Sunday, February 28, 2010
Camisole: Not only a short light garment of soft delicate fabric worn by women when dressed in negligee for night or the bedroom, but also a straitjacket for lunatics in an asylum or criminals condemned to the guillotine.
One of the staggering things that Lisa Appignanesi says she discovered while doing research for her book Mad, Bad, and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors
"is that in 1800 or 1810, the head of Bedlam, the first great public mental health asylum in Britain had sixteen causes of mental illness, or thereabouts, and they were very general things, like misfortunes, troubles, grief, love, jealousy, pride, drink, intoxication, and -- I love this one, religion and Methodism. They were genuine causes. And now we have over 950 pages of very specific diagnoses, which seem to handle every aspect of lived experience, and a lot of them seem to have pharmaceuticals attributed to their potential cure. That's rather staggering ....
the mind-doctoring professions have really colonized our mental and emotional life, we have more and more things that are disordered, that are seen through those spectacles. We find more and more depression, where at one time we would have found unhappiness, or poverty, or any of a multitude of emotional and social problems. But we look to the mind doctors for their cures."