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Nothing Was the Same

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,211 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
From the internationally acclaimed author of An Unquiet Mind, an exquisite, haunting meditation on mortality, grief, and loss.

Perhaps no one but Kay Redfield Jamison—who combines the acute perceptions of a psychologist with a writerly elegance and passion—could bring such a delicate touch to the subject of losing a spouse to cancer. In direct, straightforward, and at times
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2009)
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♥ Ibrahim ♥
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: All husbands, all guys contemplating marriage in general
Kay is a competent writer who writes with depth of feeling and poetically so much so that you are bound to rise to her level. I’m getting lessons of life from this book as a husband and as a man who ministers to people in their suffering. They, she and her beloved husband, to be patient, to keep persisting in what I’m setting about doing. Can I be frank and tell you upfront that I’m getting tons of spiritual inspiration from this book, more than many supposed Christian books on the market? Well, ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Jamison is on my radar as a prominent person with a disability, though she has never explicitly articulated a disabled identity. Her An Unquiet Mind is a hugely important book, politically speaking, and I salute her for outing herself as someone with severe bipolar, and effectively painting a target on her back for religious nutjobs and many of her ablest asshole colleagues in the medical profession. I mean, what the hell do I know about being targeted in wank, compared to that?

This book, though
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Jamison is the author of An Unquiet Mind, her superb memoir about her bipolar illness (a public secret even as she became one of the world’s leading experts on manic depression, literally co-authoring the textbook the medical profession trains on). Nothing Was the Same is the story of her husband’s, also an influential doctor and scientist, illness and death and Jamison’s experience with the overwhelming grief that comes with such a loss. It’s a profoundly personal book but also one that provide ...more
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
if you live w/or are thinking of living w/someone who has "an unquiet mind" read this book, i'm only a couple chapters in and it os amazing. this is a beautiful warning and strong affirmation for people loving the mentally ill. and it is also strong in saying that it can be safe/good for the mentally ill to love.
Jamison, like william styron, is a gift, she knows how to put words where others only know pain.

man, is this tough to read. it is about Jamison's husband, you know he is going to die but
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
I feel terrible saying I didn't like the book much. It's a sad story of her husband's (a very well known schizophrenia researcher) death from cancer and her experience of bereavement, and I have a lot of respect for the author, whose research on bipolar disorder and advocacy for patients suffering from it (of whom she is one, as described in one of her earlier books) have made tremendous contributions.

If I could pinpoint the two features I think contributed to my blah reaction to it, though, the
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've long been fascinated by the personal/interior lives of scientists, and this book gives us a glance at two very prominent psychiatrists: Kay Jamison and her husband, Richard Wyatt. I was familiar with Kay's story before picking this book up but I have not read An Unquiet Mind. Maybe I was also attracted to this book because it was compared with Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking, which I think is one of the great books of the last decade.
This isn't as good but well worth reading. Au
May 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
The benchmark for books on grieving is set with The Year of Magical Thinking and while Nothing Was the Same can't match Didion, it is on its own a terrific book. I don't know that I could relate to the intensity of her marriage the way I could to Didion; however, parsing through the distinctions between depression and grief. To me, that was the most valuable aspect of this book. The recognition that grief does lift and that it serves a purpose. It also is not something we should necessary wish a ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I started off listening to the audiobook of this with my girlfriend. We had listened to An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness together and learned a lot from it. We had hoped this book might offer more insight in to life with bipolar... but that's not what this book about. And we can't hold that against the author, of course. We just didn't read the description before buying it. This book is a loving and tearful memoir written about the author's relationship with, and grief subsequent t ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Kay Redfield Jamison is one of my heroes because of her clinical work on Bipolar Disorder and on suicide, as well as her courageous openness and writing as a person who herself has Bipolar Disorder. I always talk about her with my advanced students and hold her up as an example of someone who dares to try to smash the stigma of mental illness, and someone who was drawn to clinical work by her own life experiences (many of my students think that they could never become therapists if th ...more
Kent Winward
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
More in the grieving spouse genre --
Mandi  McRae
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Kay Redfield James writes very elegantly and formally. Her level of writing is far above what I've been reading lately. When I get the book in front of me, I am going to put some quotes from it in here. This is a remembrance of her husband and their marriage, before he died of cancer several years ago. I found it remarkable because I don't often read of people like this, much less know anyone like this. Completely committed to the life of the mind, devoted to science and their work as doctors, t ...more
Sep 20, 2012 added it
Shelves: in-library
EDITORIAL REVIEW: From the internationally acclaimed author of *An Unquiet Mind,* an exquisite, haunting meditation on mortality, grief, and loss.Perhaps no one but Kay Redfield Jamison—who combines the acute perceptions of a psychologist with a writerly elegance and passion—could bring such a delicate touch to the subject of losing a spouse to cancer. In direct, straightforward, and at times strikingly lyrical prose, Jamison looks back at her relationship with her husband, Richard Wyatt, a reno ...more
Ed Smiley
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I picked this up at the library, thinking that this was her earlier work on the experiences of an intelligent insightful person learning to deal with severe bipolar disorder, and actually finding a fulfilling life of considerable accomplishment.

