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  #121  
Old 05-12-2012, 09:18 PM
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EIIR, I appreciate your courage to not only admit you have an illness, but to admit how it has impacted the people you love. I wish you the best in your recovery.
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  #122  
Old 05-12-2012, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by US Royal Watcher

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 .
I'm sorry but living in London for a year does not automatically make a person mature in every sense of the word. It could be argued that even in her late 20's that Diana was still not as mature as a woman her age should be. I don't necessarily think a mature person leaks stories about her husband and his family to a third party.
Also bulimia, anorexia and most diseases do not follow a set pattern, just because the Queen and Princess Anne had similar stresses in their life and didn't succumb to an eating disorder doesn't take away from the fact that Dian did. Even if 2 people go through the exact same stress and/or traumatic event does not guarantee they will deal with it in the same way.
The list I gave of Diana's possible stress problems are only a small part of the larger story of her life. But I've always felt her "fairytale" happened too soon and too fast for even a normal person to handle. That coupled with her family trauma and mental issues resulted in her disorders. Whatever components helped bring on her disorder, it is wrong and unfair that Charles 1 comment and his inability to understand what was going on has been blamed for it.
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  #123  
Old 05-12-2012, 11:36 PM
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Whatever components helped bring on her disorder, it is wrong and unfair that Charles' one comment and his inability to understand what was going on has been blamed for it.
Totally agree.

I had no idea that this thread was here on TRF. Reading the posts has been a great relief. I have felt like a voice in the desert for many years. For a long time I recognized the problem with Diana - and the nightmare that Charles was likely dealing with behind the scenes. (Only someone who has had to deal with a disturbed partner can fully appreciate Charles' dilemma and the strain he was under).

The public adulation of Diana to the point of hysteria - and the vilification of Charles - has always mystified me. That people could not see that something was terribly, terribly wrong with what Diana was doing and saying was a conundrum since it was self evident that something was not right - not with Charles but with her. Her photo-op without Charles at the Taj Mahal was one of those screaming moments - when one wanted someone, somewhere, to get the situation in hand.

If I have faulted Charles it was that he - and the families - were not addressing the situation. I have learned, of course, that Charles was trying to address it, from the get-go - that she was being given over to therapists - but it was not working. No one fully identified - or understood - the extent of her distress.

I am grateful for Penny Junor's book and that something as clear is out there, especially regarding the impact on the children (it will be an informative read for William and Harry were they ever to skim it - it would not hurt them; it could well help them to understand themselves better) - and from all that I have read it is as even handed as one can be. I can never fault Charles too much - as people seem to do - knowing as I do what its like to find oneself having to deal with someone aberrant. In the intolerable stress one finds oneself saying and doing things one may not be proud of in retrospect - but in the end, we are none of us superhuman, able to rise to the exact needs of another who is deconstructing. I'm heartened that so many people think that they would be ministering angels to the needy individual - just that, reality is, it doesn't work that way. We fail.

Its as though Diana could be immature and unstable (because she was young and stressed) and still forgiven - but Charles had to be superhuman in his abilities to understand and deal with the deconstruct. Woe to him if he made mistakes. I cannot fault him at all - I have discovered that he did what he could, he did offer help, he did bend over backwards for her. Having been in his position I know the unutterable pain of it - the searing agony of it when children are involved and one must give over those children to the troubled parent.

Anyway - bravo to Penny Junor! Its being said - at long last - and in being said maybe it will reach the ears of those who need to hear it the most - as a cautionary tale. Diana does not need adulation and sainthood - but understanding and clear seeing. Young women reading the story who share her tendencies will hopefully recognize themselves and start the path to recovery. In the end - if that is Diana's legacy - she will have done a great service to untold girls and women who will suffer her affliction.

LATER: In the above, I am referencing Penny Junor's recent biography about William in which some very incisive observations are made about Diana, William's mother, and Charles, his father - and their marriage and the effects of its dissolution on the children involved. Sorry for the confusion.

