Author Topic: Depression/Melancholy/Nervous breakdown during WWI  (Read 98270 times)

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Offline CayteGrL911

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Depression/Melancholy/Nervous breakdown during WWI
« on: April 18, 2004, 10:54:16 PM »
From what I have read/seen in Romanov Documentaries, Olga N. seems to have always been sad in her later years. It seems to me that she may have had some form of depression. What do you guys think?

Offline Katia

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2004, 11:48:43 PM »
Yes, it seems to me that she suffered of depression, especially during the imprisonment in Tobolsk and Yekaterinburg - who wouldn't? But there are some photographs from spring of 1917 when they were still at "house arrest" in Tsarskoye Selo and she seems to be smiling and quite relaxed in some of them.

Olga was perhaps the cleverest of the children. She read a great deal and was aware of the problems of her parents during the war. She knew there was a lot of hatred towards tsar and tsarina, and she suffered with them. The other girls and Alexei were younger than Olga and perhaps by nature not so much interested in politics. The family friends have written that Olga could be merriest of the merry, she liked jokes and had a sense of humour. But at the same time she was moody, easily irritated and melancholy. She surely had an interesting and deep personality!

Offline Olga

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2004, 03:44:08 AM »
ditto Katia, plus it seems Olga Nikolaevna suffered some sort of trauma on the ship Russia from Tobolsk on the way to Yekaterinburg. this was talked about in Fate of the Romanovs. maybe Greg and Penny will have more to say...........

Offline Arleen

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2004, 01:56:49 PM »
Besides everything that happened to Olga, I think she might have taken after Alexandra who I think was very depressed most of her life, may have even been born that way.  Some one had to get those genes.         ..Arleen

Offline nerdycool

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2004, 02:40:03 PM »
It may not be the genes, but maybe just the fact that she knew what was going on and there wasn't a whole lot she could do about it. From what I understand, her whole immediate family was blind (or unknowing) to the fact that they were in danger (during the war, and before their imprisonment), except for Olga. I know that would worry me endlessly, and along with the fact that there was really no one else to talk to about it, that would cause even greater distress. But then again, it could be the genes as well as other variables.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by nerdycool »

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2004, 04:40:10 PM »
She certainly had cause, didn't she?!

Possibly there was some inherited melancholia.  But overall she was simply a very sensitive individual.  Unlike her mother and Tatiana, she hadn't the stomach for being a nurse.  And she also seems to have been an idealistic person who was in the habit of confronting reality. (That's lethal in itself!)  Add to that some unrequited romances, plus all that was going on, plus whatever happened on the boat going from Toblosk to Ekaterinberg--which apparently did not have the same effect on Tatiana and Anastasia. Remember also that she had held on to a gun. Who else had the moxie to do that?

Olga had a sense of humor, to be sure. At one point during her imprisonment, she made a joke in a letter to one of her former professors about writing in red ink, to reflect the times! But despite her religious convictions, she was enough of an independent thinker to have figured out the situation earlier and more completely than did her siblings.

Offline JM

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2004, 04:51:04 PM »
I think Olga was shy compared to the other girls. She seemed smart and I believe she must have been a deep thinker as well. She seemed able to understand people and situations very well. However she was also sensitive. The combination of being sensitive as well as being intuitive must have been hard for her. Perhaps that is why she seemed "depressed." However, I don't believe that she actually suffered from depression.

Offline CayteGrL911

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2004, 05:05:56 PM »
After reading all of your responsies, I've realized somthing that I knew all along. Olga is CoMpLiCaTeD! She had a very different personality. As I read what you all wrote, I must wonder if Olga could have been more bipolor instead of having depression. She does seem happy in pictures, but she can also seem very upset. She very well could have been bipolar...

.::Cayte::.

Offline JM

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2004, 05:19:55 PM »
I highly doubt it. We all have our ups and downs. It's what makes us human (I think). If she truly was bipolar im sure that someone would have taken notice. From a historical perspective she seems pretty normal to me :-/.

