Author Topic: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?  (Read 568 times)

Offline StevieB

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Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« on: Wednesday 27 October 21 01:33 BST (UK) »
Hi,

I am keen to hear some views on an asylum entry I read today on my 2x Great Grandmother who was admitted to Portsmouth Borough Lunatic Asylum circa 1879 (Amelia Ann Mitchell).

The paperwork showed the following:

Form of Mental Disorder: Chronic Mania
Supposed Cause of Insanity: Domestic Affliction

From a little research it appears that Chronic Mania was a common disorder in the 1800's and is aligned with depression / bipolar disorder.

I have struggled to define a definitive definition of "Domestic Affliction".

All the suggestions seem to be on the vague side, so I was wondering if any one had found the true meaning?

A sad footnote is that Amelia died of Phthisis Pulmonalis (tuberculosis) in the asylum in Jan 1882, aged 42.

As always, your thoughts and views are much appreciated.

Steve

Researching: Bryant (Portsea / Portsmouth)

Offline Kay99

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Re: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 27 October 21 02:15 BST (UK) »
I came across - a euphemism for the menstrual period  https://www.definition-of.com/domestic+afflictions

Kay

Offline bbart

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Re: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 27 October 21 03:32 BST (UK) »
I searched the term "domestic affliction" in the old newspapers, and got thousands of returns.  I only read articles from the 1870's to keep the term relevant to the time.  All were related to someone suffering greatly from losing family members.

For example, one was titled "Suicide through Domestic Affliction" - where a mother drowned herself several weeks after the death of her daughter.

Another was of the "domestic affliction" of a man who lost six children over a couple of weeks to diptheria.  Yet another was on a woman who lost husband, mother, and child in three different events within a week.  I read many, many more depressing articles, but all had the same theme of absolute emotional devastation resulting from similar events.

I suspect if you dig enough, you will find some tragic event(s) in her family.


Offline StevieB

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Re: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 02 November 21 23:39 GMT (UK) »
Kay99 & bbart,

Thank you for your views on my post.

During my research I did come across an American website that confirmed the thinking that a woman could be admitted to an asylum due to her menstral cycle.  I believe the definition in this instance has been misinterpreted as personally I cannot make the connection.

I need to undertake further research to see if she lost a child or another family member the year before she was admitted.

I have discovered that she was admitted to Dorset County Asylum before being transferred to Portsmouth Borough Lunatic Asylum.

Dorset History Centre have confirmed they hold records of Amelia Ann Mitchell including possible case notes, so I plan to make an appointment prior to Christmas.

Steve

Researching: Bryant (Portsea / Portsmouth)

Offline River Tyne Lass

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Re: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 03 November 21 09:44 GMT (UK) »
A now deceased family member of mine had a mother in law who had gone into  a local asylum  when she was in her thirties and stayed there until she died.
It was a very tragic story.  Apparently, she had had a total breakdown as a result of on-going domestic abuse from her husband.  Family story was that it happened in the street as she saw him aproaching; perhaps her mind just couldn't take anymore.  I wonder if that might have been classed as 'domestic affliction?'
She never recovered sadly.  My family member would occasionally take her out and I did get to meet her myself before she died.  I might have been around late teens or early twenties.  I will never forget her.  She was like a shell of a person and did not seem to understand who people were or what was going on.  She had to be given simple instructions which she would follow blankly such as 'fasten your coat' 'get in the car'.  I have always wondered if the way she was was because of her breakdown or perhaps from old types of treatment she may have received (which wouldn't happen these days) which may have made things worse?
The husband responsible got to live out his life in freedom which I think was all wrong; in my opinion he couldn't have done much worse if he had killed her.  :'(
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Offline StevieB

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Re: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« Reply #5 on: Monday 08 November 21 17:44 GMT (UK) »
River Tyne Lass,

Thank you for your reply to my post and the interesting history of your family member.

I have read some admission records from Portsmouth Borough Lunatic Asylum and they seem to differentiate between "domestic abuse" & "domestic affliction", although I agree there could be a connection.

I need to make an appointment with the Dorset History Centre as she was admitted to the Dorset Asylum before Portsmouth.  I am hoping the case notes will confirm the reason for her mental illness.

I will let you know what I find after my visit.

Steve

Researching: Bryant (Portsea / Portsmouth)
 

Online Maiden Stone

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Re: Asylum Record - Domestic Affliction?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 08 November 21 23:55 GMT (UK) »
Re. replies 1 & 3.
Another word to consider:
   hysteria:  Functional disturbance of nervous system, of psycho-neurotic origin; morbid excitement
   Origin: Greek hustera meaning womb. The womb was formerly held to be the seat of hysteria.
   (Definition from "The Pocket Oxford Dictionary" 5th edition)

A drastic method of treating a severe case of "hysteria" in a female patient was to perform a hysterectomy.
Cowban