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  #124  
Old 05-12-2012, 11:46 PM
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At 30 years old I am sure William has come to understand that it is not normal or healthy for a 10 year old boy to have been the dumping ground for a parents fears/woes/anxieties/anger. That was just bad parenting.
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  #125  
Old 05-13-2012, 02:36 AM
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What exactly is normal I wonder? It's such a subjective notion and that people talk about this 'normality' and yet no one can clearly define it. Indeed, could Charles be considered normal?

Often in sickness and with disability people are at their most vulnerable and in that there is a real honesty. Diana was unwell, we all know that, but I would not consider her 'different' to any other person. She lived a high pressured and globalized life, was unhappily married and was unwell for some years and that made her no different to any other flawed human being. Her troubled health of course afflicted her ability to always think rationally and as we know, when people act with haste they can often come to wish they had not. The same can be said of her ex husband. Charles has made some rather 'interesting' calls of judgement throughout his life and has fortunately been able to overcome them and move forward. Unfortunately Diana never had the chance to resolve herself to a better state of mind and reflect accordingly. That's just the way it turned out for her.

The Royal Family and certainly, the Spencers, failed Diana. She went from one broken home to a family that didn't know how to relate to such very real and effecting personal matters. They just got on with it and hoped it would better itself. Totally ignorant and naive. What of their duty of care to this young woman who was thrust into this whirlwind existance?

She was unwell, and I in no way suggest that Charles didn't try his hand at supporting her in the way he knew how, but we don't really know how hard or how often that was. A third party, no matter their reputation, is just that, a third party and privy only to what people want them to know (re authors and journalists). "Being given over to therapists" does not necessarily suggest she was being supported where it really mattered most. Those closest to her needed to listen to her, and take her seriously. A therapist for all their worth, can only do so much. It is the support, love and affection of family and friends that can make the world of difference with recovery and when you come from a broken household, are living within a failing marriage and have the confusion of a restrained royal family broadcast infront of you day in day out, then how can it be expected that therapy was really going restore or better her health long term.

I definitly don't blame Charles for Diana's eating disorder. That's a rediculous notion in itself. But, I'd be very surprised if he ever really took the time to understand it for what it was and what that meant for his wife (when or if he became aware of it). If further emotional detatchement had already commenced between the two, then that would have no doubt made it even more difficult, if not unlikely.
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  #126  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:15 AM
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The Royal Family and certainly, the Spencers, failed Diana. She went from one broken home to a family that didn't know how to relate to such very real and effecting personal matters. They just got on with it and hoped it would better itself. Totally ignorant and naive.
As I am trying to say, no one is prepared to deal with dysfunction in another of a severe nature - it's not like anyone, one's own family, or in-laws, are given special training at the marriage. The attempt to make others responsible for one's dysfunction is a common one - "if only I had this, or people had done that - I would be this, I would be okay if only." Maybe - but the world is full of examples of people having similar adverse impacts who make other choices how to cope.

Impugning the Royal Family particularly is what Diana did - does not mean it was reality. It was Diana's attempt to 'get back' at Charles for not being what she wanted him to be, one would assume - as well as her in-laws - why participate in Diana's rage? Why be complicit in her blame casting? Who among us perfectly understands (and loves) our in-laws? A happy few, I'm sure - but most of us, don't we have moments of perfect incredulity in the face of in-laws?

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She was unwell, and I in no way suggest that Charles didn't try his hand at supporting her in the way he knew how, but we don't really know how hard or how often that was.
Fact is, he did a great deal. He allowed long-standing servants to be dismissed because Diana didn't like them. He ceased contact with a whole circle of friends because Diana didn't like them. He even gave away his dog because Diana didn't like the dog. Charles was trying. That it was not what she then eventually said she needed - or what because of what she said you think she needed - is the circular thinking of a certain kind of immaturity or victim mentality. She was never able to take responsibility for her situation, for her failed marriage - that it might have something to do with her, with her behavior.

