Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors


Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the present [Reading] ➽ Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the present Author Lisa Appignanesi – Thomashillier.co.uk Mad bad and sad From the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe From Freud and Jung and the Mad bad and and Sad: MOBI õ sad From the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe From Freud and Jung and the radical breakthroughs of psychoanalysis to Lacan's construction of a modern movement and the new women centred therapies This is the story of how we have understood mental Mad, Bad PDF or disorders and extreme states of mind in women over the last two hundred years and how we conceive of them today when and of our inner life and emotions have become a matter for medics and therapists.

  • Paperback
  • 592 pages
  • Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the present
  • Lisa Appignanesi
  • English
  • 04 April 2015
  • 9781844082346

About the Author: Lisa Appignanesi

Jessica AyreElżbieta Borensztejn and Sad: MOBI õ was born on January in Łódź Poland the daughter of Hena and Aaron Borensztejn with Jewish origin Following her birth her parents moved to Paris France and in they emigrating to Canada She grew up in the province of uebec first in a small Laurentian town subseuently in MontrealShe graduated from McGill University with a Mad, Bad PDF or BA degree in and her MA the following year During she was a staff writer for the Centre for Community Research in New York City and is a former University of Essex lecturer in European Studies She was a founding member and editorial director of the Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative Through the eighties she was a Deputy Bad and Sad: A History PDF \ Director Bad and Sad: Kindle × of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London UK for whom she also edited the seminal Documents Series and established ICA television and the video Writers in Conversation seriesShe produced several made for television films and had written a number of books before devoting herself to writing fulltime in In recognition of her contribution to literature Lisa Appignanesi has been honoured Bad and Sad: A History PDF \ with a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government In she became Deputy President of English PEN and has run its highly successful 'Free Expression is No Offence Campaign' against the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill In she became President of English PEN She writes for The Guardian The Independent and has made several series for BBC Radio as well as freuently appearing as a cultural commentatorIn she married Richard Appignanesi another writer with whom she had one son in Josh Appignanesi a film director They divorced in With her life partner John Forrester she had a daugther Katrina Forrester a Research Fellow in the history of modern political thought at St John's College Cambridge She lives in London.



10 thoughts on “Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the present

  1. Cherie Rhodes Cherie Rhodes says:

    I'm so beyond furious it's likely best if I wait to review this novel but if I hope to get some restful sleep I have to vent The last 100 definitely last 50 pages were interminable scathing judgements by a writer who is clearly a sensationalist in journalism who I would hazard to say has little to no real life experience with mental illness As a fellow human being I'm glad for her I wouldn't wish mental illness on my worst enemies But as a perceived objective reporter she has no business throwing in opinions at the end of paragraphs of history and assumed fact I did a lot of research on the subjects and topics discussed which is part of the reason I took months to finish so I believe the facts stated as facts were accurate but her conclusions were too basic and one sided I wondered if I'd read the same section her comments followed at times I also grew tired of her oversimplification and portrayal of our modern definition and treatments Schizophrenia was once associated with possession We learned and redefined What was affectionately known as shell shock is now a recognized disease resulting from horrendous trauma No it's not perfect People and their illnesses don't fit neatly into boxes but without some stratification and classification we put everyone in one giant box understanding and helping no oneAs a soon to be pharmacist and longtime sufferer of mental illness myself I know Big Pharma is evil I know various diagnoses have periods where they garner attention almost like a fashion fad I also know as much as I hate to depend on a chalky tablet no bigger than my fingernail that my life is vastly improved because someone started with Prozac That doesn't make me or anyone else on a psych med weak or defective There's no shame taking insulin for diabetes Taking responsibility for your own health and wellness means every part not just numbers that come from blood tests I'm a huge advocate of therapy I've seen at least a dozen therapists of some sort since early childhood I've been nearly every week for the past 8 months Is having someone to talk to helpful regardless of the subject or method? Of course We are social creatures Does the placebo effect exist? Without a doubt But that's no reason to discredit therapy and medication entirely Maybe we are trying in vain to create a utopia free of all hardship and pain but maybe we're recognizing that what was once thought of as part of the human condition doesn't have to be If we insist on prolonging our lives with education and modern medicine shouldn't we also look at the eually if not important means to create meaning and uality as well?The deeper I delved the less credible the author seemed and as I finally read the last 4 pages I have been avoiding for a solid week I felt judged and stigmatized Ms A may be well known for her didactic experiences with the histories of ill women and their providers but at the end of almost 500 pages I have to say this was less historical and editorial She simply didn't know what she was talking about