Offline Almedingen

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2004, 09:18:32 AM »
I remember reading somewhere that Olga had some sort of a nerous breakdown during the time she was working at the hospital.  I always wondered how this was known about.  What is mentioned in letters, diaries, stories from servants?  

Also, I always wondered what type of behavior she had during it.  Was she unable to get out of bed, were there strong emotional displays, did she lose her temper while working at the hospital, etc.?

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2004, 11:20:04 AM »
It's difficult to know what really happened, and also not to impose our 21st century sensibilities on the matter.

I, too, have read that she suffered a breakdown of sorts while working alongside her mother and sister in the hospital, and that she was found in a linen closet vomiting into a towel. Given the disturbing situations that would be part of hospital work, plus Olga's particularly sensitive nature, this almost sounds predictable.  From what I remember reading, after that episode she was given a desk job.

Her mother writes about Olga's "sulks" and so forth.  I rather think it was a combination of Olga's age (and being expected to be both a role model to her siblings, plus a longterm "child" to her mother), personality, the ongoing situation of war, the absence of her father, the omnipresence of her mother, and some thwarted romances.  Good golly, who among us would not be moody and depressed if we had to deal with all of that!

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2004, 01:03:12 PM »
If you look on the site you'll see how Olga smashed out the glass windows of the Chinese Bridge (with an umbrella I think) - repressed anger or frustration?

Alix had her girls - and even Aleksey -  work as nurses in the most horrible circumstances.  They all saw terrible things which must have shocked them; including amputations, maggot-infested wounds and deaths.  This didn't just happen a few times but went on for months.  While it looks like Maria and Anastasia were able to escape the worst part of this Olga and Tatiana didn't and found themselves day after day in a charnel house of death.  It would have been natural if Olga, through her sense of duty would have tried to do the job her mother had urged upon her.

Olga was very religious and spent a lot of time in the Feodorovski Sobor by herself.  She must have been tortured by what she had seen and experienced.  The terrible rumours about her parents and the hatred of people for them must have upset her as well.  When Rasputin was killed all of the girls knew that they had been aiming for their mother and it had come from their own family.

I really don't understand Alix's reasoning for thrusting her girls and Aleksey into the horrors of the war the way she did...

Bob




Offline Louise

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2004, 02:52:20 PM »
Bob, could you please tell me where to find the picture of the broken windows?

I can't remember what book I read it in, but there was a pic of Olga and the caption read something along the lines that she looked pensive, and troubled. The picture was taken about 1915 or so. The book was a fairly large size book with lots of pictures of the Imperial Family. Anyway, The caption went on to say that maybe she was aware of the problems surrounding her family, the disaster of the war, her brother, etc. The possibilty of depression would be there.

Who can tell why the Empress made her children work in such a horrific enviroment. A sense of duty maybe? Instilling in the young girls and Alixei that as the leading family of Russia it was their duty to assist those less fortunate, and to set an example for the rest of the autocracy to do their part for the soldiers.

What maybe considered barbaric conditions for young people today may not be thought of  that way back then?

That said, I can see how that enviroment would affect anyone.

Louise
The sign of a sick mind is studying for a final exam and thinking it's the

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2004, 03:31:42 PM »
Louise, thank you for asking that!  I've been trying to find the broken windows of the Chinese Bridge since Bob made that post!   :o

Several photos of Olga and her family during their imprisonment show her sitting apart from them.  I don't think this is entirely coincidence.

As for Alexandra's attitude of exposing her daughters to a less-than-perfect world, I think this was all part of her moral code.  She didn't want her daughters to be spoiled, and she may have overdone it at times, but I don't think we'd remember the Grand Duchesses as fondly today if we weren't aware of their own relatively uncosseted and very natural personalities.  

Offline BeenaBobba

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Re: Did Olga have Depression?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2004, 10:47:11 AM »
Quote
I, too, have read that she suffered a breakdown of sorts while working alongside her mother and sister in the hospital, and that she was found in a linen closet vomiting into a towel. Given the disturbing situations that would be part of hospital work, plus Olga's particularly sensitive nature, this almost sounds predictable.  From what I remember reading, after that episode she was given a desk job.



Hi Janet,

Where'd you read that?  

God bless,

Jen