NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness Home | About NAMI | Contact Us | En Espanol  | Donate  
Find
  Advanced Search  
 

Sign In
myNAMI
Communities
Register and Join
Donate
What's New
State & Local NAMIs
Advocate Magazine
NAMI Newsroom
NAMI Store
NAMIWALKS
National Convention
Special Needs Estate Planning
NAMI Travel


Print this page
Graphic Site
Log Out
 | Print this page | 
 | 
not_alone

Your are not alone in this fight

Spread the word! “You are not alone in this fight” when it comes to mental illness.

Our goal is to raise $300,000 by Dec. 31, 2012. Your donations help NAMI provide free education and support programs, publish reports and provide resources for people in need.

This year we’re asking you to share your story to inspire hope and break down stigma everywhere.

Submit your Video or Story

Becoming One's Own: The Powerful Words of Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, born in England in 1882, is considered one of the greatest modernist and early feminist writers of the 20th century.

Her most famous works include Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando (1928) and A Room of One’s Own (1929).

Woolf also struggled with bipolar disorder and died from suicide in 1941.

She experienced her first depressive episode at age 15, after the death of her mother and then her half-sister two years later. In 1904, after her father died, she experienced her second episode of depression and was briefly hospitalized. Sexual abuse from half-brothers also contributed to her mental illness. 

Throughout Woolf’s life, mood swings often resulted in periods of convalescence that compromised her creativity. Episodes would begin with migraine headaches and sleeplessness and eventually lead to her hearing voices and experiencing visual hallucinations. In 1932 she wrote in a letter: “My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery—always buzzing, humming, soaring, diving and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?”

Woolf’s passion was for modernism in the arts—reaction to industrialization, urbanization and the horrors of World War I. It rejected traditional (realist) art forms in favor of radical reassessments and innovations, not only in style but also in considering the human condition and value of technological progress. Woolf experimented with stream-of consciousness narratives in her novels which revealed psychological and emotional motives of characters and other untraditional forms. In Flush: A Biography, for example, a semi-fictional biography of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the narrator is Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush.

Ironically, the play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf (1962) by Edward Albee, has nothing to do with Woolf the writer—except for the title. It reflects Woolf’s modernist perspective and is intended to ask “Who is afraid to live without illusion?” (i.e., peeling back social pretensions until raw motives and emotions are exposed).

Woolf’s greatest novel, Mrs. Dalloway, includes criticism of the medical establishment of the 1920s in its treatment of mental illness. One level, it is about a woman in London on a single day, preparing to host a party that night. But parallel chapters told from the perspective of a “shell-shocked” World War I veteran, who today would be referred to as living with posttraumatic stress disorder. Like Woolf, in her own experience with bipolar disorder, the character isolates himself, hears birds singing in Greek and ultimately dies from suicide.

In 1941 after finishing her last novel, Between the Acts, Woolf fell again into depression, which also coincided with the onset of World War II and destruction of her London home by a German bomb. In a note she left for her husband before she died, she wrote: “I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I don’t think two people could have been happier ‘til this terrible disease came.”


 | Print this page | 
 | 

Donate

Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.

Donate today

Speak Out

Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.

Share your story

Get Involved

Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.

Join NAMI Today
Home  |  myNAMI  |  About NAMI  |  Contact Us  |  Jobs  |  SiteMap

Copyright © 1996 - 2011 NAMI. All Rights Reserved.