  2. Kate Kate says:

    Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize which is about right It's clearly a Serious Work intended for that sort of prize but it's so oddly bloodless and unengaging that it doesn't deserve to go further Appignanesi seems interested in the therapists male and female than the patients none of whom get much of a look in despite being the ostensible subject of the book There is no attempt to look at the experience of madness even when she is discussing women who wrote extensively about it Virginia Woolf for god's sake Women's madness is theorised without being actualised and that means that it feels to me like it lacks humanity I would have liked to go into the minds of the women receiving treatment and get some sense of what happened to them I would have liked to hear Appignanesi talk about what the women in her case studies actually did and said and might have felt; whether the actual or perceived dysfunctions had any basis or commonality despite the fashions in treatment; about what in life might have brought them to their symptoms or treatments I wanted to enjoy this I want to find a book that talks satisfyingly about women in mental health systems over time This is not that book

  3. Anna Anna says:

    Because the UK Higher Education sector is chronically dysfunctional I am on strike again for the third time in two years Last time my reading strategy was to find obscure books in the National Library of Scotland This time I'm trying to read books that kind people lent to me over the past few years but I've yet to read This is the first of them Not a light book given the topic of women's mental illness and treatment over the past 200 years yet very interesting indeed Appignanesi demonstrates how the conceptualisation of mental illness particularly but not exclusively in women has changed repeatedly and significantly She draws upon medical texts law and research while also presenting individual case studies of women who exemplify the mental health struggles of their day These case studies are handled with sensitivity with the result that they've moving to read I hadn't previously realised the suffering that Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe went throughAppignanesi shows very skilfully that the categories of mental illness are socially constructed and their meanings change substantially over time As in Crazy Like Us The Globalization of the American Psyche there is also a strong theme of mental distress having historically spatially and culturally specific manifestations 'Mad Bad and Sad' is centred upon Europe and US so this is mainly included as changes in symptoms and diagnoses over time Since different historical moments and cultures place different pressures on people as well as providing different moral frameworks and measures for self soothing this changeability is hardly surprising One commonality is perhaps that what is considered mental illness consists largely of unexplained physical symptoms Yet I can't help feeling that this adds further complexity to already fraught popular perceptions of mental illness It would be simpler and reassuring to believe that it's all just imbalances in the brain chemicals that a pill can fix Unfortunately the former does not lead to the latter as what drugs there are to treat mental illness are not always effective and how they work remains largely mysteriousGiven that the advent of remotely efficacious medicines for mental illness is relatively recent these are largely dealt with in the final chapter Earlier sections consider the conditions of women in asylums over the centuries and recount the advent of psychotherapy in great detail Appignanesi manages to be remarkably balanced regarding Freud explaining the revolutionary and progressive impacts of his work without minimising the problems with and misuse of it I was fascinated to learn about the pioneering female psychotherapists and changing views of what symptoms could be alleviated by psychoanalysis There is also a great deal of material about how motherhood and mental health have been linked for example the successive fashions for blaming women for not being warm and loving enough then too warm and loving Several latter chapters consider how the hippy and feminist movements critiued psychology the legacy of which I've noticed anecdotally in my family Given personal difficulties with food I found the chapter on eating disorders hardest to read This considered how the saturation of popular culture with imagery of idealised thinness promoted eating disorders as a means of expressing anguish I found Appignanesi's writing style readable and impressively measured while the content was extremely thought provoking I put off reading the book after being lent it on the justified expectation that it would be upsetting in parts however it was entirely worth persisting with and accessible than I anticipated I was left thinking about the different dimensions of mental illness biology experience of abuse and trauma and gendered social pressures and how they relate to available treatments Appignanesi is fairly critical of all currently available not to mention of the DSM noting the choice to prescribe Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or antidepressants is most likely to be based on cost Regarding CBT I think the impact of the therapist being a sympathetic person who wants to understand the nature of the problem and help may be underestimated They acknowledge suffering and suggest small changes to mitigate it I suspect that this acknowledgement and sympathy sometimes has significant impact than the formal techniues of mindfulness and so on It was a wise choice I think to centre the book both on female sufferers of mental illness and those who have sought to treat them The result is a nuanced and richly rewarding read that concludes with this thoughtful commentWhat is clear is that as we have moved through the twentieth century and into the twenty first an ever wider set of behaviours and emotions have become 'symptomatic' and fallen under the aegis of the mind doctors A vast range of eccentricities or discomforts that seem too hard to bear shape cases for treatment But if what is understood as illness grows symptoms have been attributed to an ever narrowing set of 'chemical' factors It is as if the greater the terrain of possible malaise the 'scientifically' and organically precise we would want the cause and cure to be There is a contradiction here which may serve a drug industry rather better than it serves those who have become designated as patients or indeed the social sphere as a whole Our times may need 'cures' that are broader and other than those that can be found in therapy alone whether of the talking or pharmaceutical kind

