I asked in a reader group what topics people were interested in having covered on blogs these days and got a whole list of things that I’ll be tackling in the coming months, but the one that seemed the most … Continue reading →
Inquiring readers, It’s time to lay Downton Abbey reviews aside and return to Jane Austen, since that is where my passion lies. Tony Grant, London Calling, has been a contributor to this blog for many years. He has written a piece that is quite original – how would Darcy’s first proposal to Lizzie sound if […]
Hello, Risky Readers! I am busy writing the third book in the Sinclair Series. This is Emily and Devon’s story. I’m about 30% in. It’s going about as okay as writing tends to go. I’d say this is the hard … Continue reading →
DA Season 6 has come to an end. Tonight we watched the opening sequence live for the last time. Isis’s tail, the approach to the Abbey, the tingling of the bells will soon fade into memory, unless we watch the repeats. Viewers hope that sequels are in the works. What will happen to Tom? What […]
I thought for today’s post, I’d elaborate a little on my February post about needlework, and talk about the social aspects of needlework. As any crafter knows, there is an immense satisfaction in gifting your work to your friends and … Continue reading →
Bizarrely shown on three cable channels, A&E, Lifetime, and History, the BBC’s adaptation of War and Peace seems to have come and gone without much notice. And it deserves a lot of attention because this is one of the most … Continue reading →
I had never heard of box pews until I started writing the Lively St. Lemeston series! However, they were much more common in England during the Regency than bench-style pews. Wikipedia explains: Box pews provided privacy and allowed the family … Continue reading →
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we, and not be blindsided by the numerous side trips in Episode 8 of Season 6. After this week, the creators of Downton Abbey will have one meager episode left to tie a multitude of plotlines into one neat strand. Will Episode 9 leave viewers satisfied? Is it possible? […]
February is Black History Month so I thought I’d go with the obvious theme. While I know a lot of you are familiar with the Chevalier Saint-Georges (champion fencer, friend of the Prince Regent, Marie Antoinette’s music teacher, forgotten composer … Continue reading →
Over organized. That is one way that I describe myself. Sometimes that’s good (I do know where almost everything is in our house) and sometimes that’s bad (I really do try my best not to fiddle with Paul’s stacks of … Continue reading →
Happy February! I have much to delight you with today, including some Shameless Self-Promotion but also a treasure trove of information. . . Let’s get the shameless self-promotion out of the way. The seventh book in my My Immortals series … Continue reading →
Inquiring readers: Jane Austen’s World blog is participating in a tour of Stephanie Barron’s new book, Jane and the Waterloo Map, wherein our favorite author turns sleuth in this Regency-era mystery. I have interviewed Stephanie Barron, author of this delightful mystery, and wished I had asked more questions! It is November, 1815. The Battle of […]
“We are very busy making Edward’s shirts, and I am proud to say that I am the neatest worker of the party.” ~ Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 1 Sept. 1796 Needlework was an essential skill for women of … Continue reading →
Amateur sleuth Jane Austen returns in Jane and the Waterloo Map, the thirteenth novel in Stephanie Barron’s delightful Regency-era mystery series. Award winning author Stephanie Barron tours the blogosphere February 2 through February 22, 2016 to share her latest release, Jane and the Waterloo Map (Being a Jane Austen Mystery). Twenty popular book bloggers specializing […]
On Friday, January 29, our guest will be Lavinia Kent, talking about her new book, Ravishing Ruby, out now from Loveswept. My friend Lavinia’s forte is writing sensual love scenes. Like the first two books in her Bound and Determined … Continue reading →
In Listen to the Moon (my new Regency romance about a valet and a maid who marry to get a plum job), Toogood makes an onion pie. “Are you fond of the Dymonds?” Sukey asked. “Of course.” He said it … Continue reading →
I stumbled across a very entertaining book from 1828 while doing a bit of research about Gentleman’s Clubs in London: The Clubs of London; with anecdotes of their members, sketches of character and conversations. It’s exactly the kind of fodder … Continue reading →
Inquiring readers: A poll I placed on this blog a few days earlier showed that people were generally more pleased with Episode One over Episode Two, but the votes were close between excellent or merely O.K. for both. As for my coverage, 80% of you like my irreverent recaps, and 20% did not, with %5 […]
As you all know, I love Regency Romance, everything from the comedy of manners, spies, war torn lovers, and my beloved favorite, marriages of convenience. A few times I’ve read a few where the character was described as otherworldly. This is Regency speak for nutters, missing a few marbles, etc.
