An early settler in sickness and in health


  • Garry Sheehan

GarrySheehan Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst


Objective: This paper is an examination of an early Australian settler’s states of mind in episodes of psychosis and some issues from her life which may have contributed to the psychoses.

Method: Hospital records of her psychoses and her diary entries in the months surrounding the onset of illness were investigated from a psychoanalytic perspective, and inferences about her underlying personality are drawn from a recent publication about her diaries.

Results: An historical interpretation of her life and states of mind based on the documents is presented.

Conclusions: Failure to resolve psychic conflict led to restrictions in how she and her family lived, and left her susceptible to decompensation.