But we don't have to know how often and how hard Charles tried - why should we? Because you don't know that hard information - which is exceedingly private information after all and nothing anyone would know except the participants and no one except Diana made any public claims - you think that Charles can be made culpable? From everything we do know - the attempts at education, the attempts at involving therapists, the attempts of the Queen herself to always be available for Diana to speak with - says that a lot was being done to try to handle the situation - short of restraining her and bundling her off.


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"Being given over to therapists"[/I] does not necessarily suggest she was being supported where it really mattered most. Those closest to her needed to listen to her, and take her seriously. A therapist for all their worth, can only do so much. It is the support, love and affection of family and friends that can make the world of difference with recovery and when you come from a broken household, are living within a failing marriage and have the confusion of a restrained royal family broadcast infront of you day in day out, then how can it be expected that therpay was really going restore or better her health long term.
Your assumption is pervasive in what you are saying - how do you know that there weren't those loving and caring conversations? We do know that friends who tried to seriously discuss her issues with her got frozen out, dropped, were never called again.

There is only so much a 'loved one' can do when a dysfunction is severe - therapists are needed at certain points. That's part of the maturation process, in fact - the healing process - that someone finally realizes that as supportive and loving as someone may be, there are certain demands that we make of the loved one that are inappropriate and in the end we must take responsibility for our needs and our reactions to life. There is a point that we cannot be burdening the world with the blame - or the people in our lives with the blame. We can come to understand that we are as we are because of influences that have come to bear - actions or inactions of people in our world - but it is we ourselves who determine how we will react. That is our freedom and where we become mature and responsible. Sometimes the people we are impassioned with - and blaming - cannot lead us to metamorphoses - but a therapist can, so that being 'given over to therapists' is as much a loving and concerned gesture as standing and continuing to be the battering post for a dysfunctional and troubled soul.
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  #127  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:25 AM
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Well said Tyger. There comes a point when blaming everyone else has to stop.
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  #128  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:31 AM
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Because you don't know have that hard information - which is exceedingly private information btw - you think that Charles can be made culpable?
Your words, not mine I'm affraid.

I clearly stated that Charles was not to blame (though you manage to dissasociate yourself from recognising that fact), and yes I can only wonder to what length he supported his wifes illness as opposed to a wife who appeared arratic and emotional for whatever reason. In other words, recognising and addressing the symptoms does not emphatically suggest that 'they' sought to understand the causes. Sometimes the truth can be a little too much for people to bare and so will endeavour to apply an emotional band aid and hope for the best.

Again, we cannot know and I don't claim too. They may have, they might not have.

Such is the nature of a discussion forum such as this. It's not that I post with any intent to suggest otherwise. Merely an exchange of opinions and possibilities.

And because Diana is no longer with us, it's impossible that any further light will be shed on the matter. Not that it should, but any possibility to further understand the situation is of course unlikely and that is entirely understandable given that it's been 15 years since her death, her ex-husband is happy and has moved on and her children are living their lives accordingly.
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  #129  
Old 05-13-2012, 04:04 AM
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I clearly stated that Charles was not to blame (though you manage to dissasociate yourself from recognising that fact), and yes I can only wonder to what length he supported his wifes illness as opposed to a wife who appeared arratic and emotional for whatever reason. In other words, recognising the symptoms and not necessarily the causes. Again, we cannot know. And such is the nature of a discussion forum such as this.
Not quite, I was going on this -

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She was unwell, and I in no way suggest that Charles didn't try his hand at supporting her in the way he knew how, but we don't really know how hard or how often that was.
I was addressing your statement that we don't know how often or how how hard Charles tried - there being the slight suggestive arch in what you say that maybe Charles didn't do or say all that he might've in the way that he should've. I was offering that we have evidence that he was trying in many, many ways - and based just on that it can be assumed that conversations did take place though of course we will never know their nature and extent. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, however, which many people don't based solely - it seems - on Diana's say-so.

