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An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
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An Unquiet Mind Quotes (showing 1-30 of 121)
“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
“I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been midly manic. When I am my present "normal" self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In sort, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“No amount of love can cure madness or unblacken one's dark moods. Love can help, it can make the pain more tolerable, but, always, one is beholden to medication that may or may not always work and may or may not be bearable”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“We all build internal sea walls to keep at bay the sadnesses of life and the often overwhelming forces within our minds. In whatever way we do this--through love, work, family, faith, friends, denial, alcohol, drugs, or medication, we build these walls, stone by stone, over a lifetime. ”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Manic-depression distorts moods and thoughts, incites dreadful behaviors, destroys the basis of rational thought, and too often erodes the desire and will to live. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it, an illness that is unique in conferring advantage and pleasure, yet one that brings in its wake almost unendurable suffering and, not infrequently, suicide.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Mother, who has an absolute belief that it is not the cards that one is dealt in life, it is how one plays them, is, by far, the highest card I was dealt.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“I am tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“But money spent while manic doesn't fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you're given excellent reason to be even more so.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Love, like life, is much stranger and far more complicated than one is brought up to believe.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
tags: love
“No pill can help me deal with the problem of not wanting to take pills; likewise, no amount of psychotherapy alone can prevent my manias and depressions. I need both. It is an odd thing, owing life to pills, one's own quirks and tenacities, and this unique, strange, and ultimately profound relationship called psychotherapy”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“I look back over my shoulder and feel the presence of an intense young girl and then a volatile and disturbed young woman, both with high dreams and restless, romantic aspirations”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“When I am high I couldn’t worry about money if I tried. So I don’t. The money will come from somewhere; I am entitled; God will provide. Credit cards are disastrous, personal checks worse. Unfortunately, for manics anyway, mania is a natural extension of the economy. What with credit cards and bank accounts there is little beyond reach. So I bought twelve snakebite kits, with a sense of urgency and importance. I bought precious stones, elegant and unnecessary furniture, three watches within an hour of one another (in the Rolex rather than Timex class: champagne tastes bubble to the surface, are the surface, in mania), and totally inappropriate sirenlike clothes. During one spree in London I spent several hundred pounds on books having titles or covers that somehow caught my fancy: books on the natural history of the mole, twenty sundry Penguin books because I thought it could be nice if the penguins could form a colony. Once I think I shoplifted a blouse because I could not wait a minute longer for the woman-with-molasses feet in front of me in line. Or maybe I just thought about shoplifting, I don’t remember, I was totally confused. I imagine I must have spent far more than thirty thousand dollars during my two major manic episodes, and God only knows how much more during my frequent milder manias.
But then back on lithium and rotating on the planet at the same pace as everyone else, you find your credit is decimated, your mortification complete: mania is not a luxury one can easily afford. It is devastating to have the illness and aggravating to have to pay for medications, blood tests, and psychotherapy. They, at least, are partially deductible. But money spent while manic doesn’t fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you’re given excellent reason to be even more so.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Somehow, like so many people who get depressed, we felt our depressions were more complicated and existentially based than they actually were.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“I decided early in graduate school that I needed to do something about my moods. It quickly came down to a choice between seeing a psychiatrist or buying a horse. Since almost everyone I knew was seeing a psychiatrist, and since I had an absolute belief that I should be able to handle my own problems, I naturally bought a horse.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“We all move uneasily within our restraints.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Love has, at its best, made the inherent sadness of life bearable, and its beauty manifest.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
tags: love
“Which of my feelings are real? Which of the me's is me? The wild, impulsive, chaotic, energetic, and crazy one? Or the shy, withdrawn, desperate, suicidal, doomed, and tired one? Probably a bit of both, hopefully much that is neither.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to exert too much control over essentially uncontrollable forces. There will always be propelling, disturbing elements, and they will be there until, as Lowell put it, the watch is taken from the wrist.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“We all build internal sea walls to keep at bay the sadnesses of life and the often overwhelming forces within our minds. In whatever way we do this—through love, work, family, faith, friends, denial, alcohol, drugs, or medication—we build these walls, stone by stone, over a lifetime. One of the most difficult problems is to construct these barriers of such a height and strength that one has a true harbor, a sanctuary away from crippling turmoil and pain, but yet low enough, and permeable enough, to let in fresh seawater that will fend off the inevitable inclination toward brackishness.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Chaos and intensity are no substitute for lasting love, nor are they necessarily an improvement on real life.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
tags: love
“But, with time, one has encountered many of the monsters, and one is increasingly less terrified of those still to be met.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“I had a terrible temper, after all, and though it rarely erupted, when it did it frightened me and anyone near its epicenter. It was the only crack, but a disturbing one, in the otherwise vacuum-sealed casing of my behavior.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or images...it bleeds relationships through suspicion, lack of confidence and self-respect, the inability to enjoy life, to walk or talk or think normally, the exhaustion, the night terrors, the day terrors. There is nothing good to be said for it except that it gives you the experience of how it must be to be old, to be old and sick, to be dying; to be slow of mind; to be lacking in grace, polish and coordination; to be ugly; to have no belief in the possibilities of life, the pleasures of sex, the exquisiteness of music or the ability to make yourself and others laugh.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“One is what one is, and the dishonesty of hiding behind a degree, or a title, or any manner and collection of words, is still exactly that: dishonest.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“Her parents, she said, has put a pinball machine inside her head when she was five years old. The red balls told her when she should laugh, the blue ones when she should be silent and keep away from other people; the green balls told her that she should start multiplying by three. Every few days a silver ball would make its way through the pins of the machine. At this point her head turned and she stared at me; I assumed she was checking to see if I was still listening. I was, of course. How could one not? The whole thing was bizarre but riveting. I asked her, What does the silver ball mean? She looked at me intently, and then everything went dead in her eyes. She stared off into space, caught up in some internal world. I never found out what the silver ball meant.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to exert too much control over essentially uncontrollable forces. There will always be propelling, disturbing elements, and they will be there until, as Lowell put it, the watch is taken from the wrist. It is, at the end of the day, the individual moments of restlessness, of bleakness, of strong persuasions and maddened enthusiasms, that inform one’s life, change the nature and direction of one’s work, and give final meaning and color to one’s loves and friendships.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“It took me far too long to realize that lost years and relationships cannot be recovered. That damage done to oneself and others cannot always be put right again.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“The ancient dialogue between reason and the senses is almost always more interestingly and passionately resolved in favor of the senses.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

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