  4. Kirsty Kirsty says:

    I borrowed this to use in my MA dissertation and was rewarded with an absolutely wonderful engrossing and well researched read I love the way in which Appignanesi writes and this is going to be a go to book for me for many years to come Just wonderful

  5. Liz Liz says:

    How do we assess madness that particularly malleable condition? In tracing its histories this book understands the complex and intractable nature of madness its often seeming attachment to socially oppressive causes but just as freuently its astonishing inexplicability It looks across two centuries of a growing group of professionals of mind doctors alienists psychiatrists psychologists psychoanalysts and psychotherapists; neurologists pathologists neuroscientists psychopharmacologists Basically we see that “diagnosis” is not a simple act of discovery and labelling Diagnosis treatment and illnesses themselves are intimately bound up with discourses of gender race class and the body Appignanesi does neglect an intersectional analysis in the ambition of her argument that women have had a particular gendered relationship with madness The first few chapters on the birth of mental health professions including the fascinating story of Mary Lamb and the shifting ideologies regarding the human mind are the best The use of famous women’s lives and writings such as Zelda Fitzgerald Sylvia Plath Virginia Woolf and Marilyn Monroe work as case studies of both depth and breadth Her focus on sweeping historical paradigms and shifts also make this an ideal introduction to discourses of madness in the West But Appignanesi’s ethical compass often veers well off course her tone slipping into flippancy at some of the most painful for the Mad moments Her efforts to avoid accusations of “political correctness” also date the latter chapters and removes authorial compassion for the Mad subjects of these last few decades Her treatment of sexual assault and child abuse is astonishingly unethical which tends to reify conservative psychiatry that has done much harm to survivors So eager is she not to come across as too feminist that she completely misunderstands consent power and abuse which often generate much of the distress we know as madness

  6. Caitlin Caitlin says:

    Appignanesi offers a detailed and critical review of the last two centuries of mind doctoring from alienism to physiognomy to psychoanalysis to psychiatry However one gets the sense that the loose focus on women came only after the book was written as a suggestion from her editor to pare the tome down rather than being the author's incipient specialization Throughout the entirety of the book Appignanesi re addresses the topic of womanhood just at the point when the reader double checks the title page to make sure she hasn't mistakenly picked up a textbook on the history of Western psychology Further Appignanesi really seems to lack a kind of interest in maybe even fondness for women she seems skeptical of their historical role as real victims of the Medical Man and truly seems to blame the women's movement for the late 20th century's flaws in psychotherapy One comes away from the book though with a very clear and deep understanding of the where are we going and where have we been of Western psychology which is a great thing if you're interested even if it is uite obviously written by an unabashed advocate of psychoanalysis Appignaneis isn't merely a Freud fan she actually makes the claim that despite scientific data to the contrary Freudian analysis is the one true way to effect lasting improvement upon the unuiet mind

