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An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness Paperback – Jan 14 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (Jan. 14 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679763309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679763307
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

In Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist, turned a mirror on the creativity so often associated with mental illness. In this book she turns that mirror on herself. With breathtaking honesty she tells of her own manic depression, the bitter costs of her illness, and its paradoxical benefits: "There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness.... It will never end, for madness carves its own reality." This is one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character. "We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized," Jamison writes. "We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities." Jamison's ability to live fully within her limitations is an inspiration to her fellow mortals, whatever our particular burdens may be. --Mary Ellen Curtin

From Publishers Weekly

Jamison's memoir springs from her dual perspective as both a psychiatric expert in manic depression and a sufferer of the disease.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an alright book. I bought it after a few years of thinking that I probably have bipolar disorder. Kay Redfield Jamison's writing is clear, accurate and interesting, though I would not call it beautiful. The book was great about breaking down the specifics of the illness and after finishing I felt I had a better understanding of the illness, felt positive that I was bipolar, and ultimately felt I had a better understanding of why I feel certain ways at certain times.
My beef with the book is that she doesn't acknowledge how exceptional her access to resources is. Like when she talks about running up her bills too high (I also have this problem) she just has her brother loan her the money to fix it. When she feels really sick, she has the best psychologist/psychiatrists watching her round the clock. It really doesn't work like that for most people. I am a 22 year-old boy supporting myself totally in NYC. I am broke, have no health insurence and no family members who will financially support me. I'll be lucky to afford seeing a shrink and paying for my medication, while she, on the other hand, had people calling her, watching her, making sure she wouldn't cause herself harm. It almost seems at parts of the book as if treatment sought her, instead of the other way around. if only i should be so lucky. I find it funny that she doesn't bring up how different another patients struggle might be without the priviledges she's had. So, it was kind of frustrating.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book when it first was published. I had seen Kay Redfield Jamison interviewed on Larry King and became very interested in her as a person, more so than her condition. At the time I had a few minor problems.

It just totally amazed me that with her severe Bipolar I and absolutely crippling mania, she was able to excel in her studies to finally become Prof. of Psychiatry at John Hopkins. Another reviewer mentioned that working in that arena she had all the resources at hand. That's very true, but even so I'm still blown away that she excelled. Interesting to note that so many doctors of psychiatry suffer from this disorder too.

Years later when I developed more problems....NOTHING like Ms. Redfield Jamison though, I had forgotten I had the book and read it again. I gained even more insight into the highest phase of Bipolar.

Really great book for people with this disorder and for family or friends of people suffering. Actually, anyone can really get into this book.
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Format: Paperback
Kay Redfield Jamison's book, An Unquiet Mind, is a profoundly captivating and moving memoir of her life and career as both a clinical expert and lifetime sufferer of manic-depressive illness, or as it presently referred to as, Bipolar Disorder (BD). In a detailed and vivid account of her life before and after being diagnosed with BD, Jamison writes from the dual perspectives of clinician and client, providing readers with valuable insight into both the clinical nature and personal experience of living with BD. With great clarity and a rich vocabulary, Jamison addresses several important, and indeed controversial, issues regarding BD, such as the current classification of BD in the DSM; how BD should be treated; the seduction and allure of mania and how it relates to medication adherence; and whether clinicians with BD, or any other mental disorder, should be granted clinical privileges. An Unquiet Mind is a must read for anyone interested in or suffering from BD.

As someone who has seen firsthand the kaleidoscopic mood swings of BD and its destructive nature to the patient and their family, I can attest to the importance of BD patients taking their medication. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to avoiding relapse in BD, or any other mental disorder for that matter, is medication adherence. Forgetting to take one's medication is not so much the problem as believing that one no longer needs to take it. After a couple months of taking medication and an absence of mood swings, many people with BD, Jamison included, feel as though they no longer need to be on medication and consequently discontinue it.
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Format: Paperback
Although I am not bipolar, when I heard Kay Redfield Jamison talk
a few years ago about her situation as a medical resident with
bipolar at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, which became the
basis for her book, "An Unquiet Mind," I felt an unexpected
connection. Prior to Dr. Jamison's book, I had never read
anything that described what it is like to have a mental
condition from the patient's point of view written by the
patient. Here we have embodied in the same person a psychiatric
doctor who knew the physiology, the various drugs and treatment,
etc, OF the condition WITH the condition. Primarily her memoir is
that of the patient, coming to grips with what is happening to
her, at times fighting so hard to maintain contact with her
sanity, at other times losing her grip, losing all control.
Periodically DR. Jamison drops in to clarify things for us.
She is very honest about the torment of the condition, the
ramifications it was having on her life, and her fear of what
its revelation might mean to her career; and she also tells us
about some of the progress they have made in treating this
condition. Dr. Jamison is truly courageous in giving this book,
her story, to us and in doing so she offers us hope that "our"
conditions will eventually find their proper treatment. For years
on and off, I have persued treatment with little success. But
because of Dr. Jamison's truthfulness and her successful
treatment at UCLA/NPI, I decided to go to UCLA/NPI too, come to
terms with my condition as a medical condition (like diabetes or
any other long term illness) and see if there was any treatment
that I was not not aware of that could help me.
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