Isabella Macdonald's Health Takes a Turn for the Worse

1845-1857
Portrait of Isabella Clark by William Sawyer. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Portrait of Isabella Clark by William Sawyer. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

While Macdonald was away for weeks of time in Montreal (then the seat of parliament for the Province of Canada), Isabella began suffering from an illness that left her plagued with aches, pains and debilitating weakness. In time she was diagnosed with a somatization disorder, a condition whereby physical symptoms result from psychiatric conditions, including anxiety or depression. Eventually, Isabella began taking laudanum (a tincture of opium and alcohol) to numb the pain and developed an opium addiction.