Sunday, September 20, 2015

Madness as a way to survive – Swedish Dagbladet

Photo: Magnus Hjalmarsson Neideman

Agnes von Krusenstjerna black diary texts glows in the dark. “I do not think I will come back from this night, which in the fall will stop over me,” she writes from the mental hospital Konradsberg 1930, the year when she seems to be doing its worst. In Karin Johannisson’s previous books were missing clear faces, but this time, in the book “The Wounded divan – on the psyche aesthetics”, felt it necessary to work with named persons. Karin Johannisson specializes in emotions. She has written several books dealing with melancholy, nostalgia and other lawsuits disease declared in the past.

– I had a specific question: How are female madness? I wanted to explore the limits of how eccentric, grandiose, “perverted” or bizarre a woman must be before you call her crazy. The medical records proved to be an excellent material to find out.

It is difficult to get Karin Johannisson to talk about his own life. The personal will in the shadows of the big questions. It is mesmerizing to listen; She gives me answers on my own time as neither psychologists and novelists have been able to answer. She does not like “small talk,” she says.

– I get bored quickly if you get caught in the private sphere. But I like to talk about it personal if it can be generalized to any general.

So you would not be able to write an autobiography?

– No, I would not know which of the stories I would choose. I believe that every individual represents a repertoire of possible stories. If for example, I chose to write about myself as my mother’s daughter, it would be a completely different story than if I wrote about myself as my father’s daughter, and in between are a range fantasized identities.

In his new Book examines Karin Johannisson diaries and medical records that belonged to three people: Nelly Sachs, Sigrid Hjertén and Agnes von Krusenstjerna. All three are staying at Beckomberga Hospital. Unlike most women with psychiatric diagnoses during the 1900s the first half they retain their professional identity throughout life. This also applies when they are deep inside the diseased.

Is there a risk that violate people’s privacy when using their private diaries?

– I do not like history that avoids the private but to argue why. Taboo explains certain areas of the human. Even the private may be relevant, just not write about it for its intrinsic value, or to “expose” people.

Agnes von Krusenstjerna writes about his boredom with life as best the “endless empty and stereotypical housewife”. Everything Lamare is she doing outfit for the wedding. She must stop on the mandatory housekeeping school after only a few weeks ago, she had to shout cases. There comes a fear of her, a fear of death, and she hears himself “scream like a drowning man.”

I am convinced that the space for female normality is tighter than for the man.

“The Young Women breakout attempt from a tight female identity look the same then as now: crying spells, eating disorders, self-harm, sexual limitlessness. The protest out of the body makes them feel that they live, “writes Karin Johannisson. In the hysteria diagnosis included gambit, shouting cases, escapes and violence against their own and other people’s bodies.

– The diagnosis gives Agnes von Krusenstjerna opportunity to act out their anger and instängdhetskänsla in a society that does not allow her to be free. She loves her diagnosis; it is only at the very last admission at Beckomberga 1939 as it changed to manic depression, says Karin Johannisson.

When I read about Agnes von Krusenstjerna fate I am reminded of singer Britney Spears’ breakdown in 2007. Her shaved head and black glance at the headlines that said “I can not be who you expect me’s”. She broke out. Could it be that even today there is something liberating in the diagnosis and madness, madness, especially for women?

– I am convinced that the scope for female normality is narrower than for the man. It is harder for women to derogate from the Convention. They have not got to be free individuals. Therefore, there has been a game with madness, a kind of role-playing games that have allowed women to stay in the darkness, says Karin Johannisson.

She emphasizes that she makes a sharp distinction between being sick and to describe himself as “a little crazy”.

– Today, people almost flirt with being “a little crazy”. Many of the diagnoses we have today is certainly serious, but does not prevent people from being successful. The diagnoses holds much of what we find desirable, such as being analytical, creative and high-performance, represent a kind of complexity and that includes emotional swings. I think it is a normal state today swinging between depression and euphoria.

Why is it a normal state?

