whatever thoughts we put out into the universe is how our life is going to unfold. Human beings are wired for safety. This is why we want to control what our next step is going to be. We try to avoid the unknown. But no good thing has ever happened from the known. To get to where we really want to go, there is no pre-drawn map. All we need is the next step. And this is something we already know on the inside. Regardless of our beliefs, trust that life will never put us against something more than what we can handle.
Surrendering to the failures is when most people give up. It is the biggest milestone standing in between our ability to make our dreams come true. And before we even know, failure has taken the best of us and we like to hold on to the feeling that it is rather impossible. What we fail to see is that failures are, instead, a series of events that are guiding us to the end destination. A ladder to our dreams, to our untapped potentials.
We just need to believe in our ability to make things happen and hold on to the vision that has been fuelling us ever since. Every time we have followed what was in our heart, most people thought we were crazy. But you know what? The voice of derision we most need to watch out for is our own. Anyone who has experienced any kind of success understands that it does not come without hard work, discipline, and dedication.
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When we finally come from behind and achieve the impossible, the triumph seems so much greater. Determination, commitment, and a burning desire to see our dreams through is the key to achieve any goal our intuition guides us toward. Letting go of ideals that have been imposed on us. Taking leaps, stumbling and getting up. Trusting our inner guidance. Let us know in the comment sections below what your goals are. Nothing that comes easy has ever been worthwhile. Claim it and make it to the top.
She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life. Sometimes in life, we are lucky enough to take chances that will change us forever. With these we meet people, we know places, we find love, we grow. When Bhumika decided to volunteer in Sri Lanka , she was hoping for a beautiful journey, but she never expected to find the purest kind of love. The type of love you take for your entire life.
I wanted to learn how to teach and empower them and what are the various fields to create employment for them. I want to work for him and for people like him, for their equality and basic rights in the society. So when I found this amazing project in Sri Lanka, I had no doubt: that was it. I took the leap, packed my bags and left for my big adventure. Once in a lifetime, we always come across someone who impacts us, who changes our life.
For me, it was this beautiful girl, Sheemara.
Books about Bipolar Disorder
She was the one who impacted me the most during the exchange. She influenced my entire thought process about life and I fell in love with her, I love her so much that I wanted to bring her back to India with me. Download Bipolar 2: Exposed! Big Deals Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and managing bipolar disorder, bipolar disorder. Read Bipolar disorder: The complete guide to understanding bipolar disorder managing it bipolar. Ebook Bipolar Disorder: bipolar disorder, bipolar treatment, mental illness, mental health.
Read Bipolar Disorder: bipolar disorder bipolar treatment mental illness mental health anxiety. What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder? To Health. Aubrey Downey. I particularly want to thank the students of my Woolf seminars, both at the University of Hawaii and at Harvard, for their lively discussions and open affection for Woolf.
I am most grateful to my parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Caramagno, my aunt, Jean Selden, and Catherine Lord, for their love of learning and respect for truth. Without them, this book would never have been written. And I haven't said anything very much, or given you any notion of the terrific high waves, and the infernal deep gulfs, on which I mount and toss in a few days. Letters 3: In her biography, diaries, and letters Virginia Woolf left ample evidence to convince psychiatric specialists that she suffered from a "classical case of manic-depressive illness.
They have focused instead on her childhood traumas, explaining her mental breakdowns as neurotic, guilt-driven responses to the untimely death of her mother, the patriarchy of her father, and the sexual abuse inflicted by her half-brothers. Virginia's nephew Quentin Bell, for instance, regards his aunt's symptoms as manifestations of a profound longing for virginity tied to morbid guilt and repressed sexuality.
Others conclude that Woolf did not grow beyond her preoedipal attachment to her mother, so that her lifelong sense of loss and her desperate fear of adult sexuality alternately produced novels and madness instead of full womanhood, or that Woolf might have been driven mad by a"profound but unconscious guilt" inspired by oedipal jealousy and an unacknowledged wish that her mother would die. Some, conversely, claim that Woolf's fiction functioned as a defense mechanism against grieving, against confronting unresolved feelings of guilt, defilement, anger, and loss.
Given Woolf's suicide, one critic worries that her much-touted "moments of being" may not have been epiphanies at all but dark dissolutions of the self, flirtations with death disclosing a misguided desire to escape her individuality, her very self. Most recently, three book-length psychobiographies have consolidated these arguments.
