From the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. From Theroigne de Mericourt, Fury of the Gironde, who descended from the bloody triumphs of the French Revolution to untameable insanity in La Salpetriere asylum, to Mary Lamb, sister of Charles, who in the throes of a nervous breakdown turned on her mother with a kitchen knife. From Freud and Jung to Lacan and the new women-centred therapies. This is the story of how we have understood extreme states of mind over the last two hundred years and how we conceive of them today, when more and more of our inner life and emotions have become a matter for medics and therapists. Here too is the story of the professions that have grown up to offer treatment, of how over the years symptoms and diagnoses have developed together to create fashions in illness and how treatments have succeeded orsometimes failed, even when those providing care were women too. MAD, BAD AND SAD takes us on a fascinating journey through the fragile, extraordinary human mind.