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  #101  
Old 01-13-2011, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
When do you think that this residential treatment might have happened? After she asked for "time and space", perhaps?
A book on Princess Diana said she was treated about 10 years into the marriage. That would be 1991-92. James Hewitt said he help with with the bulimia with his support.The "time and space" speech was 1994 I think. It was about a six month break from that speech till the Princess came back on the public radar. A woman with her public exposure would be hard to treat residential with no press intrusion, because of the photographer camped in front of KP. I think the princess was outpatient for the treatment of bulimia. She probably went to doctors almost everyday and finally took medication.
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  #102  
Old 02-07-2011, 10:50 PM
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Eating disorders are not exactly uncommon.

If princes marry at random, they will be certain to occasionally encounter a girl with such a disorder. If they become very attached to "only girls who are very thin," they increase their chances (just as they would if they become attached to the idea of "only girls who are very chubby."

The subject of what causes eating disorders is too complex for a forum of this type.
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  #103  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:46 AM
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Diana's personality and behavior was consistent with the typical person with bulimia.

Eating Disorders-Bulimia

Note the
  1. Hypersensitive to criticism, though have a critical spirit themselves
  2. Tend to have very strong need for other's approval, but feels as though they never get it
In Charles & Diana's 1985 interview "The Prince & Princess of Wales Talking Personally", Diana said she was "A perfectionist with myself,(but not with others)". This is typical of those with bulimia. Understanding bulimia explains much of Diana's personality.
Studies have shown that there is a strong link between being bulimic while pregnant and postpartum depression.

Eating Disorders Linked to Postpartum Depression

Diana probably had postpartum depression after having William because she was bulimic while pregnant.
The causes of bulimia are complicated. Everyone is different. But most psychologists agree it is a combination of physical and environmental factors.

Eating disorders - Causes

Diana was probably predisposed to bulimia from the very beginning. I do not believe it was Prince Charles' fault or anyone else's fault. It was just something she had, and it was very unfortunate she had it. Whether or not she and Charles would have had a happy marriage if Diana did NOT have bulimia is hard to say because it dominated so much of her personality. I personally like to think so. In fairness to Prince Charles and the Royal Family, bulimia nervosa was not as well understood back in the 1980's as it is today. It was not even identified and given a name until 1979. I'm sure Charles understands bulimia much better now, and if you look through his website you will see he takes a great interest in mental health and how important it is to treat your body well. Do a Google search for "My wife has bulimia" and see how many men are in the position Charles was in. To be married to someone with an eating disorder who refuses to get help is frustrating and emotionally draining to say the least.
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  #104  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:01 AM
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Diana was probably predisposed to bulimia from the very beginning. I do not believe it was Prince Charles' fault...
I agree completely, and it's why I hate seeing anything that casts Charles as a villain and Diana as a martyr or vice versa. In my opinion, they're both very appealing because they were both very sincere, in their own way. The Prince of Wales has always seemed to be a very genuine person- he's been criticized at times for his passion about things that the general public doesn't recognize as important. The Princess of Wales was incredibly compassionate and sincere as well, but fighting her own demons and dealing with her own troubles. I think what happened to them is compelling because I think it's very easy to see where they were both coming from and have compassion for both people.

If anything, they illustrate why it's so important to be able to be honest about psychological difficulties and seek help when necessary- and why there should be no stigma attached to asking for help.
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  #105  
Old 12-31-2011, 03:24 PM
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I was wondering if eating disorders tend to be somewhat hereditary?

Because Lady Sarah Spencer was anorexic for many years.
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  #106  
Old 01-01-2012, 05:20 PM
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There's substantial evidence that genes are involved (several studies). Very soon, it will be possible to do a simple saliva test to see if one carries the genes...probably possible already through private testing, but the cheaper gene testing services will certainly add the genes to their databases once the specific sequences are verified by several sources:

Genetics of eating disorders...
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  #107  
Old 01-03-2012, 05:41 PM
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Who really knows what a person actually suffers or really what it's main cause[s] is/are?

