Though his 18-year-old patient Ida Bauer was “in the first bloom of youth,” Sigmund Freud wrote in 1905, she had come to him suffering from coughing fits and episodes of speechlessness. She’d become depressed and withdrawn, even hinting at suicide. During one session, as he tried to help her uncover the source of her sickness, Freud observed Bauer toying with a small handbag. Interpreting the act as an expression of repressed desire, Freud concluded, “No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.”
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