  7. AJ LeBlanc AJ LeBlanc says:

    I didn't finish this one It was too much textbook and long case study for me to get excited aboutI read Flow The Cultural Story of Menstruation about a year ago and was hoping this would be the same type of book I was looking for information on how the mental health profession has developed and the role women patients played in it This book might have gotten there but I couldn't get my brain where it needed to be to really sit down with the material and read

  8. Kate F Kate F says:

    This is a big book about a huge subject It intrigued me in the book shop and has largely kept my interest throughout It could perhaps have been reduced by about 25% in length without any loss of interest indeed it would have benefited from a litlle pruning The case histories that she used were particularly interesting I found the sections about the various amendments to the diagnostic manuals for mental health rather heavy going and could uite happily have skipped those bits had I not thought I might miss something interesting in doing soFocussing on women's mental health and treatment over the last 200 years was an interesting premise and largely successful I wonder what the likes of Mary Lamb and Henriette Cornier would have made of today's world of instant diagnosis and treatment Would they have been diagnosed before they were able to commit their horrible crimes? Would Mary have been amazed at the proliferation of different disorders that have been identified and for which a pill or therapy has been devised? Or would she have thought that perhaps the world itself had gone a little mad in trying to classify every feardisappointmenthurt feeling as a symptom of a wider illness I declare a personal interest here I have sought help for mental problems After the suicide of my grandmother I suffered through a terrible black pit of despair that included a half hearted suicide attempt without any drugs or treatment except a couple of sessions with the community psychiatric nurse and came out the other side feeling stronger and wiser I have taken Prozac in my case for hormone related psychological problems and it gave me my life back at a time when I thought I would never feel normal again and I still take an anti depressant but not for any mental health issue but to keep severe freuent migraine under control This book or at least a version of it should be read by all young people particularly young women and all those people who believe they are suffering from some of the modern ills that obsess them so that they can see that they may in fact be being manipulated by a media obsessed with image and big pharma that claims to have all the answers in a handy capsuleFor those who are truly suffering from depression bi polar schizophrenia anorexia etc I am thankful that treatments seem to have improved over the years and hope that they continue to improve to help them I hope that anyone living with these conditions receives the care and attention from an enlightened and sympathetic medical profession that they need and I hope that they are never left to suffer aloneTo all the others I say get a grip and count your blessings

  9. Laurie Laurie says:

    Appignanesi chronicles the history of mental illness and women from the time when mental illness first became thought of as something that actually could be treated At first hospitals for the mentally ill were nothing than storage facilities to keep the patient out of the families hair Gradually however doctors came to feel that treatments from isolation rooms to Freud’s ‘talking cure’ to ECT to all the assorted drugs old and new There have always been female mental patients than male and they have been treated differently most of the time The author intersperses the history of the treatment of mental illness with biographies of both famous patients and therapists along with some chapters that focus ‘trends’ in mental illness I say trends for lack of a better word; I speak of the way an illness is discovered and defined and then is what therapists concentrate of – wandering uteri cold mothering repressed memories giving everyone SSRIs While the material is all interesting this approach seems scattered and sometimes hard to follow I had the feeling that the author could have made two books out of this one One thing is clear how mental illness in women is perceived and treated is very much dependant on the sociology of their time At first they were told to stay away from reading and learning something male patients of the time were not told At another time they received a great deal of talk therapy Now they are given pills to cure it all just as the male patients are

  10. Sarah Sarah says:

    It was interesting but really could have been put together in a compelling manner Also a book about women but by volume it sure seemed to be very about men instead If this was some sort of meta message it was not effective

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