Psychoanalytic Exploration, Shirley Panken portrays Woolf as "self-destructive, masochistic," "deeply guilt-ridden" because of her early closeness to her father, humiliated by her sexual inhibitions, and victimized by a "passive aggression [that] masks oral rage. Alma H. Bond, in Who Killed Virginia Woolf? A Psychobiography, acknowledges that "manic-depression has an inherited, probably metabolic substructure," but then inexplicably dismisses the implications this admission has for psychology and hunts instead for oedipal and preoedipal origins of Woolf's symptoms: a mother's ambivalence, a child's masochistic wish to surrender to an idealized mother, a daughter's envy of the father's penis.
Because psychoanalysis privileges mentation over metabolism, Bond concludes that Woolf "chose" to become manic or depressive as a way of avoiding growing up, and because psychoanalysis gives early events etiological priority over later, Bond resorts to an unsupported speculation that Woolf's lifelong sense of failure and self-hatred "probably" resulted from her mother's having "devalued" her daughter's feces. Working backward, Bond uses adult breakdowns to prove the existence of childhood trauma, which is then cited as the cause of psychosis.
At a critical juncture, having found numerous psychological similarities between family members which should have prompted her to grant due importance to genetic inheritance in mood disorder , she contorts logic by arguing: "As a result, although father and daughter in a genetic sense resembled each other uncannily, it seems unnecessary to postulate a biochemical factor as the major 'cause' of Virginia Woolfs manic-depressive illness. Finally, Louise DeSalvo, in Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work, follows the old formula of explaining complex mental states in terms of simple trauma because of a metaphorical similarity between the two.
DeSalvo argues that, since Woolf was sexually abused as a child and since victims of childhood abuse often develop symptoms of depression as adults, we may therefore conclude that her "madness" was not really insanity but only expressed a logical reaction to victimization. But DeSalvo's theory cannot account for full-blown mania, for the cyclic and often seasonal form of bipolar breakdowns, or for their severity to DeSalvo, psychotic behavior is merely amplified anger , because she does not venture beyond a narrow theoretical context: the reactive depressions of incest victims. Certainly, victims of childhood abuse do suffer depressions, and DeSalvo forcefully presents their pain and argues.
But she oversimplifies etiology, for she fails to discriminate between different types of depression: 1 those depressions which result from psychological conflicts e. DeSalvo dismisses "inherent madness" as an "archaic" notion and so frees herself from the task of reading recent biological research.
Unwilling to consider an imposed mood disorder, she looks instead for explanations of why Woolf would want to die, and incest serves as a reasonable cause. We lack specifics about Woolf's victimization: Was it rape or unwelcome caresses? Was it frequent or rare? Was it long-term or short? The evidence is scarce and ambiguous. So DeSalvo uses the severity of Woolf's adult depressions as proof that her childhood abuse must have been rape, quite frequent, and chronic. The problem here is that inherited biochemical depression can be very severe without any preceding childhood trauma.
Suicidal impulses cannot, by themselves, serve as a reliable indicator of the significance of early or late trauma, because despondency results from various conditions, some merely biochemical. And when severe depression alternates with mania in a family with a history of inherited mood disorders, unconscious conflict resulting from trauma is the least likely origin. DeSalvo's rubric for judging mental states fails to differentiate between the despair of a molested daughter and the despair of a manic-depressive. It ignores the inconvenient complexity of mind-brain interaction.
Psychobiographers ignore psychobiology, in part because they are afraid of having to undertake a whole new program of self-education—reading dense biological texts, digesting unfamiliar jargon, and, perhaps worst of all, poring over psychiatric journals for late-breaking developments nearly 1, reports on manic-depressive illness appear each year worldwide in medical journals.
Psychoanalytic literature evolves more slowly, is frequently taught in graduate school, and has often been adapted to literary study. It also fortifies common cultural stereotypes about artists. Underlying Freudian thinking is the unspoken and even unconscious assumption that Virginia Woolf became a great artist because she was a neurotic, that her books are filled with references to death and strange desires for a depersonalized union with the cosmos because, like all neurotics, she was afraid to live fully.
Books were her lonely refuge, plaintive elegies sung by a confined, poignant Lady of Shalott, half mad, half magical, more beautiful dead than alive, especially for critics. Once neuroticized, Woolf. Picturing her as "a damaged thing, a spoilt, wingless bird," one writer has made the sexist accusation that Virginia "would take refuge in nervous stress" to escape her marital problems. Why should psychoanalytic criticism be so morbid? Freud's ideas about art were closely tied to the Romantic tradition, which stressed the irrational, unconscious, and reputedly insane states of mind that artistic inspiration can induce.
