The allure of mania can be utterly spellbinding, like the solo voyage to Saturn that Kay Redfield Jamison vividly recalls taking in her mind many years ago. She knows she was experiencing a psychotic episode. Nonetheless, it was beautiful, and the memory is real. Jamison revolutionized her field when she stepped forward to publicly share her personal struggles with bipolar disorder in her book, An Unquiet Mind. During her Colorado visit, Jamison shared passages from her book and highlighted the need for medical providers to understand why their patients might refuse to take medication. Some love feeling manic until their insanity spins out of control and they sink, as Jamison did, into devastating, suicidal depressions.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The personal memoir of a manic depressive and an authority on the subject describes the onset of the illness during her teenage years and her determined journey through the realm of available treatments.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published October by Vintage first published September 18th More Details Original Title. Kay Redfield Jamison. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about An Unquiet Mind , please sign up. I've been wanting to read some more on other peoples experience's with mental illness. Nice to be able to relate to others who have similar illnesses.
Haven't read this specific book yet, but just finished 'Girl Interrupted' by Susanna Kaysen - I recommend! See 2 questions about An Unquiet Mind…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 05, stephanie rated it it was amazing Shelves: crazypeoplememoirs , absolutely-must-read , good-more-than-once , psychology , would-rec. View all 19 comments.
Aug 27, Lizzy rated it really liked it Shelves: biography-memoirs , nonfiction , stars-4 , read-years-ago. Kay Redfield Jamison herself endured the dangerous highs of euphoria mixed with the lows of depression. Her professional success as a clinical psychologist coupled with her forthright story helps to diminish the stigma of this serious mental illness that affect many. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones.
Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one's marrow. But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity.
Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against-- you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind.
You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality. Highly recommended! View all 11 comments. May 03, Jessica rated it liked it Recommends it for: recently dxed bookish types. Shelves: social-work-or-relevant , chicklits , crazy-ladies , happyendings. A lot of people seem to have a negative reaction to this book, which I totally get. I didn't find Jamison a particularly likable person, and this wasn't great literature, though it did go down fast and smooth.
Be that as it may, I've strongly recommended An Unquiet Mind several times, and I can't judge it by the normal standards that I apply to most books. I see An Unquiet Mind as performing a specific and vital function, at which I think it succeeds extremely well: that is, Jamison's memoir does A lot of people seem to have a negative reaction to this book, which I totally get. I see An Unquiet Mind as performing a specific and vital function, at which I think it succeeds extremely well: that is, Jamison's memoir does a spectacular job of demonstrating that a severe mental illness can and does affect intelligent, high-functioning people who periodically struggle with symptoms but are able to manage their illness and live full, meaningful lives; and more uniquely and importantly, I think b An Unquiet Mind does an AMAZING job of demonstrating how powerful one's lack of true insight into one's mental illness can be.
Jamison is a psychologist , and it's just incredible to hear her describe how her vast stores of knowledge about psychiatric symptoms, and about her own illness, were useless against her mind's conviction that she's fine, and not symptomatic, and doesn't need medication. It's just such a great illustration of how intelligence and knowledge aren't assets at all -- and might even be liabilities -- when it comes to understanding and accepting one's own psychiatric disorder.
As a social worker, I work with people who are diagnosed with severe mental illness -- mostly schizophrenia, but also many with severe bipolar disorder.
The vast majority of my clients have little in common with the relatively wealthy, privileged Jamison aside from a diagnosis, and I doubt most would relate much to her story, but on occasion I try to force one of them to read this book. An Unquiet Mind is good medicine for literate, intelligent people who would be successful in maintaining jobs and relationships if they could manage their symptoms, who fear that their diagnosis is a death sentence for their chances at a "normal life.
Actually, a lot of the most annoying and boring parts of this book -- e. Being diagnosed with a psychotic disorder is terrifying and can be very dehumanizing. People are often scared that they'll never be able to have romantic relationships, that they won't be able to work, that their brains will never function properly.
People in that position need reassurance that being mentally ill doesn't mean you're unattractive or stupid or doomed to become some pathetic and useless zombified shuffler.
I'd recommend this book to people who could relate somewhat to the author, who need to know that they can recover from mental illness. I'm glad that Kate Jamison wrote it, because even if it's flawed as a book, An Unquiet Mind succeeds in providing a crucial sense of the reality of that hope. View all 16 comments. She is a brilliant mind, an academic and health care professional and absolute authority on this subject; she lives and breathes the disease but is able to treat her patients with complete and utter understanding and of course, empathy.
She has ridden the extreme mania highs and suffered the almost deadly depressions and tells her story with eloquence, humour and authority. I need both. Would love to meet her in real life. I work in an academic library therefore I have unlimited access to her work. Fancy a 1kg text book anyone?!
Unfortunately, I will never get through all her work. This one does fascinate me though: Robert Lowell : setting the river on fire a study of genius, mania, and character. I may get to this soon. Normal people are not always boring. On the contrary. Volatility and passion, although often more romantic and enticing, are not intrinsically preferable to a steadiness of experience and feeling about another person nor are they incompatible.
View all 17 comments. Feb 02, Belinda rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , kindle. As I go back through blog posts, Twitter feeds, book reviews, etc. It was all about someone else. And really, in this book, that's how Jamison seems to think it should be. I just had the opportunity to re-read this book when it was offered on the Kindle, and I was surprised.
I seemed to remember it as being immensely insightful the first time I read it, but consider that that was immediately after my husband's initial bipolar 1 diagnosis. This was the first book everyone was recommending back then.
Now, several years of living with a bipolar spouse later, I read it and think, "Meh. It seems to have been written more FOR herself than about herself, if that makes sense--it reads as very personal and cathartic. Is it helpful for others, though? I'm not so sure. There are some wonderful passages in which she borrows from images in poetry and literature, and those, for me, make the book worth reading.
If my husband had access to the level of care that Jamison has enjoyed throughout her life, he'd probably be doing much better. Heck, I'd like to get in on some of that, myself.
An Unquiet Mind Reader’s Guide
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
T he cultural and medical shift that changed the meaningfully descriptive term "manic depression" into the quasi-mechanistic "bipolar disorder" did nothing to make our understanding of mental illness more precise. Is depression really "unipolar" while manic depression is "bipolar"? Such classifications presuppose, she writes, "a distinction between depression and manic-depressive illness — both clinically and etiologically — that is not always clear, or supported by science". Jamison, writing in the mids, says she felt personally affronted by the term "bipolar". She was not afraid of admitting that she herself suffered episodes of "madness" — nor did she feel the need to be de-stigmatised by politically correct terminology. A psychiatrist who has suffered from the illness for most of her life, she prefers the term manic depression because it is both more expressive of her experience and, ultimately, more clinically accurate. Jamison's condition has been about as severe as is possible in someone still capable of holding down a senior medical position currently professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University in Baltimore.
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison – review
Narrated in the first person, the book shows the effect of manic-depressive illness in family and romantic relationships, professional life, and self-awareness, and highlights both the detrimental effects of the illness and the few positive ones. The book was originally published in hardcover by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Jamison describes her childhood and early life as part of a military family and the effects that had on her life, including a very conservative upbringing and the need to make new friends after every relocation. She recalls having a very happy childhood, and a supportive family. Her father was creative and charismatic and her mother kind and yet resourceful.
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