Author Topic: Alexandra and her Health Part 1  (Read 214167 times)

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aleksandra

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #450 on: September 27, 2005, 05:47:24 PM »
Also her grandmothers death along with her fathers.
can I try to redo that list.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #451 on: September 28, 2005, 07:45:15 AM »
Quote
Massie goes on to say:
"In modern medical terminology, the Empress Alexandra undoubtedly was suffeing from psychosomatic anxiety symptoms brought on by worry over the health of her son." (again no source cited.
 


Even though Massie stated no source here, I think he is right- from all looks of it Alix had classic symptoms of anxiety disorder, and later a severe anxiety disorder, which is not really unusual and from which millions of people suffer. Obviously Massie couldn't give a contemporary source, since I don't think they would have diagnosed her with it back then, but they almost certainly would have today. I don't think her anxiety  was only over her son's hemophilia, it was general as well (before that she had anxiety over not having a son), but this was the factor that made it much worse and this was mostly what she fixated on later in life(understandably so). IMO, it was not really anything more sinister than that, but because of her position, her disorder  had a much more intense  impact than anyone else's anxiety disorder would have, and of course was much more noticed.

Alexandra's condition became worse as time went by, both internal and external factors exacerbated it, as is often the case. And as time went by, her behavior became more and more controlling, which is also very common. When she felt she lost control over certain things in her life, like her son's disease and the fact that she knew he could die at any moment, her anxiety understandably kept escalating, and in an attempt to alleviate some of it she "overcontrolled" other situations in her life, like her husband's behavior, etc.

P.S. Often depression goes along with the anxiety disorder, and Alix seems to have suffered from depression as well - when she spent long periods of time in bed even when she wasn't ill - which is one of the symptoms of depression. She also seemed to have suffered from occasional panic attacks, hence the "red blotches" on her face, they may have been related to social anxiety. All these are classic symptoms that often go together, and if this was indeed the disorder she had, it would have been very easily treated today, but not back then...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline isabel

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #452 on: September 29, 2005, 03:29:14 PM »
About the doctor´s report concerning Alexandra, i don´t think that it exists, the book don´t gives more information about it.

The report was wrote during Ali´x staying in a spa, about 1984, shortly after her engagement to Nicholas.

After the death of her father Alix was sent to Bad Schwalbach in the Taunus Mountains, the same spa wich later treated her niece Feodora, after this ,Queen Victoria, whose favourite granddaughter she was, took her on a tour of the mining towns of Wales and up to Balmoral, but with indifferent results. In the following winter she fell ill with an inflammation of the ears, and was sent with her brother to rest in Italy.

In April 1894, she wrote to the latter from Windsor Castle: "I shall do all in my power to get my legs in order till nest year, but it is not so easy".

In May of that year she was again packed off by her grandmother, this time to Harrogate, to take the sulphur water cure, the German spas she had tried haiving failed to bring relief. After Harrogate , the Queen sent the doctor´s report to Nicholas, i supose that it doesn´t exist, because it was not a so severe illness.

In Her Majesty´s opinion, "this ought to have been done a long time ago, but the family doctor (at Darmstadt)...is a stupid man, who never will do anything and says yes to all they (the family)ast. Last autumn and winter she ought to have done what she is doing now".

Alicky was visited in Yorkshire by her eldest sister Victoria of Battenberg, and together the two princesses had races in tricycle bath chairs "worked by a man sitting behind us". But even this diversion, the baths and the strict regime al Harrogate did little good, and after more than two weeks she was forced to admint that "as yet the pains are no better". After the cure the two sisters received a visit, from Nicky, though their romantic meeting on the banks of the Thames was a never to be forgotten delight, the Tsarevich recorded that his fiancee´s "sciatica" had not been banished at Harrogate. "What a pity that dear Alix cannot ride yet with us as she has just finished her cure and the pain in the legs endures", he noted.