But Freud the scientist was a thoroughgoing materialist who sought to reduce mental operations to drives and defenses. However mysterious he found the appeal of art, Freud focused his analytic attention on instinctual demands and infantile traumas, viewing art more as a fearful evasion than as a joyous exercise of skill and perception  —an attitude that led one ardent devotee, Frederick Crews, to express serious misgivings about the psychoanalytic method itself:.
Indeed, because the regressiveness of art is necessarily more apparent to the analytic eye than its integrative and adaptive aspects are, psychoanalytic interpretation risks drawing excessively pathological conclusions. When this risk is put together with the uncertainties plaguing metapsychology itself, one can see why Freudian criticism is always problematic and often inept. But, with the exception of feminist psychoanalytic criticism, little new light has fallen on Woolf studies, which still cherish what Crews aptly calls "the anaesthetic security" of the old Freudian bias toward the model of the neurotic artist.
Neurosis readily provides coherence for biographical data, but in past Woolf criticism it has often been a reductionist order that points backward, emphasizing the infantile and evasive in art rather than the adult and adaptive. Inevitably, the critic plays the role of the adult and casts the artist as the sick child. This was certainly not the way Woolf's friends felt about her, as Rosamond Lehmann remembers:.
She had her share of griefs and bore them with courage and unselfishness. It is important to say this in view of the distasteful myths which have risen around her death: the conception of her as a morbid invalid, one who "couldn't face life", and put an end to it out of hysterical self-pity. She lived under the shadow of the fear of madness; but her sanity was exquisite. And Clive Bell objected to the tendency of biographical postmortems to depict Woolf as "the gloomy malcontent": "Let me say once and for all that she was about the gayest human being I have known and one of the most lovable.
The problem of pathology is compounded by Woolf's own misdiagnosis, which was affected by both her experience of the disorder and the alternative explanations available to her. In her letters she sometimes fell into a description of her illness in terms of the prevalent model of her time—the neurotic artist. When Walter Lamb confronted Woolf with "dreadful stories" of bad behavior, she quickly confessed guilt as well as madness: Lamb "was puzzled by parts of my character. And I'm half ashamed, now I try to write it, to see what pigmy egotisms are at the root of it, with me anyhow— Letters 3: Manic-depressives typically confuse mood swings with egotism, because the initial and usually mild symptoms often mimic egotistic behavior; patients may become overly concerned with themselves e.
Such an impression was evidently shared by some of the specialists of the time: in a psychologist, Helge Lundholm of Duke University, argued that egotism was an integral component of manic-depressive illness and that it was a precursor, marking the loss of psychic inhibition and an increased vulnerability to a major breakdown—just as Woolf herself thought. And Woolf had a much nearer "nervous" model on which to base her diagnosis: the style and even the content of her self-analyses resemble the self-descriptions other "hypochondriacal" and "egotistical" father, Leslie Stephen, with whom she identified not only as a writer but as the source of her disorder:.
But—oh damn these medical details! Letters 4: — In Leslie's "violent rages and despairs" Letters 4: , his feelings of failure and his self-abasements alternating with excitement and satisfaction, Virginia saw milder forms other own symptoms and could have reasoned that the cause of both was "an egoism proper to all Stephens" Diary 1: Manic-depressive children do tend to over-identify with any close family member, and particularly a parent, who they think also has the disorder. Although Virginia experienced much more severe manias and depressions than her father had, Leslie's nervous breakdowns from to were accompanied by "fits of the horrors" and "hideous morbid fancies" of despair and death—feelings his daughter certainly could have recognized.
Ascertaining just what Woolf did think other illness is complicated by her doctor's inconsistent explanations of nervous disorders. Neurasthenia "nerve weakness" was a Victorian euphemism that covered a variety of vaguely recognizable symptoms, just as the term neurosis lumped together various disorders for much of this century today, in psychiatry, neurosis is considered an outmoded category, no longer listed in the statistical manual of the American Psychiatric Association as the basis for establishing. The essential elements of the Silas Weir Mitchell — rest cure that Savage prescribed for Woolf's breakdowns were extended sleep and "deliberate overfeeding to stabilize the irregular brain cells supposedly responsible for the illness.