Clearly, he was not successful - and my overall point has been that when one gets married and then finds that one's partner is mentally or emotionally unwell - one doesn't suddenly become superhuman, able to transcend the craziness. One doesn't suddenly become a saint able to practice compassion in the face of craziness that can be abusive - which the dysfunction can sometimes manifest as - be it physical, mental or emotional. Having someone explode in angry rants at you over 'infractions', great or small (as Diana did with Charles), can be more than just jarring, it can be soul searing. In fact Penny Junor talks of this - the first time I have heard it spoken - of how much Charles blamed himself for everything. I know well that feeling - blaming oneself - it wouldn't be this way if only I had done things right, etc. He/She does what he/she does because I am not what I should be - all too familiar territory for untold people dealing with dysfunctional relationships with dysfunctional partners.

Agree that it is a discussion - which I am enjoying. Hope you are, too. :-)
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  #130  
Old 05-13-2012, 04:16 AM
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Still, no where did I suggest Charles was at fault and I made that clear.

From what I've read, I note that you've drawn from your own personal life experiences (respectively) and I understand how it is somewhat hard not too given the nature of disucssion. You've mentioned self blame and can sympathise with Charles on a number of levels it would seem, and I speak as someone who fought Bulimia Nervosa for many years and so can sympathise with the late Diana and how emotionally taxing it is and how inbalancing it can be. Believe me, no one would wish to have it.

Still, let me make it perfectly clear that I do not consider the Prince of Wales as being the reason for his wifes illness. He did however become a significant participant to her unhappiness which no doubt further heightened the condition given the nature of the illness and it's featured anxiety related triggers.

They just weren't meant to co-exist as a married couple and who knows, perhaps in seperation they may have eventually found a respectful and appreciative understanding for each other and their good works. Alas, we'll never know but one would like to think they would have forgiven each others misgivings and looked toward a future where they could continue to support their children and in part, each other.

I always enjoy an exchanging of views and appreciate a reasoned response :)
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  #131  
Old 05-13-2012, 01:38 PM
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Yes, and the therapists can help only to the extent that the client/patient co-operates with them.


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There is only so much a 'loved one' can do when a dysfunction is severe - therapists are needed at certain points.
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  #132  
Old 05-13-2012, 02:48 PM
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EIIR, I appreciate your courage to not only admit you have an illness, but to admit how it has impacted the people you love. I wish you the best in your recovery.
That's so kind of you, thank you.

The difficulty for partners/family/friends of people who are suffering from mental illness is that the causes of it or reasons for it are very difficult to pin down. It's incredibly hard for me to figure out why I feel a certain way or act a certain way, let alone any of my family who have no experience of it. Before I started my therapy I would've told you it was my work that was the stressor, but as I've gone on, it's clear that that's only one of many aspects to the difficulties I've had.

I could be totally wrong, but I would say that in one way the royal family is much like my own. We don't really talk about our feelings much at all. For a long time I failed to recognise my problem, it was ingrained in me to just 'get on with it', the old 'pull yourself together' thing, even though I was in deep distress. I think the royals are like that to an extent; they set everything personal aside and concentrate on their position.

I always remember reading somewhere that Philip considers Charles to be 'wet' - as in weak, lacking mental toughness. I feel that Charles's own mental issues - the deep periods of depression, introspection, a certain degree of self-pity, probably made it impossible for him to be anybody's lifeline. He was deeply unhappy himself, feeling that he wasn't the type of son his parents would've wanted and also that Diana's problems were a result of her marriage to him (which of course they weren't).