On the voyage home he assured her"I suffered so for you, poor sweetie, when you had those awful pains in the legs". In mid-August her legs were still extremely painful. "So your poor leggies have again hurt you, very naughty of them, I wish I were there to have rubbed them".-Nicholas wrote.

Though she destroyed her correspondence with Queen Victoria after her abdication in 1917, the hundreds of rambling letters which Alesandra wrote to Nicholas, have survived and they are full or references to her failing health, as are the memoirs and letters left behind by diplomats and courtiers of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg.

Offline elfwine

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #453 on: October 23, 2005, 06:18:27 PM »
Maybe someone has already mentioned this - but I read that Alexandra F had difficult pregnancies...Could her general immune system have been affected by this as well as worry, sciatica (spelling :-X) migraines and various nervous conditions?

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Offline Caleb

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #454 on: October 23, 2005, 09:32:10 PM »
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I don´t think that Queen Victoria thought that Alix´s illnesses was an impediment to be an Empress, not at all,... if she sent to Nicholas the doctor´s report was because she wanted him to take care of her, after Alix´s mother´s death, Queen Victoria was a little her substitute, she always had an specialy look for the Hessian children.

At this time is true that Alix began to suffer from sciatica and other several pains but it was the begining, and i think that no one supposed that this pains were beeing to increase with the years. Also, it´s very probably that they attributed her melancholie and emotional disorder to the death of her beloved father, no more.

I continue to belive that neither Alix or Nicholas were informed about the true tragic risk of haemophilia, but only about an strange disease of blood.

About Nicholas...i am agree with Tsarfan, it´s very courious that knowing Alix´s illnesses (physical and emotional), leaved on  her shoulders the weigh of the Empire.

About this, .....there exist some studies of Alexandra´s personality, it would be very interesting to see some informs about Nicholas personality too.

In my opinion both, Nicholas and Alexandra, were very similars in many aspects of their carachteres, if one of the two would have had a more strong charactere, if one of them would pushed the other to be not so close, things would be turned differents. Perhaps.

That's what I was thinking. But not only that, when people talk about Alexandra assisting Nicholas in ruling Russia in the time of WWI 1914-1917, people always talk about the bad outcome on Nicholas, politicaly, but I think it also took it's toll on Alexandra, but mostly physically & emotionally. I also have heard how hard it is being a parent, but imagine being a parent to 4 girls & a hemophiliac son, the sole heir to the Russian throne! Prince Nicholas Romanov & other historians have said that this destroyed Alexandra. I'm also wondering if the depression (which I'm sure she had) was not only conditional but hereditary.

Offline Caleb

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #455 on: October 23, 2005, 09:36:45 PM »
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If the Queen was sending the Tsarevich such a report, presumably as a warning that Alix might be a bad choice for Empress because of her health, then why recommend her has as a possible wife for Prince Eddy?  That doesn't make sense.  Unless the Queen wasn't aware of the health problems at the time of the suggested marriage between Alix and Eddy -- but that seems unlikely.  
I'm also sure that had Queen Victoria known the pattern of hemophilia, I'm sure she woudn't have brought it up. Also what was the point in QV being so upset about Alix marrying Nicholas after Prince Eddy had died & Prince George had married Mary of Teck?
It would be very interesting to see this report, if it really exists.  

The only other thing I would add is there is still much debate about Prophyria and whether it existed in the royal family or not.


Offline Caleb

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #456 on: October 23, 2005, 09:39:15 PM »
(Sorry!) I wonder if Queen Victoria had known the pattern of hemophilia, would she have pressured Alix to marry Eddy, namely because I think ther would have been a greater risk for hemophiliac children if Alix had married Eddy.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #457 on: October 23, 2005, 10:31:03 PM »
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I think ther would have been a greater risk for hemophiliac children if Alix had married Eddy.


Actually the risk would have been the same as having children with anyone else (25%) since Eddie was not a hemophiliac...