He was particularly convinced that patients who experienced auditory hallucinations Virginia heard birds speaking Greek and King Edward shouting obscenities in the garden bushes had inherited their madness. Because he believed in the somatic basis of insanity, Savage saw a connection between mental breakdowns and physical stress, especially that caused by influenza, fatigue, fever, alcoholism, and irregular temperature,  an association both Leonard and Virginia discussed:.
If Virginia lived a quiet, vegetative life, eating well, going to bed early, and not tiring herself mentally or physically, she remained perfectly well. But if she tired herself in any way, if she was subjected to any severe physical, mental, or emotional strain, symptoms at once appeared which in the ordinary person are negligible and transient, but with her were serious danger signals. The first symptoms were a peculiar "headache" low down at the back of the head, insomnia, and a tendency for the thoughts to race. If she went to bed and lay doing nothing in a darkened room, drinking large quantities of milk and eating well, the symptoms would slowly disappear and in a week or ten days she would be well again.
Woolf, Beginning Again I pass from hot to cold in an instant, without any reason; except that I believe sheer physical effort and exhaustion influence me. Letters 1: I had the flu again—but a slight attack, and I feel none the worse and in my view the whole thing is merely a mix up of influenza with my own remarkable nervous system, which, as everybody tells me, can't be beaten for extreme eccentricity, but works all right in the long run.
Letters 2: I reflect though that I'm the sink of. And so these contractions are largely physical, I've no doubt. Diary 2: Significantly, recent medical research suggests that influenza, fevers, and a variety of other infections and physically stressful disorders may indeed be associated with the timing of manic-depressive episodes, and even in Emil Kraepelin reported that headaches were "extraordinarily frequent" among his patients.
It is. Episodes of mania and depression remit and relapse spontaneously, and recur in a quasi-periodic manner. Also, the occurrence and severity of affective symptoms [a person's emotional coloring and responsivity toward the world] sometimes seem to be strongly influenced by normal biological rhythms.
For example, the classical feature of diurnal variation in mood in endogenous [biochemical] depression suggests that some daily physiological rhythm aggravates or mitigates the depressive process. The association of exacerbations of affective symptoms with phases of the menstrual cycle and seasons of the year has been repeatedly observed by physicians treating individual patients and by epidemiologists surveying populations of patients.
In recent years experimental evidence has accumulated that shows that rhythms in the body, especially the daily sleep-wake cycle, may be centrally involved in the processes responsible for depression and mania. Moreover, depressive symptoms can manifest themselves as physical disorders: that is, the depression can express itself in bodily disturbances, hypochondria, and other psychosomatic illnesses before its distinctive psychological effects become noticeable: . The initial complaint of depressed patients is quite often likely to be some common physical complaint rather than one of sadness, hopelessness, or a feeling of failure.
Some of the manifestations, such as fatigue, headache, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disturbances are similar to those produced by anxiety; others are more distinctive, such as anorexia and weight loss, bad taste in the mouth, chronic pain, loss of interest, inactivity, reduced sexual desire, and a general feeling of despondency. It can be appreciated readily that anxiety-depression can mimic many diseases or disorders.
Such symptoms would indeed seem like precursors to a breakdown, to many other doctors and patients as well as to Savage and Woolf. We cannot dismiss the further possibility as yet inconclusively researched that depression itself affects immune-system function, rendering its victims more susceptible to infection, which might then exacerbate the mood disorder. Panken assumes that Woolf's incomplete mourning for her dead mother and a neurotic "channeling of her grief, guilt, and anger" produced the somatic disturbances of her manic-depressive breakdowns, but a disease with such potent metabolic changes may very well affect bodily health and mental functioning without involving self-destructive wishes.
Despite his arguments for biology and heredity, however, Savage also had "psychological" opinions of mental illness, though they are hardly more than the products of personal bias and culturally prescribed Victorian stereotype. He believed, for instance, that spoiled children were likely to develop unsound minds and that too much education was mentally harmful for the lower classes and for intelligent young women rebelling against their natural roles as wives and mothers.
Both physicians advocated "order, control, and self-restraint" as a cure for mental illness, an attitude not uncommon among Victorian doctors. Woolf, Letters Virginia had learned early on to attribute her symptoms to family genes and yet to blame herself for losing control other emotions, as she does in the following diary entry and three apologetic letters, two to Violet Dickinson and the third to her sister Vanessa:.
