An Unquiet Mind

I just finished Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. This eloquent, captivating, and informative book provides an intimate account of her life with manic depression, including her work as a doctor and a researcher of mental illnesses.

At times the book is lyrical and poetic, both when providing rich accounts of specific experiences and relating broad syntheses of what it all means and how it should be judged in the end. Particularly in the detailed descriptions of coming out about her illness to colleagues and romantic partners, Jamison also gives the reader some practical lessons about how to make such disclosures, as well as how and how not to receive them.

I would expect the text to be valuable for sufferers of manic depression / bipolar disorder, as well as for people who know sufferers and wish to better understand the experience.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “An Unquiet Mind

  1. It was recommended to me by a friend who studied psychology a few years back and I found it interesting. It would never have occureed to me that being manic would lead to spending lots of money, nor to doing more academic research on a weird array of things (hyraxes? really?), but her narrative makes those sort of consequences seem unsurprising. I think she teases a little by not expanding on the tale of the borrowed elephant killed by LSD during a colleague’s study (I appreciate this isn’t central to her story, but still…) and the academic in me wanted an addendum with information about the papers that came out of her work and the reaction by her peers, but overall I think it’s a great book.

  2. I have limited confidence in the authors of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

    I am also confident I have experienced:

    * A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week

    * increased self-esteem or grandiosity

    * more talkative than usual

    * flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing

    * distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)

    * increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually)

    * excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences

  3. Suzy Favor Hamilton on her life with bipolar disorder

    A key part of what makes CBC’s The Current so worthwhile to listen to is the interviewing ability of Anna Maria Tremonti, who manages to be appropriately skeptical and demanding with public figures but who can also demonstrate remarkable insight and compassion when interviewing people with difficult stories to tell.

    Her recent segment with bipolar ex-Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton is an excellent example of what I mean: Olympian-turned-Vegas escort Suzy Favor Hamilton shares her story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *