Mental Illness In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1424 Words6 Pages

In the 21st century, people struggling with their mental health have resources and outlets to help them with exactly what they need, and if desired, they can visit a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis of their ailments. A few hundred years ago, this was not the case. In the 19th and 20th century, mental illness was viewed as shameful as a result of deficient understanding. Presumed reasons and causations of mental illnesses varied from moral insufficiency to a lack of faith in the Christian God. These misunderstandings led to wrongful stigmatization of the mentally ill. The people affected by mental illness were often mistreated because of said stigma neighboring their conditions due to the lack of knowledge surrounding them. The lack …show more content…

Due to the lack of research of traumatic life experiences and emotionally overwhelming events resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, doctors began to categorize this unordinary behavior due to these things as hysteria. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, she shares the ways in which she experienced mental illness after giving birth to her daughter Katharine. Gilman and her husband, Charles Walter Stetson, birthed the child in 1885, which resulted in a spiral of postpartum depression for Gilman. Her husband was a doctor who didn’t specialize in psychiatry, but instead was a regular physician who had her taking tonics, phosphites, exercising and journeys. All of these things made no difference to her, while the most impacting referrals given to her by her husband were to stay inside, do absolutely no work as to not stain her mentally or physically, and to not leave the house. The isolation she practiced drove her to become more ill as she found contentment in studying the wallpaper on her walls. Gilman described the pattern of the walls she grew to know so well as this: “I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling flamboyant patters committing every artistic sin When you follow the lame, uncertain curves for little distance they suddenly commit suicide – plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard-of contradictions.” The complex yet nonsensical pattern that Gilman had no option but to study had enveloped her and this obsession drove her to insanity. This oppressive life that Gilman was ordered by her husband to live, was a popular cure believed to work by physicians in the 19th century called the “rest cure”. This was a popular remedy circulating in the psychiatry field in its infancy in the 19th century. The rest cure consisted of a strictly enforced regiment prescribed by a doctor,

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