So, in the end Charles and Diana both needed the same thing: a strong, loving, understanding partner who could be there for them (allied with professional psychological help). But they just couldn't be what the other needed. Forget Camilla, forget Diana's affairs, these two were just wrong for each other.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:03 PM
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Two unstable people entering a marriage is a recipe for disaster. In Charles's case, I think that he was probably raised with the understanding that he would push things down inside him in order to fulfill his role. On the other hand, I think that Diana wasn't pushed to do anything in particular. She was allowed to quit when things got tough for her, at least before her marriage.

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So, in the end Charles and Diana both needed the same thing: a strong, loving, understanding partner who could be there for them (allied with professional psychological help).
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  #134  
Old 05-13-2012, 04:05 PM
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I'm sorry but living in London for a year does not automatically make a person mature in every sense of the word. It could be argued that even in her late 20's that Diana was still not as mature as a woman her age should be. I don't necessarily think a mature person leaks stories about her husband and his family to a third party.
Also bulimia, anorexia and most diseases do not follow a set pattern, just because the Queen and Princess Anne had similar stresses in their life and didn't succumb to an eating disorder doesn't take away from the fact that Dian did. Even if 2 people go through the exact same stress and/or traumatic event does not guarantee they will deal with it in the same way.
The list I gave of Diana's possible stress problems are only a small part of the larger story of her life. But I've always felt her "fairytale" happened too soon and too fast for even a normal person to handle. That coupled with her family trauma and mental issues resulted in her disorders. Whatever components helped bring on her disorder, it is wrong and unfair that Charles 1 comment and his inability to understand what was going on has been blamed for it.
I understand what you are saying: Princess Diana was under more stress than most western women who are 20 years old, but I believe most normal people could have handled the stresses she handled. Diana had just turned 20, but there are many 18 and 19 year old women who get married and have a child quickly. Although Diana married into a family that is under a microscope, many other young mothers face serious health problems, money issues, abusive husbands, etc... People deal with adversity all the time.

I just do not think that adjusting to the royal family--which had been a choice on her part--was so completely overwhelming that no normal person could have handled it. The fact that her sister did not have those stresses but still developed an eating disorder says a lot. We only have Diana's word that she didn't have an eating disorder before her engagement. She obviously dropped a lot of weight before the wedding, but she was always slender. There are obviously some people on the board who know a great deal more about bulimia than I, but I think people can go into remission.

We really don't know what Prince Charles did or didn't do, but as the family member of someone with a serious mental health disorder, I know he cannot take responsibility for Princess Diana's choices. My experience is that the ill person wants to be enabled and have their choices validated. That is not what the person actually needs. The person needs a health professional who can prescribe therapy, prescription drugs, or both. Princess Diana rejected that approach and gravitated to people like Dr. Khan, who failed to understand how self-destructive she was.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:10 PM
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I've always felt that the idea that Diana found the adjustment to royal life hugely difficult just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. She was the daughter of one of the wealthiest aristocrats in the county. Her father was equerry to the Queen and George VI. Her family links to the monarchy go back centuries, they were part of the same social circle. Diana's own sister dated Charles, while she herself played with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward when she lived on the Sandringham estate. She attended an exclusive girls school as well as finishing school in Switzerland. She was probably uniquely prepared to join the royal family. Obviously the media interest was higher than most people expected, but surely she knew what she was getting into.

The idea that hadn't a clue what to expect and no one bothered to help her is surely rubbish. I don't feel that that aspect of things can have been much of a contributing factor on her mental illnesses.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:43 PM
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but I think people can go into remission.
They certainly can, but it's not at all easy and takes lifelong management skills to remain in remission. It takes time and a renewal in oneself and ones ability to get better. Bulimia is not a choice afterall, but an illness that becomes subconsciously routine and is thus deeply engrained on an indaviduals daily way of life. It's a release, it's a coping mechanism and in it's own way, pacifies personal anguish in the most wreched of ways. Ultimately it's really messing about with your psychological state and physical health. It's a monster of an illness and as a result, can often be hard to treat.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:45 PM
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The idea that hadn't a clue what to expect and no one bothered to help her is surely rubbish. I don't feel that that aspect of things can have been much of a contributing factor on her mental illnesses.