Offline isabel

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #458 on: October 24, 2005, 02:09:42 AM »
I am totaly agree with Helen, Eddy would had the same risk if he would marry any grand daugther of QV. Also , Alix as carrier of haemophilia would had the same posibility to have haemophiliac children if she would married anyone else.

The destiny of the Romanov´s health only would change, if Nicholas would married another princess, Héléne of Orleans, for exemple.

Alixz

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #459 on: October 24, 2005, 07:06:33 AM »
Every generation of QV's had sons who suffered from haemophilia and daughters who carried the gene.

QV had to know of the risks of every marriage of her children and grandchildren, not only to each other but into other royal families.

Yet is was never a deciding fator in the outcome of a royal proposal.  Alexandra of Demark married Bertie without qualms.

Many of QV's descendents married first cousins which can cause greater genetic problems than haemophilia and that didn't stop any of them either.

I agree that QV sent that report to Nicholas just to let him know that Alix needed "special" care and that he should know that he should give it to her.

But IMHO, I believe that is was Alix's mental illness more than her physical ones that dictated her actions and therefore the results of those actions.  I believe that some of her physical problems were generated by her mental illness.

Five pregnancies would help her to "put on weight" and also cause great strain.  Did they not know at that time that the sex of the baby is determined by the father, not the mother?  She seems to take that burden on herself, so she may not have known.

How much post-partum depression did she suffer from and for how long?

I don't like to defend Alix, I have never been a fan and I have always seen her as a selfish whiner.  Like a horse with the bit between her teeth, she ran amok and trampled everyone and everything in her way that did not please her.

I could go on and on, but in deference to other posters, I will not.  Sorry. :-X :-X :-X

But one more thing.  I have always almost felt a sad brittleness radiating from her photos and letters.  A brittleness that is so close to shattering.  How long can someone hold on to reality when life keeps throwing things at you that are not only bad, but worse and worse?  As much I have always thought that she caused many of her own problems, there were just some that no one could have forseen or been ready for.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Alixz »

Offline catt.sydney

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #460 on: November 10, 2005, 06:49:57 PM »
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But IMHO, I believe that is was Alix's mental illness more than her physical ones that dictated her actions and therefore the results of those actions.  I believe that some of her physical problems were generated by her mental illness.

Five pregnancies would help her to "put on weight" and also cause great strain.  Did they not know at that time that the sex of the baby is determined by the father, not the mother?  She seems to take that burden on herself, so she may not have known.

How much post-partum depression did she suffer from and for how long?

I don't like to defend Alix, I have never been a fan and I have always seen her as a selfish whiner.  Like a horse with the bit between her teeth, she ran amok and trampled everyone and everything in her way that did not please her.

I could go on and on, but in deference to other posters, I will not.  Sorry. :-X :-X :-X

But one more thing.  I have always almost felt a sad brittleness radiating from her photos and letters.  A brittleness that is so close to shattering.  How long can someone hold on to reality when life keeps throwing things at you that are not only bad, but worse and worse?  As much I have always thought that she caused many of her own problems, there were just some that no one could have forseen or been ready for.


What a thoughtful remark!
These comments regarding both her mental and physical health are telling, and its only too bad that the Tsarina did not avail herself of the newly developed "talking cure" as popularized by the good doctors Freud and Jung.

I hope I am not being too forward -- this is my first posting here! :-[

thank you!
Catt
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Offline isabel

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #461 on: November 11, 2005, 02:21:56 AM »
Welcome Cat, to the forum.

I am not sure, that Alix, realized that her mental health was not ok. Physically she was the eternal ill, but i belive that she tought, that she was tired or stressed , but not ill.

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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #462 on: November 11, 2005, 12:22:12 PM »
Hello.  This is my first post, so sorry if anything goes wrong.  I'm not the most computer literate person in the world!  ;)

I just wanted to add my two cents to the discussion.

