Mental Health has come a long way since ages past. As we strive to understand the complex mind we sometimes find even more questions. Our ancestors came up with many theory’s to try and understand what was happening. Demons and spirits were often blamed. We laugh at such notions but the scary truth is that some still follow such beliefs. Allow yourself a moment to look back on history and see one example of what what we would call silly but in times past was thought very real.

The wondering uterus was a theory that the womb of a woman was alive. An animal within an animal that would move out of place and cause many ills to a woman. In ancent Greece Hippocrates, of the famed Hippocratic oath, taught the theory of the wondering womb. Another Greek physician wrote.

“IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLANKS OF WOMEN LIES THE WOMB, A FEMALE VISCUS, CLOSELY RESEMBLING AN ANIMAL; FOR IT IS MOVED OF ITSELF HITHER AND THITHER IN THE FLANKS, ALSO UPWARDS IN A DIRECT LINE TO BELOW THE CARTILAGE OF THE THORAX, AND ALSO OBLIQUELY TO THE RIGHT OR TO THE LEFT, EITHER TO THE LIVER OR THE SPLEEN, AND IT LIKEWISE IS SUBJECT TO PROLAPSUS DOWNWARDS, AND IN A WORD, IT IS ALTOGETHER ERRATIC. IT DELIGHTS ALSO IN FRAGRANT SMELLS, AND ADVANCES TOWARDS THEM; AND IT HAS AN AVERSION TO FETID SMELLS, AND FLEES FROM THEM; AND, ON THE WHOLE, THE WOMB IS LIKE AN ANIMAL WITHIN AN ANIMAL”

This belief persisted in European academic medicine for centuries. Often claiming it was the cause for Female Hysteria, an outdated diagnosis that was still used up to the late nineteenth century. Defining itself as unmanageable emotional excesses.

 

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