Even setting aside the involvement of the BRF, I think that you have to look at the whole Spencer family. Lady Sarah did indeed suffer from an eating disorder [anorexia] and without trying to play the psychiartrist, Diana's brother seems to have had an emotionally disordered life: Diana at one stage claimed that when she was a little girl, she used to creep into her tiny brother's room and try to comfort him because he was crying for their mother, Frances, who of course had lost custody of her children and left the Spencer family home. None of this can be blamed on the BRF.

Indeed, I am afraid that the turbulent Spencer family lifestyle is continuing today; from memory, Charles Spencer is now on his 3rd wife, although he's a few years younger than I am, and he also has a history of broken engagements that never ended in marriage, so that is a fair few of his relationships that have failed!

Diana's mother also claimed in the divorce court that her husband had been cruel to her, and that that was why she left him in the first place.

All of this must have impacted on poor Diana regardless of what Charles and the BRF did or didn't do to her.

From memory, only Diana's sister Jane seems to have got through childhood unscathed.


Only my views,

Alex
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  #108  
Old 01-03-2012, 08:48 PM
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The press constantly commented on her weight didn't help things for Princess Diana. Sometimes this can be the final trigger for a eating disorder but it would have to be more than just one thing.

Eating disorders are triggered by a variety of different factors, some beyond the control of the person having the eating disorder. In Princess Diana's case a lot of things that happened around her in childhood were things that she couldn't control. Many of these events made her feel sad and lonely. Perhaps if she had someone she could turn to or talk to about her feelings, it's possible that she might have avoided having an eating disorder or if she did, she would have someone to confide in, it would have been helpful to her. Of course back in the day when she was a child, this wasn't really done.
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  #109  
Old 01-04-2012, 12:23 AM
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I believe that geneticists know something about the proteins/neurotransmitters underlying many eating disorders - and that they indeed have isolated part of the cause of such disorders. I believe it's also likely that when lineal relatives (mother and daughter) have the same symptoms, and those symptoms are known by biologists/geneticists to have a cause, that's likely that genetics play some role.

About 5% of women in Great Britain have an eating disorder. Not all sad and lonely people develop eating disorders, that's for sure. Of children who developed eating disorders, 1% or less felt they could bring the issue up with their parents (U.K. statistic). 92% felt they couldn't tell anyone at all. Very sad.
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  #110  
Old 05-03-2012, 08:10 PM
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I'm a bulimic in recovery.
I was bulimic for 15 years and now in recovery for 20 years (with one relapse 10 years ago when my father died. Stress tends to bring it out).

Prince Charles could not 'cause' bulimia with one remark. It's impossible. I'm sure that Diana did say he did and probably even thought he did when he said it. When I was bulimic I used to go round and round in circles in my head and think of different reasons why I was 'like that' and why I couldn't stop. (I desperately wanted to stop and could not). I used to find other people to blame, especially those closest to me.

Diana had a lot of traits typical of bulimics. A typical bulimic is a woman and it usually starts at a young age, during the teenage years. She is a perfectionist and anxious to please and very hard on herself more than anyone else is. She doesn't 'see' herself properly. She may look very beautiful to everyone else but when she looks in a mirror she honestly does not see what she looks like--she sees a lot of (often imaginary) imperfections and flaws. She never really believes she looks right or has done things so constantly needs someone outside of herself to keep repeating that she looks 'okay' and has not done anything embarrassing or wrong. It's never enough--it's a bottomless pit. If she goes out and 99% of the people she meets say she looks great but 1% does not comment--I don't mean that 1% insults her or anything like that but just does not comment--then she decides that she looks horrible and is disgusting and goes into self-loathing that is difficult for normal people to understand or believe. It's like there is nothing inside and she has to keep being fed encouragement all the time.

It's unbelievably exhausting for those who are near and dear. She has to have a lot of control over the environment and circumstances. The perfectionism is extreme. So is the black and white thinking--i.e. everything that isn't wonderful is awful.

