chapter  3
35 Pages

A far cry from a no thing

Commentaries on secondary amenorrhea
WithDanielle Redland

The hypothesis that threads through this chapter, is that secondary amenorrhea is often connected with psychological, psychic conflict. We will look at the ways in which it can be studied not just in terms of concrete, biological, genetic and endocrine facts but by reading and interpreting it as that which can transcend beyond the parameters of medicine and the conscious thoughts applied to it. The psyche and the unconscious phantasy life of patients who present with secondary amenorrhea can traverse space and time even though the physical being and the body, as science would have us understand it, appear to be telling a different story. It can be interpreted as a condition deployed by the unconscious to keep the subject in an illusionary state of balance and order. This safeguards from the dread of psychic fragmentation.

Secondary amenorrhea is linked to war and exile, starvation, trauma, stress, abuse, neglect, psychogenic disturbances and eating disorders. It is notable in cases of phantasy pregnancies and cases of hysteria and it is central to the early works of Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet. Contemporary studies continue to show it as a marker of trauma, a repudiation of womanhood and a defence against adulthood. It represents a never-ending beginning.