**spoiler alert** ‘Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter’ is haunting, aptly described by the New York Times (October 16, 2015). The story of Rose and**spoiler alert** ‘Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter’ is haunting, aptly described by the New York Times (October 16, 2015). The story of Rose and Joe’s Kennedy’s eldest daughter Rosemary (also sister of John F. Kennedy), her life as an intellectually impaired child from birth is tragic. But I found it mostly disturbing due to Rosemary’s parents relentless pursuit of a cure, for Rosemary's “backwardness” as described by her father. Rosemary matured into a lovely, young woman with the mind of 10-year old and a sweet, endearing nature viewed through Rosemary's voice in letters to her parents quoted by the author.
Driven by self-absorption, ambition and hubris, the parents went to extensive and costly lengths to not only hide Rosemary’s disability, but to find medical methods to cure her and protect the Kennedy's image. The latter become more pressing when the oldest boys were entering into politics. Up until then it had been special schools, and medical treatment of injections of endocrines by a doctor considered a specialist at the time, in therapies for 'human development abnormalities'. Not surprising they were ineffective, though there's no report or speculation on the harm they may have done.
Towards the end of the book, the events lead up to the final treatment, a lobotomy in 1941 which put Rosemary in a hospital for the rest of her life--partially paralyzed and unable to speak. After her lobotomy she received a handful of visits from her father, and none from her mother Rose for over 20 years. Though Rose did visit her daughter once Joe had died. Joe, Rosemary's father ironically suffered a stroke at age 75 which left him mentally alert but paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak because of the damage to his brain. He died six years later.
At the end of the book, I felt little pity for her parents but much for Rosemary, the unlikely heroine....more
"Mental Health and Canadian Society" is a collection of essays that each provide a unique, historical perspective on an aspect of mental health. Persp"Mental Health and Canadian Society" is a collection of essays that each provide a unique, historical perspective on an aspect of mental health. Perspectives are in context of a specific region, social environment and viewpoint--from the patient, researcher or medical professional's point-of-view.
I chose this book as I'm doing research on how mental health was perceived and treated in the early 1900's in Canada, with a special interest in treatment of depression. Collectively the essays provided some insight via discussions on Asylums in Ontario and Montreal and the patients lives within, psychiatric research that included an essay on the use of LSD for studying mental disorders such as Schizophrenia, among others.
I was hoping to get specifics on depression, alas it was not mentioned in any of the essays; they focused more on institutionalization of individuals with mental health disorders without specificity of patients' diagnoses or symptoms. However, overall an insightful and interesting book that sheds light on historical aspects of mental health, demonstrates the progress we've made, and how much more there is still to go....more