I can definitely see a bulimic young girl of 19 marrying into the royal family, not so much to Charles personally as into the royal family, because of the feeling that that would make life 'perfect' and that she would finally be happy and feel loved. Caught up in a dream more than most girls would be. And then the feeling of betrayal once any little wrong thing came out--and the exagerration of it in her own mind and the overdramatic and theatrical reactions. The reactions would seem overdramatic to other people--but she would not realize that they were. Reacting more to what is going on in her head than to what had actually been said or done. When I was actively bulimic, my husband was walking on eggs. He couldn't say anything that I didn't take offense to and wasn't very drastic about, but anything that seemed even a little like criticism joined the chorus in my head saying that I was awful and I would horribly overreact (and really be devastated, it wasn't pretending).

Bulimia is not really about the food. The bulimic will eat gigantic amounts because it is a soothing thing. Think of how soporific and calm you feel after you overeat at Christmas or thanksgiving dinner. That is the effect they are seeking. But then they will be horrified that they ate so much and fear the weight gain, because they would rather be dead than not considered to be perfect and beautiful by others. so then the purging. The purging does not have to be vomiting. some bulimics compulsively exercise. I suspect that the way Diana got into exercise eventually may have been part of the manifestations of the disease. Also, the things she did such as colon cleansing and so forth. Many bulimics use laxatives to purge and this would just be a step further on.

People confuse bulimia with anorexia, and some people have a mixure of eating disorders but they are generally quite different diseases. Bulimics are not, generally, extraordinarily thin. You do get the bad skin and the tooth enamel problems--but as stated above, that takes a long time. Bulimics are the 'perfect' women you see who seem to have it all together. They are not necessarily born beauties, like Diana, but they are the ones whose weight is perfect, who have lovely figures from exercising, whose makeup and hair is always perfect, whose outfits always are striking and catch attention. (they have to have attention, because as I said before, there's nothing inside). Unless you are living with them, you do not realize how volatile they are and how easily upset and what mood swings they have. To the outside, the bulimic person looks like perfection and like the husband is lucky to have such a perfect wife who grooms and cares and for herself so well, keeps the home so well and is such a perfect mother, etc. and no one sees the inside where she is (not deliberately, it's really sad) draining everyone around her dry. Including the children whom she really does love. A bulimics children learn early that mommy is fragile and that it is their job to build her up and take care of her and makes sure she feels okay (which she never does) and because she does not she seeks the opportunities where she looks good to others to get the compliments that she hopes will help. That would explain a lot of Diana's charity work. She needed it--especially probably in the middle of the night. A sick person thinking she was wonderful would make her feel okay--temporarily. The insatiable need to be complimented can't be fulfilled by the family.

There is a genetic component definitely. Bulimics tend to come from families where there are problems such as alcoholism, where there is a lot of obsessive compulsivenss and the disease does come along with depression and clinical anxiety. The food can mask the other problems. Only when I got into a program and worked on my bulimia did I realize that I had depression and anxiety. Once the food was gone, because it acts as self-medication, the other problems became obvious and I had to get help for those.

Diana was in a situation, with all the fame and publicity, where it would have been hard for her to get proper treatment and also where she could easily get her 'drug' --not food, but the constant attention and ego stroking. It would seem like a dream come true for most bulimics to be assured by every newspaper in the world every day that they were one of the world's most beautiful women and one of the most well-dressed. AS well as one of the kindest and most compassionate, etc. etc. They would not really believe it inside, but they could keep looking at the newspapers and avoid the problem.

She was exactly where she was least likely to get real help and where she could keep her disease active. She was also very young when she died. When I was 37 I had learned to deal with some things but not with most things yet. I do a little better now--but I'm 55 and have been in a program for 25 years.

It also would be very bad for a bulimic to be in a situation where another woman was continually being preferred to them and where they could feel even more unloved and unworthy. the Camilla situation would hit diana harder than most people. It's all very sad and especially that she died when she was in a period of great stress--one year divorced, father recently dead, etc. etc. There was a lot of good there although she did do some really appalling things and I think with maturity and treatment she would have been quite different now, at age 50.