I think that the medical report is very interesting in the respect that it gives a telling insight into the ignorance of medicine at the time, and Alexandra's own attitude towards her illnesses.   From my reading, and I may be wrong here, the doctor seems to be blaming Alexandra's problem on some sort of mutation of the haemophilia gene in women, which is obviously a ridiculous claim, but Alexandra also seems to have resigned herself to the fact that she was ill and didn't want to hear anything against it.  Maybe if she had have had a less sympathetic doctor, he would have realised that her symptoms were more mental than physical??

I agree with Robert Massie, who, to paraphrase, said that today Alexandra's symptoms would be taken as being psychosomatic.  Her red blotches occurred when she was nervous, and she had chest and stomach pains, as well as neuralgia, which can all be explained by extreme mental anxiety, which can, in some cases, cause physical pain.  Hence why some of us (like me) get stomach aches before exams, interviews and the like.

Judging by the immense morbidity and the unhealthy attitude towards death and grief surrounding her upbringing, it is unsurprising that Alexandra became a rather gloomy and depressed adult.  The immense stress of being the wife of an Emperor and the mother of a child with a painful and life threatening disease that she blamed herself for giving him, as well as the worry of living in and being the Empress of a country that she didn't know very well and in which she was not liked, would be a recipe for mental anguish in anyone.  

From my own research on members of the British Royal Family, Alexandra's mother Alice also suffered from nervous symptoms and found it difficult to cope with the stresses and strains of every day life.  She too took to her bed at the first sign of trouble. Alexandra may have inherited this disposition to become easily stressed and anxious, and when your life is stressful anyway, having a personality where you find stress difficult to cope with is going to cause you to find it much harder to cope than normal people, and so maybe elicit physical symptoms of that worry.  I imagine that Alexandra must never have had a day free from worry; I am sure that Alexei's illness was never far from her mind and constantly having to worry about something so important is going to take its toll on your mind and your health, no matter how strong you are.

It is interesting that porphyria came up as a possible cause of her illnesses; it has never been proven that it ever existed in the British Royal family, and besides, Alexandra was ill with something almost permanently; porphyria tends to be a disease that causes intermittent attacks rather than chronic ones.  But I may be wrong; I'm no expert.

Just my opinion.  It's interesting to read opinions of so many other people who research the Romanovs actively.  I thought I was a bit of a freak until I discovered these boards!
'History teaches that history teaches us nothing' ~ Hegel

Offline David_Newell

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #463 on: November 11, 2005, 01:01:21 PM »
I have always believed the AF may have suffered from porphyria it fits all the symtoms she had. And there are different severities of the illness

Just a thought

David Newell, London

rskkiya

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Re: Alexandra and her Health
« Reply #464 on: November 12, 2005, 12:09:22 PM »
Quote

But IMHO, I believe that is was Alix's mental illness more than her physical ones that dictated her actions and therefore the results of those actions.  I believe that some of her physical problems were generated by her mental illness.

Five pregnancies would help her to "put on weight" and also cause great strain.  Did they not know at that time that the sex of the baby is determined by the father, not the mother?  She seems to take that burden on herself, so she may not have known.

How much post-partum depression did she suffer from and for how long?

I don't like to defend Alix, I have never been a fan and I have always seen her as a selfish whiner.  Like a horse with the bit between her teeth, she ran amok and trampled everyone and everything in her way that did not please her.

I could go on and on, but in deference to other posters, I will not.  Sorry. :-X :-X :-X

But one more thing.  I have always almost felt a sad brittleness radiating from her photos and letters.  A brittleness that is so close to shattering.  How long can someone hold on to reality when life keeps throwing things at you that are not only bad, but worse and worse?  As much I have always thought that she caused many of her own problems, there were just some that no one could have forseen or been ready for.


   The notion of post partum depression as well as any other mental/physical conditions is something that we will never be able to completely verify.
   People [women especially] were often kept shockingly ignorant of their own /mental conditions even into the 1930s. It's just possible that Alix didn't know [or didn't WANT to know] about her own condition.

Mr Newell,
I don't know if Alix suffered from Porphyria (sp). Its a good question, though. Maybe other posters would have some idea about this.

8)