An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

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....

Title:An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0679763309
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:223 pages

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness Reviews

  • stephanie
    Jul 05, 2007

    i was reading some reviews of the book written by people that disliked this.

    i just want to say, that for a person suffering from mental illness, the fact that you know jamieson's full CV and her academic struggles

    important. it's more of a - look, she was wildly successful, and dealing with this illness, and she finally came to terms with it, and now she's okay - and still wildly successful.

    i also want to say how brave it was for her to write this under her own name. it does a lot to irradi

    i was reading some reviews of the book written by people that disliked this.

    i just want to say, that for a person suffering from mental illness, the fact that you know jamieson's full CV and her academic struggles

    important. it's more of a - look, she was wildly successful, and dealing with this illness, and she finally came to terms with it, and now she's okay - and still wildly successful.

    i also want to say how brave it was for her to write this under her own name. it does a lot to irradicate the stigma against mental illness, and no doubt she met people in academia who had read her book but never met her, and formed opinions that might be less than true. she really kind of put herself on the line for this, and i have to respect that.

    those things aside, this book came to me at a very important time in my life. (hence i remember the date i read it so well.) it was recommended by a psychiatrist i really respect, and. i'll admit, i was in the depths of a serious depressive episode, so perhaps it meant more to me then, but the book gave me hope. because i want a professional career, i want to be well respected in my field - and jamieson proved that it was possible. that you could recover from the depths and haul yourself out.

    she doesn't paint herself as a victim either, which was my main problem with

    . she has this illness, and she finds she can't ignore it any longer. she doesn't blame biology or bad family situations - she just realizes that if she wants her life, she's going to have to make some changes. she writes academically, but accessibly, and she doesn't take the easy way out.

    i've read everything she's written, but this is perhaps my favorite. becuse it shows that you can be honest about your mental health, and still be okay. it's written beautifully, and i go back to it time and again when i'm feeling down - even though i am not bipolar - and again, i think that speaks to the strengths of this memoir.

  • أروى
    Jul 08, 2008

    لا تستطيع أن تنأى بنفسك بعيداً عن نفسك وأنت تقرأ هذا الكتاب البديع..

    تشعر لوهلة أنك ضعت في متاهات نفس إنسانية شديدة التعقيد..

    الكاتبة طبيبة نفسية مشهورة ومريضة نفسية مصابة بذهان الهوس الإكتئابي وكاتبة ومولعة بكل فنون الأدب والموسيقى...

    أي مزيج غريب سينشأ عن عقل كهذا، تتجول في متاهاته..تعرف كيف كان يشعر وبماذا يفكر..

    وتظن أنها في لمحات خاطفة قد تحدثت عنك وعن نفسك المخبوءة في أعمق نقطة..

    حكت الكاتبة معاناتها..طفولتها التي تبدو معقولة ومتميزة..متى وكيف بدأ مرضها..أيام هوسها ثم ظلمات اكتئابها..

    حكت كيف يم

    لا تستطيع أن تنأى بنفسك بعيداً عن نفسك وأنت تقرأ هذا الكتاب البديع..

    تشعر لوهلة أنك ضعت في متاهات نفس إنسانية شديدة التعقيد..

    الكاتبة طبيبة نفسية مشهورة ومريضة نفسية مصابة بذهان الهوس الإكتئابي وكاتبة ومولعة بكل فنون الأدب والموسيقى...

    أي مزيج غريب سينشأ عن عقل كهذا، تتجول في متاهاته..تعرف كيف كان يشعر وبماذا يفكر..

    وتظن أنها في لمحات خاطفة قد تحدثت عنك وعن نفسك المخبوءة في أعمق نقطة..

    حكت الكاتبة معاناتها..طفولتها التي تبدو معقولة ومتميزة..متى وكيف بدأ مرضها..أيام هوسها ثم ظلمات اكتئابها..

    حكت كيف يمكن أن يكون الحب والتفهم داعماً..والفن والأدب مساحة للهروب..ومدى إشكالية أن يكون الطبيب النفسي مريضاً نفسياً..

    أثر الأمكنة والمدن في تشكيل مزاجها

    شغفها بالبحوث العلمية

    وفي ذات الوقت ولعها بكل ما يتعلق بالأدب واللغة..

    تحدثت كثيراً عن أشهر المبدعين والكتاب العالميين وإصابتهم بهذا المرض ثنائي القطب،

    كانت تقول أن الإبداع به خطفات من جنون..

    قدمت شروحات إكلينيكية عن المرض ، كل ذلك ضمن الأجواء الأكاديمية الصارمة التي كانت تعيشها..

    المترجم الكاتب حمد العيسى كان متمكناً جداً..

    أورد كثيراً من الهوامش التي تشرح المصطلحات الطبية والمكانية والأدبية وبذل مجهوداً يشكر عليه في الترجمة

    كما قدمت للكتاب الكاتبة أمل زاهد..

    وتم عمل حفل تدشين للكتاب في المنطقة الشرقية.

    وقد قرأت عنه قبلاً في موقع العربية

    أعجبني هذا الإحتفاء بكتاب..يستحق

    أعجبني جداً:)

  • Belinda
    Feb 02, 2009

    Just ran across this review of "An Unquiet Mind" that I wrote a couple of years ago (January 2009). As I go back through blog posts, Twitter feeds, book reviews, etc., it amazes me how difficult a time *I* was having... and how I was paying NO attention to that whatsoever. 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 rememb

    Just ran across this review of "An Unquiet Mind" that I wrote a couple of years ago (January 2009). As I go back through blog posts, Twitter feeds, book reviews, etc., it amazes me how difficult a time *I* was having... and how I was paying NO attention to that whatsoever. 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." I have tremendous respect for Jamison as a leader in this field of study, but I can't figure out what she was going for in this memoir. 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. But I don't get much of a sense of hope for those dealing with manic-depressive illness, because Jamison's resources were/are simply out of the reach of most of us.

