Back in September Eric and I attend the Baltimore Book Expo and learned the F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, lived in Baltimore for awhile when she received treatment at Johns Hopkins and Shepherd Pratt for mental breakdowns. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a new book here in the library that was a novelization of Zelda's life. Knowing her connection to Baltimore my interest was peaked and so I read it.
Wow, have we come a long way in diagnosing and treating mental disorders since the 30's and 40's. Zelda had her first breakdown in France and was institutionalized for over a year. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia because her mind was split. And why was her mind split? Because she wanted to do more than be her husband's doormat. Zelda was a writer and a painter and a dancer but all of this was overshadowed by her very famous husband.
Over the years until her death she would relapses and have to return to various hospitals until she was killed in a hospital fire.
When I read the book I was saddened for her and so grateful that medicine has come as far as it has. I know there is much we do not know, especially when it comes to mental illnesses. I am also grateful that the role a woman plays has changed. Now I am a very traditional woman in a lot of ways but I still feel that a woman should be able to choose to live her life and not be told how to live her life by her husband.