Kay Redfield Jamison




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Kay Redfield Jamison

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Kay Redfield Jamison (born June 22, 1946) is an American clinical psychologist and writer who is one of the foremost experts on bipolar disorder. She is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is an Honorary Professor of English at the University of St Andrews.

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Kay Redfield Jamison Cait, Thank you for your question. This is my first time writing on Goodreads so it is a bit of an adventure. I didn’t have any idea what the reaction…moreCait, Thank you for your question. This is my first time writing on Goodreads so it is a bit of an adventure. I didn’t have any idea what the reaction to An Unquiet Mind would be; I was quite anxious about personal and professional repercussions and was doubly delighted, then, that people wrote that it had hit a chord with them. Bipolar disorder is common but not talked about as much as it should be. It is awful to feel that one is alone with it.(less)
Kay Redfield Jamison Bryan, Robert Lowell in many ways was not at all typical of people with mental illness—he was a great poet, by definition extremely unusual, and he…moreBryan, Robert Lowell in many ways was not at all typical of people with mental illness—he was a great poet, by definition extremely unusual, and he came from a privileged background that allowed him access to unusually good psychiatric treatment. But he knew the suffering that comes with severe depression and mania, perhaps even more so than most because he had a particularly virulent form of manic-depression / bipolar disorder (he was hospitalized for his illness nearly twenty times). His poetry and other writing is remarkably powerful in capturing not only what mania and depression are like to experience, but the pain associated with them. He was also deeply courageous in dealing with his mental illness, which I write about this extensively in “Robert Lowell : Setting the River on Fire”.
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“Others imply that they know what it is like to be depressed because they have gone through a divorce, lost a job, or broken up with someone. But these experiences carry with them feelings. Depression, instead, is flat, hollow, and unendurable. It is also tiresome. People cannot abide being around you when you are depressed. They might think that they ought to, and they might even try, but you know and they know that you are tedious beyond belief: you are irritable and paranoid and humorless and lifeless and critical and demanding and no reassurance is ever enough. You're frightened, and you're frightening, and you're "not at all like yourself but will be soon," but you know you won't.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

“If I can't feel, if I can't move, if I can't think, and I can't care, then what conceivable point is there in living?”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. 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.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

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