    If my husband had access to the level of care that Jamison has enjoyed throughout her life, he'd probably be doing much better. Who WOULDN'T thrive with near-daily psychiatric attention and round-the-clock home care (which, just by the way, is provided by friends/family/lovers, most of whom happen to be practicing psychiatrists)? Heck, I'd like to get in on some of that, myself. As it is, we receive financial assistance from our physicians, to lower our co-pay, so that he can see a therapist (not an MD, but a psychologist) once a week, and even that's a burden. Then there's couples therapy, because this disease puts a mighty strain on a marriage.

    As someone in the "caretaker" role, to use Jamison's own terminology, I found the message of the memoir a bit burdensome. Yes, she shows great appreciation for her loved ones and their unflagging support. She also puts ENORMOUS weight on that support as being the key to her success. That only reads as a compliment the first few times, then it becomes a sledge-hammer of obligation and guilt.

    I don't know--I'm conflicted this time around. It's a bit of "thank you for being there," and a bit of "but for you, I'd be dead." That's a lot of pressure, gratitude or no.

  • Jessica
    May 03, 2009

    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

    several times, and I can't judge it by the normal standards that I apply to most books. I see

    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 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

    several times, and I can't judge it by the normal standards that I apply to most books. I see

    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)

    does an AMAZING job of demonstrating how powerful one's lack of true insight into one's mental illness can be. Jamison is a

    , 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.

    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." I think Jamison does an excellent job of showing how this struggle to live with a severe mental illness plays out, and of getting across how difficult it is to accept the realities and limitations of one's disease in the interest of reclaiming the sense of self and real life that disease has jeopardized.

    Actually, a lot of the most annoying and boring parts of this book -- e.g., Jamison's emphasis on her tiresome love affairs and her tic of constantly reminding us how great she is -- are much of what I want certain of my clients to read. 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,

    succeeds in providing a crucial sense of the reality of that hope.

  • rachel  misfiticus
    Mar 09, 2011

    So far... about half way done...

    1 star for her vanity and pretension

    5 stars because of the taxidermic fox

    3 stars being a calculated average

    **UPDATE**

    Perhaps I have been corrupted by the reviews I read before finishing this book; however, I am still trying to wash Kay Redfield Jamison’s self-haughtiness out of my mind. I think that the first chapter and the last chapter are the only ones with any weight. Chapter one is about Jamison’s childhood and more specifically, her manic father. The second

    So far... about half way done...

    1 star for her vanity and pretension

    5 stars because of the taxidermic fox

    3 stars being a calculated average

    **UPDATE**

    Perhaps I have been corrupted by the reviews I read before finishing this book; however, I am still trying to wash Kay Redfield Jamison’s self-haughtiness out of my mind. I think that the first chapter and the last chapter are the only ones with any weight. Chapter one is about Jamison’s childhood and more specifically, her manic father. The second chapter is suddenly more academic and speaks about the semantics of the disease – manic depression vs. bipolar disorder – and the choice to use certain words which may be construed as offensive: madness. The rest of the book can be recycled. I chose “An Unquiet Mind” because I was hoping for a candid account of moods from someone who studies them – not an embellished CV/personal ad.

    Here is a sum up of the book:

    SWF with mood disorder seeks tall, charming, handsome man for lots of passionate lovemaking; must be compassionate, understanding, and artistic.

    I write little anecdotes revolving around my manic episodes. Aren’t I charming?

    I use lots of adjectives, such as black and bleak, to describe my depression.

    My family and friends support me and love me. My sister deals with manic depression as well, but she does not support me and she is against Lithium – she is such a bitch and I don’t talk to her anymore. Have I mentioned I am spectacular?!

    Lithium! Take it or you will die!

    Insert Byron, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William James quote. I listen to Schubert and Mozart. I like art!

    For a book that is praised for its candor, Jamison did not seem very genuine or candid. Her first marriage, for example, ended in perceivable heartbreak when she left her husband on impulse. Instead of delving into her relationships that were injured by her bipolar disorder, she glosses over them. She explains that she and her first husband are still friends – no hard feelings – and leaves it at that. But (oh!) the pages she spends on her perfect, sexualized, relationships. Jamison is redundant and self-centered.

    I wanted to like this book, but it fell so far from my expectations. I recognize that manic episodes and depressive states are not the same for everyone, but there was something dubious about Jamison’s account. I am curious about what her peers thought of her incessant self-grandiosity. I would agree that it takes courage to share such personal experiences with others, but do it right. Manic depression alienates. Jamison glorifies and romanticizes her disorder, calling it madness and relating her mania to flying around Saturn and dancing in the rain. Mania can lead to adventures and funny stories, but it also can incur humility and regret. Likewise, debilitating depression can cause one to miss out on positive opportunities.

  • Huda Yahya
    Oct 25, 2012

  • طَيْف
    Nov 29, 2012
  • Lizzy
    Aug 27, 2016

    is an honest and profoundly dramatic memoir that reveals the challenges and sufferings faced by people that suffer from bipolar disorder.

    herself endured the dangerous highs of euphoria mixed with the lows of depression. Her professional success as a clinical psychologist coupled with h

    is an honest and profoundly dramatic memoir that reveals the challenges and sufferings faced by people that suffer from bipolar disorder.

    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.

    Insightful, poignant and thoroughly revealing. Highly recommended!


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