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  #141  
Old 05-13-2012, 08:53 PM
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Xenia Casaraghi, I see what you are saying, Princess Diana had mental issues before her marriage, but the press attention, isolation, and rigidity that came with her marriage to Prince Charles made things much worse (to be fair, as he later admitted, he wasn't in love with her, which was hurtful).

What you are saying makes perfect sense. I apologize if I misinterpreted your previous post. As others have pointed out, marrying into such a high profile family was probably the worst thing for her.
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  #142  
Old 05-13-2012, 08:56 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.
I can only imagine how difficult it must be to feel so depressed that one has no hope. I hope that anyone with depression and/or an eating disorder reads these posts by you and others and is able to seek help. Thank you.
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  #143  
Old 05-13-2012, 10:19 PM
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I have here provided a link which may be of interest to some who know little about Bulimia Nervosa, it's causes and symptoms.

Bulimia nervosa - body+soul

Also, I'd like to mention that in recent years, the number of young men suffering the disorder has excelled in Australia (I'm not sure about other countries however) which is a very real concern. What once was considered to be a 'females illness' has well and truly trascended sex. And unfortunately, many of the organisations and treatments on offer for recovery are still very much aimed at women.

As for Diana, I am am under no illusion that she knew how to manipulate the media and have stated as such on various occasions. It became a world stage production of toxicity and both Diana and Charles handled it rather poorly. My highlighting of Diana's illness is to acknowledge that there were more influences at play than wanting to be vindictive or spiteful in retaliation. Sure she made some pretty unfortunate decisions and there is certainly a level of accountability involved, but I affirm my belief that she was, in part, let down by those closest to her at a time when she was at her most vulnerbale. And that is exactly what she was, vulnerable and very green in judgement. If that wouldn't compound the already existant pressures of youth and outward expectation on an impressionable and fragile young woman then what would. Guidence and emotional security seemed to me as being two fundamental necessities Diana lacked and was in great need of. Afterall, people are not emotionally fragile and difficult for no reason.

But, to be far, if no one knew as to what extent Diana's illness effected her life or if they even knew she was as unwell as she was, then how could have anyone employed their time and efforts into helping her. I understand that this too is a possibility, despite my 'inclinations'.

Their match was an unfortunate one, but they have two dashing young men as a result and were/are themselves not bad people. Just human, with very real and very emotionally involved issues that unfortunately made for alot of domestic unrest on the world stage.

And at the time of her death, I believe she was no longer actively purging. Though it's not as clean cut as some may think. It's not a case of ceasing to vomit and all is well upstairs. The lack of vitamins and the depletion of electrolites throughout the time of intense psychological unrest is not a quick fix. The sustained chemical imbalance needs time to restore and repair. It is not an easy road.
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  #144  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:24 PM
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You make good points Madame Royale. I don't blame Princess Diana for her illness. It is not unusual that she was unable to understand the impact her actions had on others.

I think there were times that Prince Charles did try and help her by contacting medical professionals, but Diana was surrounded by too many people who unknowingly enabled her to avoid real treatment for her disease. It seems as though Charles gave up after a few years and left Diana without any real hope.

My experience is that intervention is only successful if all the family and friends agree that there is a problem. It's apparent that when anyone tried to tell Princess Diana things she didn't want to hear, she cut that person off and ran to others for reassurance and validation.

As I have said before, given more time, I think Princess Diana would have shown the strength that so many of the posters here have demonstrated and successfully confronted her disease.

Thank you for your insight. I've learned a lot on this board over the last two days.
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  #145  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:38 PM
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My experience is that intervention is only successful if all the family and friends agree that there is a problem. It's apparent that when anyone tried to tell Princess Diana things she didn't want to hear, she cut that person off and ran to others for reassurance and validation.


Thank you for your insight. I've learned a lot on this board over the last two days.
Yes she would run to her psychics and aromatherapists and journalists and anyone else who would tell her she was just wonderful.
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  #146  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:50 PM
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Yes she would run to her psychics and aromatherapists and journalists and anyone else who would tell her she was just wonderful.
So you see her as having been no more than an attention seeking nuisance?

This all but highlights the suggestion that some are obliged to witness the symptoms of fragility and discord and are content to establish a view, but do not wish or are not interested in understanding the cause; for to acknowledge it would be to recognise that their own views or prejudices are perhaps to some degree flawed.
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  #147  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:53 PM
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Not entirely, I see her as someone who went to people who would tell her nothing was wrong and who would turn away from those who might tell her otherwise and who might have been trying to be of real help.
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  #148  
Old 05-14-2012, 12:06 AM
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Not entirely, I see her as someone who went to people who would tell her nothing was wrong and who would turn away from those who might tell her otherwise and who might have been trying to be of real help.
Because mental illness of course makes sense to those living with it does it not...

