Following the birth of her daughter, she had become depressed, spiritless, weak, and hysterical.This psychiatric condition was in no way unique to Gilman or to the female population; men also suffered from it, as had Mitchell himself.He believed in the legitimacy of and the suffering caused by neurasthenia, validating women's complaints.Tags: Business Plan For Flipping HousesSolve Relationship ProblemsApa Style Doctoral Dissertation CitationTerm Paper On Technology TransferSociology Research Paper FormatEssay About My Hobby Reading Novels
Gilman was twenty-six years old when she traveled to Philadelphia to enter the sanitarium of Dr. Only by the end of the century= did the medical profession, influenced by the work of Freud, begin to distingui= sh between diseases of the mind, to be treated by psychiatrists, and diseases = of the brain, to be treated by neurologists.
Neurology in the mid-to-late nineteenth century explored the relationship between psychology and physiol= ogy.
Rein praises Mitchell as an author, for "in his fictional studies of nervous disorders he stood alone.
He was the first novelist in American literature = to present such clinically accurate portraits of mentally ill characters.
However, even those w= ho commend Mitchell's fictional studies modeled after his own patients are qui= ck to raise his shortcomings as a novelist.
Mitchell's fiction disappoints bec= ause it often fails to bring a character vividly to life, to explore the causes = of the protagonists' nervous breakdowns, or to show their progressive deterioration into hysteria, as Rein and Jeffrey Berman have noted.A specialist in women's nervous disorders, Mitchell attended well-known male and female literary figures.George Meredith and Walt Whitman apparently experienced no ill effects from his prescriptions; Jane Addams, Edith Whart= on, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Virginia After nearly losing her sanity by rigidly following his parting advice "never [to] touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live" (Living, 96), Gilman defied Mitchell and transformed him into a minor but memorable character in her fiction.Although Mitchell is credited with the Rest Cure, he developed it from a number of accepted medical practices.His Rest Cure earned him international acclaim (his work was translated into fo= ur languages before his death in 1914).The Rest Cure was not without merits; s= imilar to the spa water cures in fashion in nineteenth-century Europe and America,= the Rest Cure removed the individual from the tensions of his or her world and offered a sanctuary for rest.Hundreds of women traveled to Mitchell's sanitarium from around the world to seek his Rest Cure.Because of the strains on the Victorian woman imposed by the rigid ideals of femininity, debilitating nervous disorders were more common among upper-and middle-class women than men.The causes of neurasthenia were thought to be gender-specific: while men succumbed from overwork, women suffered from too much social activity, sustained or severe domestic trials (e.g., nursing a = sick family member), and overexertion brought on by pursuing higher education.The covert aim of severely enforcing the treatment was so that the patient would feel "surfeited with [rest] and [would] welcome a firm order to do the thin= gs she once felt she could not do." Typically lasting six to eight weeks, the Rest Cure focused on nutrition and revitalization of the b= ody.It included five components: total, enforced, extended bed rest (the patient was forbidden to sew, converse, move herself in and out of bed, read, write, and, in more extreme cases, even to feed herself); seclusion from family and familiar surroundings (to remove the patient from the pampering of well-mea= ning relatives would sever hurtful old habits); a carefully controlled diet (overfeeding, the key ingredient being milk and cream to create new energy = by increasing body volume); massage; and electricity (the latter two components were introduced to prevent muscular atrophy).