So I said, I am spoiling what I have. No doubt, this is a rationalisation of a state which is not really of that nature. Probably I am very lucky. Diary 3: I know I have behaved very lazily and selfishly, and not cheerfully as Ozzy [Dickinson] would have me. I feel numb and dumb, and unable to lay hands on any words.
When I hear of your worries and wishes—I dont know if a pen is as fatal to you as it is to me—I feel positively fraudulent—like one who gets sympathy on false pretenses. Oh my beloved creature, how little use I am in the world! Selfish, vain, egoistical, and incompetent.
Will you think out a training to make me less selfish? It is pathetic to see Adrian developing virtues, as my faults grow. Psychoanalytic critics have only detected the obvious without questioning its context when they see her as both perversely resistant to self-insight and riddled with unconscious guilt—convenient signposts of neurosis. Savage's dualistic attitude was typical of many Victorian doctors. The nineteenth century developed these two parallel lines of psychiatric thought, each having its vogue for several decades: either insanity was so biologically based that it was not intelligible at all and so patients were warned not to think about their "ill" experiences , or madness resulted from a weak character and immoral decisions voluntarily made.
Patients could feel either disconnected from their own illness or ashamed for failing to control themselves. Woolf, at times, felt both. As a woman, Woolf faced an additional challenge. Her illness and her femaleness both threatened her with a profound sense of powerlessness and depersonalization.
In her own family her mother Julia and her half-sister Stella had shown her what it was like to be sacrificed to the. Victorian god of feminine decorum. She instinctively rebelled against what she called "non-being," that selfless emptiness enforced by a sexist society—and by her depressions. But open rebellion was risky.
Under the Lunacy Act of , 70 percent of Britain's mentally ill were certified and committed by , most often for suicide attempts, leading one scholar to conclude:. If Virginia Woolf had been certified and admitted to an asylum in the hopeless condition in which we find her in , it is possible she could have been lost on the back wards and even her private physicians would not have been able to legally obtain her release. Only as long as Woolf cooperated with what was essentially an unacknowledged parody of Victorian stereotypes about femininity could she remain safe from institutionalization.
It was a ticklish situation. Both her feminism and her manic-depressive experiences urged Woolf to further exploration of the mind, but overt self-assertion or preoccupation with symptoms was viewed either as self-indulgence or as evidence of madness. Savage, like Mitchell, evaluated his patients' progress in terms of their submission to his conservative view of reality: the patient was told to relinquish control to the doctor, to follow directions without question.
Because Savage identified sanity with social conformity, he denigrated the value of self and brushed aside the patient's experience other illness. Savage pronounced her "cured" by January and had no better advice for Virginia than that she should disregard what had happened:. I am discharged cured! Aint it a joke! Savage was quite satisfied, and said he wanted me to go back to my ordinary life in everything and to go out and see people, and work, and to forget my illness.
Indeed, Victorian physicians generally discounted the content of female complaints and judged them by the patriarchal mythology of the nature of femininity:. Expressions of unhappiness, low self-esteem, helplessness, anxiety, and fear were not connected to the realities of women's lives, while expressions of sexual desire, anger, and aggression were taken as morbid deviations from the normal female personality.
The female life cycle, linked to reproduction, was seen as fraught with biological crises during which these morbid emotions were more likely to appear. The menstrual discharge in itself predisposed women to insanity, since it was widely believed that madness was a disease of the blood. Thus, the theory of female insanity reduced the value of women to their usefulness to society, not as persons seeking self-discovery, but as submissive wives and selfless mothers.
An independent will in a woman "could be regarded as a form of female deviance that was dangerously close to mental illness," a rebellion which invited censure and control by the physician:. The traditional beliefs that women were more emotionally volatile, more nervous, and more ruled by their reproductive and sexual economy than men inspired Victorian psychiatric theories of femininity as a kind of mental illness in itself.
As the neurologist S. Weir Mitchell remarked, "The man who does not know sick women does not know women. Ridiculous as these opinions appear today, at the time the threat was quite real. As the nineteenth century progressed, more and more women were institutionalized: by females made up a majority of asylum inmates, and some physicians put the blame on the growing feminist movement, which advocated intellectual achievement for young women.
Later the Woolfs encountered psychoanalytic theory. These studies helped him to recognize the significance of the bipolarity of Virginia's symptoms and to diagnose her disorder correctly as manic-depressive illness:. When I cross-examined Virginia's doctors, they said that she was suffering from neurasthenia, not from manic-depressive insanity, which was entirely different.