The other thing that's sad is that it's so hard for someone with so much celebrity to get real treatment. Charles behaved horribly in marrying a young girl, any young girl and then having an extra-marital affair but to be honest I do think the bulimia was more than he could deal with. It's very hard. I'm lucky that my husband is truly in love with me and has been endlessly patient to learn about this disease and be endlessly supportive and reassuring and has helped me get help and also helped me. But it's a lot to do and I don't think someone that didn't really love someone would stick in there. If your wife has something like cancer or has lost a leg, everyone sees you have a lot to do and admires you for all the care you take of her and knows what you are going through. But with the bulimic, she looks so perfect on the outside and everyone thinks how lucky you are. And they don't know know what you go through at home and how difficult it can be. One thing my husband does for me now is to help me to notice when the crazy thinking is coming on and then encourages me to go to the meetings that help. but if we were in the royal family we'd have no privacy and no resources for him to do that.
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  #111  
Old 05-10-2012, 04:34 PM
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I never know where to put these articles.
Penny Junor: I've been called vile and evil for telling the truth about Diana being 'mentally ill' | Mail Online
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  #112  
Old 05-12-2012, 03:10 PM
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Hi, I occasionally check in at this site, but decided to register to thank Chen Bao Jen for the insightful post about eating disorders. I appreciate your courage and your self-awareness. It is unfortunate that Princess Diana, apparently, never really was able to understand her illness. I'd like to think that she would have had more time.

Some of the people commenting on Penny Junor's articles seem to believe that it is an insult to say Princess Diana was mentally ill. Putting aside that Princess Diana, herself, admitted she was mentally ill, it is no more of an insult than if someone is labeled as "diabetic" or a "cancer patient." Bulimia and depression are medical disorders.

Prince Charles could not have caused her illness by suggesting she was a little "chubby" or even taking a mistress. Women (and men) live with these types of hurt every day. Obviously, Princess Diana was in a fishbowl but, again, there are celebrities (think Angelina Jolie) who live with similar press attention but (I hope) do not develop serious mental illnesses.

I tend to think that Penny Junor was correct, Prince Charles didn't love Princess Diana but felt that she had a personality and enough in common that would allow them to build a strong marriage. Most experts will agree that it isn't love that makes a successful marriage, but problem solving skills. Successful couples are able to communicate with each other and find ways to resolve their problems.

That said, I am sorry that both Prince William and Prince Harry have to deal with this book. I really didn't see anything in these articles that I hadn't already known.
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  #113  
Old 05-12-2012, 04:41 PM
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chen bao jun - re: Post #97 - that has got to be one of the most insightful posts I have ever read about Diana and I think your comments are right on target.

I had just had my son when Diana and Charles were engaged, so throughout the years I saw the daily newspaper coverage and the weekly pictures in People and other magazines that chronicled the lives of Diana (and to a lesser extent, Sarah).

In keeping with the topic of this thread, I know I was shocked to see the picture of Diana's skinny little arms in the early days of her marriage and I cringed when I saw a headline about Sarah, "The Duchess of Pork". I remember thinking that it must be truly awful to be either of them or even a member of their families.

I think watching their mother go through what she did affected William - and Harry - to a profound degree. In my opinion, if there is a saving grace in what happened in Diana's short and tragic life, it is that William will watch out for his wife. And so will Harry when he marries.
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  #114  
Old 05-12-2012, 06:10 PM
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From the little I remember from my research on eating disorders they are not just about issues of weight but for the person to feel some kind of control in their lives when they feel they have none. Diana was married at 20, became a Princess, did not have a lot in common with her husband, was doing royal duties, gets pregnant months after her wedding and is a mother at 21 when she barely was allowed to get used to being a wife and Princess. A situation like that could easily cause a healthy woman to look for some means of control in her life, and Diana was far from healthy.
The press trying to pretend they feel oh so sorry for Diana because of her disorder pisses me off, because they have no problem picking on Sarah Ferguson in the 80's or her daughters when they were teens for their weight; all of which have the potential to ignite an eating disorder.
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  #115  
Old 05-12-2012, 08:02 PM
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I understand what you are saying. But Princess Diana's sister suffered from similar problems and her brother married a women with similar issues, even though neither of them married into the royal family at age 20.