Nor do I.
I doubt anything Charles did or didn't do would have made much difference in the end, because I don't believe any one person could have given Diana the complete attention she craved.

I used to believe Charles and Diana were simply wrong for each other and would have been fine with other partners, but now I don't think Diana would ever have had a successful relationship. (The ones she did have always ended badly).
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:03 PM
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They certainly can, but it's not at all easy and takes lifelong management skills to remain in remission. It takes time and a renewal in oneself and ones ability to get better. Bulimia is not a choice afterall, but an illness that becomes subconsciously routine and is thus deeply engrained on an indaviduals daily way of life. It's a release, it's a coping mechanism and in it's own way, pacifies personal anguish in the most wreched of ways. Ultimately it's really messing about with your psychological state and physical health. It's a monster of an illness and as a result, can often be hard to treat.
Thank you for your insight, Madame Royale. I truly appreciate everyone on the board sharing their personal experience. It helps me better understand the situation in my own family.

Mirabel, I tend to believe that had Princess Diana lived, she would have eventually come to terms with her illness. There are obviously several people on this board who with a lot of work, were able to progress so they no longer need constant attention and affirmation. I'm sure was very difficult for them.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:48 PM
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I suffered from major depression during my late teens and early 20s (30 years ago) and will likely be on medication for the rest of my life. During those years, I was quite slim because I lost my appetite and literally couldn't eat. One thing I learned through the whole process is to spot the early warning signs and get help before the symptoms return in force. Now I'm the same age as my mother was at the time, and I find myself wondering how she and my father managed to cope with having a teenager daughter so unwell and not being able to help her on their own. Ironically enough, I was a great admirer of Diana during those years because I thought that she was coping well "under the microscope." But that's the thing--people learn how to cover up their problems while "performing." When I was suffering, only those very close to me knew how ill I was. Those who saw my weight loss probably thought that I was dieting. People didn't see the extreme social anxiety, because I was known to be a very shy person anyway. I simply withdrew during the worst of it, so no-one outside the family knew about the crying spells and the despair I talked about. Those who didn't know me well probably thought that I was the normal, quiet, pleasant person they had always known. But in reality, I hated myself for failing my own high standards . I suppose my point is that it's only the family and the professionals who can really understand the misery that any sort of psychological trouble can cause. A person doesn't have to be psychotic to be very ill. There's a fair bit of alcoholism in my family; and I think the reason I escaped that was that I never drank.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:24 PM
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I am in no way saying that all of Diana's problems were due to her "adjustment issues" to her royal life. I just listed the the huge changes that had occurred as an example that could have contributed to her eating disorder and desire to have some control in her life...leading to her controlling what she ate and threw up.
I don't know if I am expressing myself well in this conversation and I apologize if there is confusing.
I like others also do not completely buy into the idea that it was oh so horrible for Diana to become Princess of Wales the same way I didn't buy it with Sarah. Diana painted everyone in the Royal Family as unfeeling, unwilling to help her, and people who ignore their problems. Yet in books published after her death it has come out that Diana was offered help from various sources and often times rejected them because they weren't the kind of help she wanted.
I feel that Diana's age and all the life changing experiences she went through coupled with her mental state were factors in her problems; but not an excusde. I believe Queen Raina was married in her late teens and she has done very well for herself. As someone earlier in this thread stated, Diana would have had a problem with any situation she married into whether her husband be a prince or a CEO.
BTW just to clarify, by the time of her death wasn't Diana no longer an active bulimic? She had stopped eating and purging a few years before she died. I haven't read a Diana book in a long time so I don't really remember the facts about this particular point.
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Princess Grace, April 19, 1956
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Crown Princess Mette-Marit, August 25, 2001
Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy, September 12, 1953
Countess Stephanie of Belgium October 20, 2012
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