But as far as symptoms were concerned, Virginia was suffering from manic-depressive insanity. In the first stage of the illness from practically every symptom was the exact opposite of those in the second stage in In the first stage she was in the depths of depression, would hardly eat or talk, was suicidal. In the second she was in a state of violent excitement and wild euphoria, talking incessantly for long periods of time. In the first stage she was violently opposed to the nurses and they had the greatest difficulty in getting her to do anything; she wanted me to be with her continually and for a week or two I was the only person able to get her to eat anything.
In the. She was occasionally violent with the nurses, but she tolerated them in a way which was the opposite of her behavior to them in the first stage. Beginning Again Leonard must also have learned a good deal of symptomatology from Karl Abraham, who published essays on manic-depressive illness in , , and , incorporating all three in a edition of his papers put out by the Hogarth Press. And there were other sources: between and the British press published articles, editorials, news items, and reviews on Freud and his followers.
Psychoanalysis had become a fad, a subject for dinner conversation: "every moderately well-informed person," one reviewer in claimed, "now knows something about Jung and Freud,"  and Leonard himself said that Virginia made one of that number L. With all this discussion of mental illness, then, why did Woolf not seek psychotherapy? Was it a kind of neurotic cowardice, as at least five Freudian critics have already suggested?
Did she prefer to be ill because it brought her attention and love? Does the fact that she avoided psychoanalysis prove that she was hiding something neurotic or forbidden? Or was her rejection of Freud merely childish, vindictive, and small-minded, resulting from her childhood hostility to her brother Adrian, who grew up to become a practicing psychoanalyst?
I do not believe Woolf could have held much hope of finding a cure in Freud. Like Savage, he saw abnormality in social nonconformity. And, as feminist psychoanalytic critics have cogently argued, Freud's own case history of Dora, which was pubhshed by the Hogarth Press, displays his rigid, patriarchal attitude toward the organization of a patient's symptoms, at least when that patient happened to be a woman. He completely failed to understand why the adolescent Dora had not been sexually excited by the clumsy attentions of an older married man whose wife was having an adulterous affair with Dora's father when he had grabbed her suddenly and kissed her, pressing his body to hers.
Freud reasoned that she must have felt K. This conclusion Dora flatly rejected; she found Herr K. Freud was unaware of his own unconscious identification with K. He defensively concluded that her feelings of repulsion were evidence of neurosis. How could a normal girl resist an older man? And beneath that lay another question: how could Dora resist Freud's masterful diagnosis? The answer was, she couldn't; therefore, she must be sick. He refused to accept at face value her version of what had happened and how she had felt, turned her reproach against her father's duplicity into self-reproach, and acted as if Dora's mother were of no consequence indeed, Freud generally minimized the role of women, particularly in his equation for the Oedipus complex.
Moreover, we cannot regard Savage's rest cure as so completely ineffective that only a neurotic would continue treatment. Recent studies at the National Institute of Mental Health NIMH showed that restructuring a manic-depressive's sleep cycle can effect at least a temporary remission of symptoms: in 60 percent of patients, sleep deprivation causes switches from depression to normal or manic states,  and recovery sleep after sleep deprivation can trigger switches out of mania. The success achieved with both "phase-advance" sleep going to bed four to six hours earlier and rising earlier and sleep deprivation has led NIMH researchers to speculate that manipulating the twenty-four-hour sleep-wake cycle may, in some patients, either replace or enhance drug therapy.
Studies show that nights of total insomnia often precede mania, acting either to trigger an episode or to exacerbate one already begun. Even a single night's sleeplessness "should be taken as an early warning of possible impending mania. It was a perpetual struggle to find the precarious balance of health for her among the strains and stresses of writing and society. The routine of everyday life had to be regular and rather rigid. Everything had to be rationed, from work and walking to people and parties. Downhill All the Way The slightest thing is apt to bring symptoms back. She has not really had such a severe attack as this for the last 3 or 4 years.
Since Victorian medicine believed that stress triggered "neurasthenic" episodes, Savage ordered Leonard to keep visitors, activities, and household stress at a minimum when Virginia was ill and to make sure she ate well and rested regularly. From the beginning of a two-year period of affective episodes to the end of , Leonard kept an almost daily journal of Virginia's moods time of onset, duration, and intensity , her sleeping and eating patterns, temperature, weight, dose of drug taken, and date of onset of menstruation.
