Florence Nightingale had a untreated Bi Polar DX?

  1. From: http://www.advanceforlpns.com/common....aspx?CC=15489

    Florence Nightingale


    Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, may have suffered from a bipolar disorder, stated Dr. Kathy Wisner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, at a May 2 conference at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Attendees have diagnosed the ills of historic figures since 1995 through case studies at such conferences.

    At the age of 31, Nightingale asked God in a letter: "Why, oh my God, can I not be satisfied with the life that satisfies so many people and told that the conversation of all of these clever men ought to be enough for me? Why am I starving, desperate and diseased on it?"

    Dr. Wisner cited this letter and others written throughout her life as evidence that Nightingale suffered from a bipolar disorder that caused long periods of depression and remarkable bursts of productivity, according to the Associated Press.

    "Florence heard voices and experienced a number of severe depressive episodes in her teens and early 20s consistent with the onset of bipolar disorder," Dr. Wisner told the Associated Press, adding that the effects tend to ease when people reach their 60s and Nightingale's symptoms lessened when she reached the age of 68.

    The diagnosis is an interesting theory but no one knows for sure, Dr. Lesley Hall, an archivist and historian at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine in London, told the Associated Press.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   rola
    hi jamistic , that is so intersting thing to know , I realized that most people with bipolar disorder are really creative .thanks .Iwill tryto visit the site .thanks.
  4. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Originally posted by jamistlc
    "Florence heard voices
    Isn't that more likely schizophrenia?
  5. by   lucianne
    People with bipolar disorder may also hear voices.

    I've never read enough about Nightingale to know her personal history, but the exerpt from the letter sounds more like an intelligent woman frustrated with the limited options available to her due to her gender and the societal norms of her time than evidence of a psychiatric disorder. If I had lived when she did, I might have been writing letters to God, too.
    luci
  6. by   Nurse2bSandy
    I read the article on this earlier and it was encouraging to think that someone like her might have been challenged by mental illness. The article that I read didn't really say much about 'hearing voices' but did note periods of extreme energy when she slept little, and periods of great discouragement and depression.
    I don't think she needs a diagnosis from us, but it does show that people that function out of the norm can be not only creative by can accomplish much.
  7. by   sanakruz
    Yes Lucianne- I believe if she really "suffered" it was from excruciating sexism.
    Remember many women in Flo's day were given "hysterectomies" because they were "hysterical"
    Plenty of them bled to DEATH.
  8. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Originally posted by lucianne
    If I had lived when she did, I might have been writing letters to God, too.
    luci
    I am thinking of Joan of Arc, too. Didn't she hear God's voice often?

    Scary that some of the voices COULD BE real!
  9. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Originally posted by Nurse2bSandy

    I don't think she needs a diagnosis from us, but it does show that people that function out of the norm can be not only creative by can accomplish much.
    I'm one of those miracles. From unemployable to working sporadically part time to trying to retire three times to "settling" for nursing home and agency care to my current "home" in the hospital setting. Nothing short of miraculous!
  10. by   laurenkst
    Florence Nightingale accomplished alot in spite of her problems in a time that did not support women or acknowledge their revolutionary concepts. On another note: it certainly would explain alot of her other questionable behaviors. Although, I don't know a single soul who hasn't had "their" problems in "their" times.

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