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Old September 26th, 2011, 02:31 PM   #1

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How mad was Joanna "the Mad"?


Was she really mad as a hatter, or did she get really bad press, and was tucked away because she obstructed Habsburg ambitions in Spain?

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There is debate about the diagnosis that she was mentally ill considering that her symptoms were aggravated by non-consensual confinement and control by others who had assumed her royal powers.
Joanna of Castile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old September 26th, 2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Was she really mad as a hatter, or did she get really bad press, and was tucked away because she obstructed Habsburg ambitions in Spain?


Joanna of Castile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rest assured that she was as mad (actually psychotic, probably schizophrenic) as it can get (much more than the proverbial hatter, BTW).

The unexpected emergence of any major mental disease in the member of any powerful dynasty is always suspicious, and this case has fed plenty of romantic fantasies for centuries, but the facts here are clear; she suffered rather soon from severe mental incompetency.

Besides, she was objectively no "obstacle" for any king (neither her father, her husband, her son, or her grandson).
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Old September 26th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #3

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Thanks Syl! But i want a second opinion. Those Habsburg are not to be trusted...
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Old September 26th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #4

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Rest assured that she was as mad (actually psychotic, probably schizophrenic) as it can get (much more than the proverbial hatter, BTW).

The unexpected emergence of any major mental disease in the member of any powerful dynasty is always suspicious, and this case has fed plenty of romantic fantasies for centuries, but the facts here are clear; she suffered rather soon from severe mental incompetency.

Besides, she was objectively no "obstacle" for any king (neither her father, her husband, her son, or her grandson).
Juana suffered from 'episodes' of erratic behavior, she was not completely incompetent until after her son's ascension to the throne in 1520. And even at that, it has been shown that severe confinment (which Juana was subjected to) to cause and even exacerbate severe mental issues.

I'm not denying that Juana suffered from some mental illness, however it wasn't constantly present in her life, and up until 1520, only presented itself in episodes.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #5

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Thanks Syl! But i want a second opinion. Those Habsburg are not to be trusted...

This is a fairly decent book on Juana, especially when it comes to her political dealings and her mental health:

Amazon.com: Juana the Mad: Sovereignty and Dynasty in Renaissance Europe (The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science) (9780801880728): Bethany Aram: Books
Amazon.com: Juana the Mad: Sovereignty and Dynasty in Renaissance Europe (The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science) (9780801880728): Bethany Aram: Books

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Old September 26th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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The superb chapter on this queen of this extraordinary book from a distinguished Spanish psychiatrist, sadly seemingly just available in Spanish

Amazon.com: Locos egregios (Alternativa) (Spanish Edition) (9788470179013): Juan Antonio Vallejo-Nagera: Books
Amazon.com: Locos egregios (Alternativa) (Spanish Edition) (9788470179013): Juan Antonio Vallejo-Nagera: Books

(something like Notable Lunatics) is by far the best material I have ever seen on this fascinating issue.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 04:22 PM   #7

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Her condition may have started out as depression, but it was made worse by her husband, Philip, whom she adored and was extremely jealous over. He would become annoyed by her and would walk away, leaving her to yell and scream in his absence. His death hit her especially hard, but by then the illness had progressed.

Yes, she was insane, but better treatment in earlier years may have prevented the severity of her disease.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #8
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Her condition may have started out as depression, but it was made worse by her husband, Philip, whom she adored and was extremely jealous over. He would become annoyed by her and would walk away, leaving her to yell and scream in his absence. His death hit her especially hard, but by then the illness had progressed.

Yes, she was insane, but better treatment in earlier years may have prevented the severity of her disease.
Would the real life mental disorders be so simple...

Pretending that jealousy or even widowing may provoke lifelong psychosis (severe delusions, absolute collapse of social function and total loss of contact with reality) is just a romantic tale.

And of course, there was no effective treatment available at the time (or for some centuries, for that matter).
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Old September 26th, 2011, 10:13 PM   #9

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Her condition may have started out as depression, but it was made worse by her husband, Philip, whom she adored and was extremely jealous over. He would become annoyed by her and would walk away, leaving her to yell and scream in his absence. His death hit her especially hard, but by then the illness had progressed.

Yes, she was insane, but better treatment in earlier years may have prevented the severity of her disease.
I understand that after his death she embalmed his corpse and took it everywhere with her.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 10:39 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Would the real life mental disorders be so simple...

Pretending that jealousy or even widowing may provoke lifelong psychosis (severe delusions, absolute collapse of social function and total loss of contact with reality) is just a romantic tale.

And of course, there was no effective treatment available at the time (or for some centuries, for that matter).
A small illness can easily worsen if it's aggravated. It may all be romantic tales, but sane people can be driven mad by jealousy. And, no there were no proper treatments for this at the time, but if it was just depressoin in the beginning, giving her time to recover without stress might have made her better.
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