The motivations behind the choices she made may make little sense to others, but to her they likely seemed beneficial at that time. It's not to say they were the right choices as it's evident that some certainly were not, but nonetheless, it was a complicated mess and it must have been quite daunting and at times confusing for her, as well as those around her.

It is human nature to want to be validated by others and sometimes people search for it in the wrong place, whether knowingly or otherwise.

It's all so easy to condemn the choices she made, but it takes a considered person to recognise that such choices were the result of a person undergoing a great deal of inner emotional turmoil. It's not excusing the way she behaved at times, but it surely gives insight and cause to it.

Consistent rational thought, incase some wish not to research for themselves, is not a strong point for people who suffer onging mental illness. Go figure.
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  #149  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:26 AM
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Again pointing the finger at everyone around Diana and not putting some blame on her isn't helping the conversation about mental illness. Just like addiction there comes a point when it is up to you and nobody else is going to be able to help you get better, especially when you refuse to acknowledge there is a problem. I do not blame those around Diana for being unable to hold her hand 24 hours a day, people have their own problems to deal with and you can only give so much of yourself before it starts to affect your mental health as well. Charles was known to be a melancholy, depressed person himself, he needed his own reassurances about himself as a person.
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  #150  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:42 AM
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No ones pointing the finger at those around Diana. That I think she was for a time let down by those around her does not attribute blame. There is a difference.

What doesn't help a conversation is that there are those who, for whatever reason, either chose not too acknowledge or cannot accept that people do things and act a certain way when unwell for a reason. And when someone has mental illness, the ability to rationalise ones behaviour is a pretty tough reality. There must be some accountability and I do not doubt that there were times when Diana could be difficult or spiteful (afterall, she like the rest of us was a flawed indavidual), but when addressing the larger picture there was alot of emotional unrest that would have hindered her ability to consistantly think rationally.

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Charles was known to be a melancholy, depressed person himself, he needed his own reassurances about himself as a person.
A point well made, and the same can be sad that Diana was unable to support her husband in the way he required.

It really was a sad state of affairs for them both and I feel for what they must have endured indavidually and together as a couple.
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  #151  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:55 AM
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Like many others in this thread I have suffered from mental illness, am expecting to be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life. I have also taken psychology classes and know there is a reason behind the way people act. My problem is with this notion and repeated statements that "Charles failed, the Royal Family failed Diana, Diana was the vulnerable one who needed them to make her life better". When dealing with a sick person there is only so much a family can do. From what I have read people tried to talk to Diana about her problems and she wouldn't have it. If you're dealing with an irrational person what exactly are you supposed to do to help them when they don't want help?
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  #152  
Old 05-14-2012, 02:25 AM
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Which is why in my initial post I mentioned listening to the indavidual (not pacifying them, playing up to their distress or taking charge), but listening to what it is they have to say, what their thoughts are, how they are feeling etc. Being heard is so crucial a point. People can offer help, or think they are offering it, when really what some needs is to be listened too, to have people try and understand and empathise if possible. Of course medical intervention (therapy) was necessary but the influence of a family unit when functional should never be underestimated either.

Diana was vulnerable, that is entirely evident and I don't believe it was that she needed them to make her life better, rather, she needed them to listen and acknowledge that she was sinking or at least, trying to stay afloat.

I don't think it would have been at all easy for those closely involved, but think of what impact it has on the indavidual themselves. This cannot be reasonably overlooked.

I cannot blame a woman for an illness she could not help, did not ask for and obviously wasn't sure how to manage (no matter what services were on offer). I also cannot blame a man for not knowing how to go about supporting someone when he himself was emotionally vulnerable. I do think Charles let his wife down in various ways and Diana reciprocated which was not helpful at all, but I guess it gave her some sense of control over a situation which she had felt she had little control over for some time.

All in all this is not a case of being black and white, but invariably grey.
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  #153  
Old 05-14-2012, 06:11 AM
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Surely, if we're going to evaluate the proportion of blame which should be placed on each of the actors in this particular tragedy, a certain amount of it should go to Diana's family, more so than the royal family. They will have known the real Diana, as opposed to the Diana who pretended to have so much in common with Charles and his family.