Correlations between bodily rhythms and mental states helped him anticipate what level of care she would need. In later years, whenever Virginia felt ill, Leonard returned to his monitoring, using his measurements as a predictor of impending breakdown. When she suffered from intractable insomnia, he gave cautious doses of hypnotic sedatives listed as "chloral [hydrate]," "veronal," "medinal," "potassium bromide," and "sodium bromide" in his personal diary in his Monks House Papers, now housed at the University of Sussex. Chloral hydrate was widely prescribed for inducing sleep and calming the insane, especially manics, whose metabolism could be so hyperenergized that neither sleep nor self-control was possible.
For any sedative, it is important to recognize just how much is too much, as both Leonard and Dr. Savage understood. Virginia took sleeping draughts when insomnia persisted but stopped when fall sleep returned. Often Leonard noted that Virginia needed only half a dose, regarded this as a positive sign, and began tapering off. Thus, in , after a year of recurrent affective episodes, Leonard recorded in his diary that Virginia took sedatives eight times,  ceasing in July, when manic symptoms remitted. Early marked the return of mood swings, and dose frequency rose accordingly, with seventeen draughts in the month between February 18 and March Since symptoms preceded medication, they could not have been induced by the drugs themselves, as DeSalvo speculates.
I feel today, after a sleeping draught" Diary 5: But for manic episodes in prelithium days, hypnotic sedatives were often helpful and sometimes life-saving. Such use of drugs was very different from that of some manic-depressives today, who indiscriminately abuse drugs, both legal and illegal, to intensify the pleasant "highs" of hypomania or as a form of self-medication. This was, perhaps, why Leonard so carefully charted the timing and intensity of Virginia's mood swings. Whatever we may think of Leonard as a person and opinion varies widely among critics, some of whom see him as a loving saint and some as a petty tyrant , we must remember that it is not easy to live with a mani-cdepressive, who may, without self-awareness, in one mood judge a situation, desire, or destiny in ways that diverge considerably from a judgment made in some other mood.
Love of life, of spouse, and of self may change swiftly and without warning to suicidal despair, paranoid hostility, or grandiose self-indulgence. Subtler shifts can be even more alarming and destructive of trust in personal relationships. The domestic and personal tribulation wreaked by bipolar disorder, one researcher reports, "inevitably. Those who lead chaotic lives or have poor or unpredictable social-support systems usually fare badly. Manic-depressives find they must rely on their families during difficult times, but the benefits go both ways: "The involvement of family members and friends can lessen the need for hospitalization and increase the family's and patient's sense of control over a potentially catastrophic situation.
Leonard and Virginia's relationship was above all comradely: deeply affectionate and indivisibly united, they depended on each other. They knew each other's minds and therefore took each other for granted—they accepted each other's peculiarities and shortcomings and pretended no more than they could help. Leonard never failed in vigilance and never fussed; neither did he hide his brief anxiety that Virginia might drink a glass too much wine or commit some other mild excess; he would say quite simply, "Virginia, that's enough," and that was the end of it.
Or, when he noticed by the hands of his enormous watch that it was And Louie Mayer, who cooked for the Woolfs at Rodmell from until long after Virginia's death, remembers:. Sometimes Mrs Woolf was quite ill while working on a book and had acute headaches. Mr Woolf then had to ration the number of friends who came to the house. Or, to those who did come, he had to say that she would only be able to talk to them for a short time.
He did not like doing this but he knew that if she did not have enough rest she would become very ill. To some readers, Leonard's behavior looks petty and tyrannical. As we have seen, however, alcohol, fatigue, and changes in sleep patterns do affect a manic-depressive's vulnerability to breakdowns, and Virginia's doctors presented Leonard with a similar cause-effect relationship in their theory that mood swings resulted from weakened nerves.
Both husband and wife seem to have been behaving responsibly; but whether Leonard. It is unfortunate that here it is the woman depending on the man, who acts as the restraining authority, for the arrangement inflames readers who are justifiably moved by Virginia's eloquent appeals for women's liberation. They mistakenly assume that such a serious psychiatric disorder as manic-depressive illness adds nothing to the dynamics of a relationship.
It is, after all, common to find bipolar husbands relying on their wives for the same sense of order, continuity, and judgment. Woolf knew that "as for reason, when the mood's on, as soon might one persuade a runaway horse" Diary 2: