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Title:An Unquiet Mind
Written by:Kay Redfield Jamison
Read by:Kay Redfield Jamison
Genre:Nonfiction; Autobiography

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.

What the Critics Say
"From Kay Redfield Jamison - an international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American Universities - a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression, and how it shaped her life. With vivid prose and wit, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness - a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the 'melancholy star of the imagination,' and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death." (Amazon.com review)

Remember what I said a while back about authors reading their own work??? Well, I still feel the same way. Authors read; they don't narrate; there's a world of difference. While an interesting story, at times it comes across as plodding due to the narration. Oh, remember how with Devil in the Details, it seemed that she used humor to not make the illness sound so onerous? Well Jamison had no such compunction. There were points in the story where she made the fantastical manias seem too difficult to bear. If she employed any humor in her writing, it was lost due to her reading performance.

It was interesting to see how many similarities do exist between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder and the subtle differences. I think I understand the distinction a little bit better - at least, for what is my understanding and experience of Borderline. At one point, Jamison mentions she had to reconcile her concept of herself after a certain aspect of the illness emerged. I, as someone with Borderline, had little to reconcile - what I was then was my entire understanding of myself; what I am now is my entire understanding of myself; that I am different between now and then means very little, if, in fact, it is even noticed.

At certain points in the story, she almost harps on how she wouldn't be where she is now without the support of her friends and family. I don't know about other folks with Borderline, but I've gotten to where I am despite the lack of support - not that I've necessarily gotten far, but I'm still here. Maybe that's another distinction between Bipolar and Borderline - more folks accept Bipolar as a "real" illness, whereas folks with Borderline are believed to just "need to get over themselves," "grow up," or "pull themselves together."

But I digress.

Interesting story. Illuminating information about the illness. Might have enjoyed it more by reading the actual printed book.

11 / 75 books. 15% done!


( 2 pithy comments — Say something pithy! )
Feb. 1st, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
I had to read this book for a psychology class (along with Devil in the Details). She does not attempt to use humor to play off her illness. She reflects the illness in her writing. Some manic episodes can be fantastical, and in fact scary. Especially when accompanied by psychosis, as Kay's were.

Also, I am sorry to hear about your situation, I've worked with people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and I know that it isn't just something you can "get over," it's much more than that. And I am sorry that you don't have the support system that others have. However, it seems that you have a great amount of resilience. Some people aren't as lucky, and Kay may not have been able to get to where she was without the help of David and the other people in their lives. Just keep in mind that every one is different.

Also, there are many studies that have been conducted, and many that are still being conducted on the differences between BP and Borderline. Unfortunately I'm in the process of moving so I don't have the copies on me, but if you're interested I can give you the titles.
Feb. 1st, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'd love those titles when you unpack them again ;-)

( 2 pithy comments — Say something pithy! )



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