– The anxiety people experience at large social change is expressed in decreased well-being and increased ill health. We live in a society with growing differences between people, some of which may be very rich, and some completely fall off. I think it’s a trend that began in the 80th century, when the old welfare-state model and the vision of an egalitarian society began eroding. During the same time appeared antidepressants up. We got an explosion of new diagnoses and new names for mental suffering; burnout, electrical hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivity, oral galvanism.

It is easy to recognize in the Karin Johannisson describes. Today, you can either go to any length or fall headlong. There are no guarantees that what I have today will be with me tomorrow as well. The interchangeability characterizes both the labor market and social life. It is so easy to lose your footing and soar out. There is an existential vulnerability that makes a very vulnerable. Therefore, it might also easy to long for a diagnosis that may allow for the vulnerability.

Why appeared all these diagnoses up right in the 1980s, do you?

– Many of the diagnoses we have today reflects the feelings of inadequacy in a stressful working structure. Our time is extremely performance requirements and pace focuses on all planes; the high demands of delivering a rich life and a rich leisure. Mental ill health has shifted to the young; before there was the greater in older and were more combined with wear and burnout.

I often feel that my parents could not prepare me for the time I live in, because in many ways growing up in a another country, long before needed to see his life as a project that would materialize. Karin Johannisson looks lighter on his early life.

– It was a fine time to grow up in. I went into the area where the demonstration trains and shouting all kinds words, even though I was a shy and well-behaved girl from a family of academics. I had to be with an optimism that was incredibly strong and obviously naive in many ways. Had someone said then that the world today would almost explode with conflicts, we would not have believed it. Today it’s all about how to cope with the situation we’re in right now. It is stressful.

Why are so many to psychiatry their problems today?

– There is less stigma of having a psychiatric diagnosis today. I also believe that there can be an investment in health to affirm the weakness and vulnerability. The new diagnoses opens the possibility to have properties that we actually find enriching. We will allow us to have these fluctuations, but we also know exactly when they where they become too big, says Karin Johannisson and says that she was questioned when she began researching feelings.

– I was told that it was impossible to explore.

Is not it stressful to write about all the dark feelings you investigate?

– No, I do not.

Is it therapeutic?

– Not to write specifically about dark emotions. But the writing is therapeutic. I can write myself out of unhappiness feelings. “The Dark Continent” I wrote that in an intoxication in connection with a divorce. My children were away and I was alone. I can always concentrate on the computer even during periods of crisis.

What do you do when you have finished writing a book?

– I need a taper phase, a positioning time. Since I wrote finished my new book I have written five articles, the latest I sent six o’clock this morning. My best friend in productivity is a kind of impatience and a desire to be finished.

What would you say is your basic emotion?

– I Can Be very happy, but my basic mood is melancholy. I console myself with that melancholy is a rich feel. It recalls that life contains a lot of complexity and atmospheric layers and the complexity can be balanced against creativity.

Name: Karin Johannisson

Profession: Author and Professor Emeritus of the History of Ideas at Uppsala University

Born: 1944 in Lund, raised in Gothenburg.

Live Uppsala

Family: Gift mathematics professor Allan Gut. Two grown children and three grandchildren. Karin Johannisson’s father was a professor of Scandinavian languages ​​and sat in the Swedish Academy. Her mother grew up in Germany and studied to be a doctor there until his flight to Sweden in 1939, where she became a housewife and never got the opportunity to resume their studies.

Books in selection: The thesis “Magnetisörernas time: the animal magnetism in Sweden in 1974″. “The Dark Continent” (Collins 1994), “The body’s thin shells” (1997), “Melancholy room” (Bonniers 2013), “Nostalgia – a känslas history” (Bonniers 2013).

Last book read: “Sarah Waters’ tenants’.”

Strongest reading experience of recent years: ” Beckomberga ‘by Sara Stridsberg. “

Current: With the book “The wounded diva” at Albert Bonniers.

relaxing with: “Gardening. And by journey away. It is the only effective way for me to take a vacation. When I’m home I hang almost always at the computer. “

If I do not become the historian of ideas: ” I could be a nurse, or translator of German drama. It was mostly a coincidence that it was the history of ideas. By chance, affects only the prepared mind, as Pasteur said. “

A person who inspired me: ” Sten Lindroth, who was my professor of intellectual history at Uppsala. “


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