My great grandmother, Caroline, had been acting strangely and at that time (the 1930’s) bipolar and mental illness was not understood and treated like it is today. My Great Grandpa didn’t know what to do with his wife who was acting so bizarre except to ask the neighbors to keep an eye on her during the day.
The housewife next store happened to look out her window and saw Caroline out in the snow with her two young children, struggling to open the door outside that led to the coal room and the furnace.
Thankfully, the neighbors intervened. Caroline heard voices telling her to throw both of her children into the furnace and was obeying that delusional voice in her sick mind.
The children were saved and never lived full time with their Mother again. She was sent to a Psychiatric Hospital where she had a surgery called a labotomy which is an archaic brain surgery that was used to treat mental illness for decades. To read more about the procedure, I’m including a link to a good article about it.
My great Grandmother was never the same person after that surgery. She spent her life in and out of Institutions and my Grandmother remembers visiting her at institutions throughout her childhood and until her Mothers death. She never lived with her Mother again.
If those neighbors had not intervened, both children would have burned to death and I would not exist.
I consider myself blessed that I don’t suffer from psychosis like previous generations in my family did. I also feel blessed to live in this age of modern medicine that allows millions of mentally ill people to led somewhat “normal” lives compared to the lack of effective treatment options we lacked for centuries.
If you also suffer from anxiety or bipolar, do you know when mental illness appeared in your family? How did you get the genetic predisposition for it?