The Queen was not much older than Princess Diana when she got married, and if memory serves, neither was Princess Anne. Both the Queen and Princess Anne were much more sheltered and isolated growing up than Princess Diana, and certainly the Queen at 20 was under a lot more pressure than Princess Diana ever was.

I seem to remember that Diana left school at a young age and moved to London with friends at 18 years old--so she had a year or so to mature before she got married. She certainly seemed to take the press attention in stride and she was composed when she met Prince Charles's friends and the Queen. I can understand why Prince Charles thought she was mature and confident enough to handle marriage.

Penny Junor says that her personality changed the day after the engagement was announced. Although I agree that part of the change could have been a reaction to Prince Charles's "whatever in love means" statement, I think that the more serious stress was something else you mentioned: she and Prince Charles had nothing in common.

During her courtship she convinced herself that she would love nothing more than a royal life of fishing, hunting, watching polo matches and playing charades after dinner. But her family, friends, and Diana herself, should have known that she would never be happy with that type of life.

I think reality set in soon after she moved into the palace (I think she moved in the day the engagement was announced). She should have called it off, but I recognize that would have taken a lot of courage.
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  #116  
Old 05-12-2012, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by chen bao jun View Post
I'm a bulimic in recovery...
...Diana had a lot of traits typical of bulimics...
chen bao jun has hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned.

As did Tzu An with this quote
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People who are sick mentally or in any other way need to admit they need help. When Prince Charles would go off for lunch with his mother or out to the opera (even when Diana refused to go) Diana took it as abandoning her. It would have been the same problems if she had married a wealthy businessman or a CEO. She would have been unable to cope without excessive attention.

She furthermore betrayed and hurt a lot of people either through her illness or simple nastiness.
I remember feeling for Diana but when her nastiness and manipulation became blindingly apparent to me I just couldn't bear to read/watch anything that had to do with her since every time she opened her mouth all I could think was GET PROFESSIONAL HELP before you destroy the two you hold most dear.
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  #117  
Old 05-12-2012, 08:42 PM
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I remember feeling for Diana but when her nastiness and manipulation became blindingly apparent to me I just couldn't bear to read/watch anything that had to do with her since every time she opened her mouth all I could think was GET PROFESSIONAL HELP before you destroy the two you hold most dear.
I hear you but one of the reasons so many people with mental illness do not get professional help is that they honestly do not think there is anything wrong with them. Rationalizing their behavior is part of the disease. That is why I appreciate chen bao jun's post so much. It must be extremely difficult to admit that your actions and reactions are not rational. I truly respect and admire anyone who is able to overcome a mental illness.
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:48 PM
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As do I appreciate chen bao jun's post and I do understand the why's behind her not getting help but again I just found it too painful to watch (it was sorta like watching a house burn knowing people are inside and water isn't available to help put it out).
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:04 PM
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As do I appreciate chen bao jun's post and I do understand the why's behind her not getting help but again I just found it too painful to watch (it was sorta like watching a house burn knowing people are inside and water isn't available to help put it out).
I understand. I've never watched her interview all the way through or read the Morton book. For that matter, I've never watched Prince Charles's interview or read his biography. Too uncomfortable.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:09 PM
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chen bao jun, than you for sharing your story with us. I agree with everything you wrote, and you managed to sum up the tragic mess that the Wales's marriage became.

I have had bouts of severe depression, anxiety and insomnia over the last couple of years. It's very difficult for family and close friends, because there's really nothing they can do to help. My mother was especially upset that she didn't know what to say to me, and she was constantly scared that she would say something that would make my condition worse.

Mental illness still isn't well understood by the general public today; I can only imagine how baffling and confusing Charles and the royal family found Diana's problems 30 years ago when these sorts of problems were even less well understood. A whole boat load issues and problems and misunderstandings, on both Diana and Charles's parts, collided in a way that left everyone hurt and deeply unhappy.
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