Now all of us have accquaintances who fly off the handle, or we swear they missed their medicine. Or maybe you have people in your life who are too random or flighty for your tastes and perhaps their own good. (You know who you are, and I’m praying for you.)
I am not talking about those bless-your-heart souls. I am talking about the one’s who struggle with depression, the ones who have difficulty remembering to smile, who battle with suffocating thoughts in their head, and even the one’s trying hard to discern between reality and fiction.
My heroine in Unveiling Love, Amora Norton, suffers from depression. She has survived a harrowing ordeal but has kept the trauma and nightmares bottled-up inside. Yet, those memories can’t be contained. They burst free and shatter everything– her marriage and her will to live.
Depression is real. It is real now and in the time of Jane Austen.
For my sun-loving brethren, can you image living in the year of 1816, the year of no summer. Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia erupted producing volcanic clouds that literally changed the weather patterns over most of Europe. England had cold weather for the entire year. Yes, an entire year…
People rioted from food shortages that year. Can you imagine being cold, hungry, and in the dark?
But what did Regency folks think about mental illness? Maybe it’s a very British concept, but family member’s seemed to manage it as a part of their responsibilities.
Jane Austen shows us a look at mental instability with Emma (1815). Emma’s father, Mr. Woodhouse is in mental decline. He has moments of paranoia, in which Emma’s patience helps to re-establish his footing. Here are Emma’s thoughts on her father:
Emma could not but sigh over it, and wish for impossible things, till her father awoke, and made it necessary to be cheerful. His spirits required support. He was a nervous man, easily depressed; fond of every body that he was used to, and hating to part with them; hating change of every kind. Matrimony, as the origin of change, was always disagreeable; and he was by no means yet reconciled to his own daughter’s marrying, nor could ever speak of her but with compassion, though it had been entirely a match of affection, when he was now obliged to part with Miss Taylor too; and from his habits of gentle selfishness, and of being never able to suppose that other people could feel differently from himself, he was very much disposed to think Miss Taylor had done as sad a thing for herself as for them, and would have been a great deal happier if she had spent all the rest of her life at Hartfield. Emma smiled and chatted as cheerfully as she could, to keep him from such thoughts.
Here are Mr. Woodhouse’s own words:
“I believe it is very true, my dear, indeed,” said Mr. Woodhouse, with a sigh. “I am afraid I am sometimes very fanciful and troublesome.”
Because of her father, Emma believes that she cannot marry. She is very young and now that the other caregiver, Miss Taylor, now Mrs. Weston, has gone, Emma takes on the whole responsibility of caring for her father. This underlying thread in Emma points to a few things:
Regency families were aware of the affects of depression.
Families and friends took responsibilities to support those with mental illness.
Notice Emma’s thoughts aren’t to send him away, but to make him comfortable and secure. They aren’t even to medicate him, which at that time would have been an opiate, very addictive stuff.
The next part of my series will discuss how the Regency dealt with severe mental illness, where life and limb are at risk, but for now I leave with you these thoughts:
Depression is real and can be debilitating.
Though suicide rates are higher in spring and early summer, cold winter temperatures, less sunlight, and blizzards impact many with increasing rates of depression.
Many suffer in silence. A pray and smile can go a long way.
Act with love, seeking your friend’s comfort. Save the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps talk for a sunny day.
Check on those struggling and urge them to seek help.