Sylvia's Plath Life and Mental Health

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Borderline Disorder Along with Extreme Depression
  • Conclusion


Sylvia Plath was an American writer and poet. She was diagnosed with depression at the age of twenty and committed suicide after ten years. Her case was studied further after her death and her writings suggested that she was a manic-depressive. It has been recently diagnosed by Brian Cooper that Sylvia Plath had borderline personality disorder along with extreme depression. Literature Review Background Sylvia Plath was only eight when her father died and she did not have a compatible relationship with her mother. Her mother’s expectations kept her under pressure as a young girl and a teenager. She was rejected from a writing course in Harvard which led to a breakdown. Later when married Plath had difficulty managing her career, success and motherhood. All of the aforementioned can be accounted for Plath’s growing depression and despair. When Plath had returned from her internship in New York, her mother notice cuts on her legs and took her to their family Physician. She was treated with electroconvulsive therapy by psychiatrist Peter Thornton. In her letter she wrote, “pretty soon the only thought in my mind was the precise time and method of committing suicide.” She took in all her sleeping pills in order to kill herself assuming, that she had the ill fate of being insane. She became more depressed as the years passed, suicidal thoughts, insomnia took over and she used prescribed sedatives to sleep. Her married life was mostly spent dealing with her husband’s infidelity.

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Borderline Disorder Along with Extreme Depression

In January 1963 Plath decided to see her GP to discuss her ill state and upon recommendation of Dr Horder she took antidepressants and hired a nurse to check on her daily. Later in February that year she committed suicide and was found with her head in the gas oven. Cinical Manifestations of Pathophysiology According to Dr Horder before she committed suicide, her depression was the result of the ongoing stress of taking care of children alone when she moved out of her house alongside the infliction of a viral infection. It was also diagnosed that there was a chemical imbalance inherited by Sylvia Plath that caused her to be terrorized. She had symptoms of depression from cognitive to somatic. She had stopped enjoying life or taking pleasure in things. Her depression had led her to being an insomniac, who once could not sleep for twenty-one nights. She often felt guilty and useless. She felt of herself as worthless compared to Hughes, her husband whom she thought was dominant in their relationship and she according to her “a mere accessory”.


Her impulsive responses can also be accounted for a bipolar disorder but these can be mistaken by her habitual behavior. When she wanted to write she could not and that would put her deeper into despair as she wanted to excel.

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