Why did none of her family stop her from marrying Charles? Or try to help her when it became obvious that the marriage wasn't working and Diana was unwell? Why do people insist on continually placing the responsibility on the royal family as opposed to the Spencers?
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  #154  
Old 05-14-2012, 07:15 AM
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I don't like to point blame and as stated, I do not blame Charles, or his family, rather, I think Diana was let down by various people in her life at the time and sure, I think they were amongst those who weren't as in tune with the needs of this vulnerable young woman of 19 as they should have been given their stamp of approval. They assumed and expected her to fit in because she was of good breeding and was known to them. And, for this misguided lack of attention to detail, they all payed the price.

That said, I think her own family let her down even more than the Windsor's and I stated as such only two pages ago.

Quote:

as opposed to the Diana who pretended to have so much in common with Charles and his family.
I wouldn't go as far to state that Diana pretended or intended to be someone she was not. I think she was eager to please and as is often the case with many young women, in the beginning they willingly show an interest in their partners interests and want to make a good impression on their partners family and circle of friends. They get wrapped up in the moment. I don't think it's reasonable to suggest she fraudulently sought to attain Charles' (or anyones) favour under pretence. That's getting a bit carried away I think.
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  #155  
Old 05-14-2012, 07:43 AM
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Which is why in my initial post I mentioned listening to the indavidual (not pacifying them, playing up to their distress or taking charge), but listening to what it is they have to say, what their thoughts are, how they are feeling etc. Being heard is so crucial a point. People can offer help, or think they are offering it, when really what some needs is to be listened too, to have people try and understand and empathise if possible. Of course medical intervention (therapy) was necessary but the influence of a family unit when functional should never be underestimated either.
Although I agree with most of what you are saying, I am not sure that Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth didn't try truly listening to her.

About 25 years ago, I had to deal with a person who had bulimia and was getting out of an abusive marriage. I tried to help her by providing a sympathetic ear and she started calling me at all hours of the day and night. Whenever she had a disagreement with someone, she would bring up my name and say that I took her side, when in fact, I had just listened.

Her psychiatrist told me that although listening to her was important, she was interpreting my attention as a validation for her behavior. He advised me to turn off the phone at night and only respond when it was convenient for me. After I took his advice, she eventually stopped calling me, but started on a new person. It took her years to finally address her real problems.
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  #156  
Old 05-14-2012, 08:10 AM
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Her psychiatrist should not have been practicing if he was unable to refrain from commenting on patients in such a way. I personally find such an indiscretion and breach of medical practice quite shameful. Any unrelated psych therapist could have provided the same advice if told of the situation.

I find your experience really quite interesting. From my conversations with women and men suffering from an eating disorder, the overwhelming majorty spoke about being spoken to about the illness but and not really listened to. Almost as though their take on the condition was not necessary. This in turn furthered their distress. It's a fine line between helping and being counter productive if people aim to give reason to an indaviduals illness. Hence, that grey area yet again.

But your experience is your experience and I am in no doubt that there are those who would interpret a sympathetic ear as validation. Although the fact that this woman was vacating an abusive marriage would suggest that she was infact the victim of this relationship? In which case, surely that would validate her reasons for leaving her husband. Though as you state, you were only listening and it was not her place to bring you into the equation the way that she did. It was not appropriate.

It's good that she sought closure at some point.
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  #157  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:03 PM
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[QUOTE=Madame Royale;1411898]Her psychiatrist should not have been practicing if he was unable to refrain from commenting on patients in such a way. I personally find such an indiscretion and breach of medical practice quite shameful. Any unrelated psych therapist could have provided the same advice if told of the situation.

QUOTE]

I am sure that the psychiatrist had the patient's permission to speak to her family friend. My brother has been in and out the psychiatric facilities over the years and he always puts me down as the contact person. Sometimes I hear way more than what I wanted to hear.

Having treated many patients with anoxeria-bulimia (for their medical issues), I can say that this a very difficult and manipulative group of patients. Often there is an underlying personality disorder and a lot of playing one staff member or family member off the other. The food issue is also used for manipulation and control. Its not just about controlling one's weight to get control of the enviroment- the the not eating, throwing up, hiding food etc. controls everyone around the patient. The entire family's focus becomes about - will she eat or not eat today. Many of these girls have a history of sexual/physical abuse that takes a long time to uncover. The treatment usually involves talk therapy and medications. And when I say girls I mean women from the ages of 18-42. The one that I remember most was a juvenille diabetic that started with bulimia at about 15. When she was in her 20's she only weighed 90 pounds. We would hospitalized her for tube feeds and she's yank the IVs and tubes out. When she was 32 she took her insulin but then proceeded to throw everything up and used laxatives. She fell into a diabetic coma and was found dead 4 days later. Her mother was devoted to her but she treated her like she was 5.

