The Yellow Wallpaper Postpartum Depression

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Historical case of Postpartum Depression
Several analyses have been made of the book "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman mostly focusing on patriarchal society as the main source of narrator’s mental illness. However, less has depicted acknowledgement of legitimate biological causes of depression. Postpartum depression is often diagnosed in women especially new mothers. This is characterized by mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty in sleeping. Some women can experience long-lasting depression that can lead to postpartum psychosis. Symptoms of this psychosis may include; hallucinations, delusions, hyperactivity, paranoia, rapid mood swings, insomnia, unsupported
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The prison-like setting of The Yellow Wallpaper reinforces the popular belief during the early twentieth century of mental illness as a prison—just another of Gilman’s criticisms of psychology of the time. Gilman compares the room –having a bed that is nailed to the floor, rings on the wall and a decorated yellow wallpaper to a nursery (Scott, 201). Such a description seems more like an adult asylum. The narrator expresses a dislike of the room and wishes for another with airy windows to the decline of her husband. This is evidence of the control of men over women in the patriarchal society of Gilman’s. The society at the time insisted on a rest cure, which forces the narrator to adopt to her environment. The rest-cure usually lasted six to eight weeks. The treatment enforced bed rest and constant feeding o milky and fatty diet. Patients were often prohibited from external contacts and other activities. The doctors then used massage and electrotherapy in maintaining muscle tone. Today’s treatments involve counselling, hormone therapy, antidepressants and support…show more content…
Weir Mitchell. It is thus not coincidental that she structured her work in “The Yellow Pages” as an offensive towards an ineffective and cruel course of treatment. The book is an illustration of how a mind that is already consumed with anxiety can degenerate to the level of beginning to prey on itself when it is forced into inactivity. It is applaudable that Mitchell took Gilman’s criticism and abandoned the ‘rest-cure.’ In treating depression it is important for psychologists to embrace the concerns of their patients. Gilman’s work offers a critic view of any form of medical care that blatantly disregards concerns of patients, and considers them as mere passive treatment objects.

Works Cited
Gilman, C. P. The Yellow Wallpaper. Literature: The Human Experience. 9th ed. Ed.Abcarian, R. and Klotz, M Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007, 729-741.
Post, S. L. “His and Hers: Mental Breakdown as Depicted by Evelyn Waugh and Charlotte
Scott, H. “Crazed Nature: Ecology in “The Yellow Wall-Paper”.” TheExplicator. 67.3(2009): 198-203.

Rottenberg, Jonathan. The Depths: The evolutionary origins of the depression epidemic. Basic Books, 2014.
Aiken, Cara. Surviving Post-Natal depression: At home, no one hears you scream. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001.
"'Time Turned Solid, Like a Wall': Four Mental Hospital Memoirs." Clio Medica, vol. 92, no. 1,
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