Taking care of this group is hard on everyone- providers and families. I have not read anything that suggests that Princess Diana received long-term help from a doctor who really specialized in this disorder. A quick inspirational talk would not have been enough. And Prince Charles and the BRF were definitely not equipped to deal with this.

It is a sad situation. The one thing good that came out of this is by speaking up about her illness, Diana brought the problem out in the public forum. Other people were able to get the help that Diana was able to receive. Say what you will about Panroma, the affairs, for that one act of bravery-standing up and saying I have an eating disorder we all owe her our gratitude.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:59 PM
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As has been said too many times too many people tried to help Diana and did indeed listen to her or tried to. This entire conversation is going in circles because as I states before, you can on do so much for a person who doesn't want to be helped. The marriage between Diana and Charles was a disaster for all involved and hurt a lot of people. If she had been married to someone less famous perhaps she could have been checked into a hospital for serious evaluation.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:07 PM
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It's really very interesting to read the perspectives of others. I think it may be likely that some are unable, for whatever reason, to grasp ones perspective and there's little more I'd have to add as a result. My experience with the illness is substantial and having been someone who fought the illness and was further educated by it through my time spent at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Eating Disorder Clinic (not as a patient but as an in and out patient access volunteer) which happens to be a world leading recovery clinic. The process is long and not easy and an accumulation of issues come to a head. And no where would I suggest that manipulation is not apparent and in the case of Diana, we saw how she manipulated the media at times so it's evident that to some degree, there were manipulative tendencies.

My aim at posting is not to discourage opinions contrary to my own, not at all. It was to provide balance to what was becoming a seemingly prejudiced discussion. This woman really was not well for a very long time and so before people make up their minds that she was an attention seeking b**ch who's aim it was to "bring down" the institution of monarchy, perhaps gain some perspective and or insight by educating ourselves with the various psychological/emotional issues Diana faced. It's so easy to point the finger and label the person as being this or that when you know little of a disease or it's related tendencies.

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I am sure that the psychiatrist had the patient's permission to speak to her family friend
One would like to think so if that were the case.

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The one that I remember most was a juvenille diabetic that started with bulimia at about 15. When she was in her 20's she only weighed 90 pounds. We would hospitalized her for tube feeds and she's yank the IVs and tubes out. When she was 32 she took her insulin but then proceeded to throw everything up and used laxatives. She fell into a diabetic coma and was found dead 4 days later. Her mother was devoted to her but she treated her like she was 5.
A very very sad situation and ending.

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The one thing good that came out of this is by speaking up about her illness, Diana brought the problem out in the public forum. Other people were able to get the help that Diana was able to receive. Say what you will about Panroma, the affairs, for that one act of bravery-standing up and saying I have an eating disorder we all owe her our gratitude.
Well said.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:46 PM
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Her psychiatrist should not have been practicing if he was unable to refrain from commenting on patients in such a way. I personally find such an indiscretion and breach of medical practice quite shameful. Any unrelated psych therapist could have provided the same advice if told of the situation.

I find your experience really quite interesting. From my conversations with women and men suffering from an eating disorder, the overwhelming majorty spoke about being spoken to about the illness but and not really listened to. Almost as though their take on the condition was not necessary. This in turn furthered their distress. It's a fine line between helping and being counter productive if people aim to give reason to an indaviduals illness. Hence, that grey area yet again.

But your experience is your experience and I am in no doubt that there are those who would interpret a sympathetic ear as validation. Although the fact that this woman was vacating an abusive marriage would suggest that she was infact the victim of this relationship? In which case, surely that would validate her reasons for leaving her husband. Though as you state, you were only listening and it was not her place to bring you into the equation the way that she did. It was not appropriate.

It's good that she sought closure at some point.
First, let me assure everyone that she gave her psychiatrist permission to speak with me. In fact, she was present. The psychiatrist did not disclose details of her treatment, but helped me avoid enabling her.

Regarding her husband, of course I supported her decision to leave him, but she did not just talk about her marriage. She had many stresses in her life, both at work and at home.

My point was that, like Princess Diana, my friend was very resistant to her treatment. I'm not saying that she didn't want to get better. She desperately wanted to get well. But her treatment involved facing that she wasn't perfect, some of her problems were caused by her own actions, and she could control her actions. That was too difficult for her to bear. So she avoided facing hard truths by finding people who would listen and give her sympathy and attention.

I also agree that Princess Diana shed a lot of light on eating disorders. Unfortunately, many of her followers still do not understand her illness. Not only do they blame Prince Charles, but some of the comments to Penny Junor's articles indicate they believe saying she was mentally ill was an "insult." It is another reason that I wish she had truly come to understand her illness, she may have been able to help others understand it better.
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