I had skimmed parts of that book at a bookstore, and had gotten interested in her life.

This turned out to be a memoir of her life with her husband who fought, and lost, to fatal illness. He always helped her monitor her moods and keep to her program of m
Jessica Griffin
Unfortunately, it took me 3 years to finish this book. I purchased it shortly after the death of my significant other, a death connected to mental illness. At that time I was searching for help in understanding my own grief or depression and also his mania and depression. Instead, page after page I read about their love and commitment to each other in life and the beauty in finding your complement. I put the book down.

I picked it back up almost three years after it's original purchase (receipt
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not sure what I expected but the author has executed a self therapy that probably was helpful in dealing with her own loss, but did not add much to this reader's insight. THe part that I liked was her distinction between depression and grieving. Her story is hers and it is wonderful, but for those of us in less perfect marraiges, it felt like a memorial to a god. And the lack of advance planning for a physician was mind boggling....he is on a vent in the ICU with terminal cancer and the MD asks ...more
I enjoy reading Kay Redfield Jamison's books. More than a book about her husband dying of cancer I felt like this one was a book about a great, true love. I think doctors are too eager to prescribe medicine for grief, and I really appreciated Kay's description of the differences between grief and depression. I felt this information meant even more coming from a psychiatrist who had felt deep dark depressions herself. The subject sounds like a downer, but I felt like this was a book about hope an ...more
Daryl Thompson
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was heading out of town for travel and wanted to download something to read. I was in a hurry and download the first book to come up. This book by Kay Redfield Jamison was something I would not in my normal history reading. Glad I did this; was enjoyable reading and Kay did a good job getting me involved in what her and her husband were up against.
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
A beautiful memoir of a marriage, but Jamison only partly delivers on her promise to compare grief (after her husband dies) with depression (which she did not suffer, after a lifetime battling bipolar disorder).
Samar Barakat
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very sad till now. How much pain can people really endure?
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent memoir on grief...
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This novel made clear that Jamison is an extraordinary writer and that her husband was an even more extraordinary person. Jamison's writing is beautiful and just the right amount of poetic - there was a certain cadence and flow to it that made for a wonderfully unique reading experience.

I thought the first part of the book was notably stronger than the second - as her husband faded, so too did the book's hold over my interest. If I am to take anything away from this read, it is that Dr. Richard
Terri Durling
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although this book revolves around two subjects that are quite somber in nature, death and mental illness, which in itself make it a difficult read, I was captivated by the author's beautiful, honest and poetic writing style. She is an expert in the field of mental illness, having been diagnosed as bi-polar in her early 20s (then called manic-depressive); as well as being Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and codirector of the John Hopkins Mood Disorder Centre ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but it is a completely different style than any of her other books. It was engaging for me, especially because of her detailed focus and description of her late husband Richard. This in many respects was a book more about him and the love he had for Dr. Jamison, and I found him to be a fascinating and inspiring academic who learned how to love Kay through her bouts of severe mania and depression. I actually think my favorite chapter, though, was at the very end of the book i ...more
Peter Harrington
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nothing Was the Same is a memoir by Kay Jamison about loosing her husband to cancer. I gave this book all five stars because this book on grief is very well written and importantly it comes from a first hand experience. Even more, Mrs. Jamison helps one understand the differences and similarities between grief and depression. The Author, unfortunately has first hand knowledge on both and does an exceptional job that helps the reader see these differences; depression kills while grief heals. The ...more
Ana Maria
Sep 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
After so long and lots of trying, I had to accept the DNF and move on.

Unquiet Mind was very significant for me and I'm not hugely a fan of her "can I guess if X would've been diagnosed bipolar" work but I picked this up because of her name. This, like others have said, is an overwrought eulogy. Grief is complicated and individual, which I can respect, but I felt like I was reading a diary. Not an insightful diary, an intrusive one. Not worth it. I was expecting something deeper, like The Year of
Julie Castell
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
So wonderful! Kay Redfield Jamison is a courageous, insightful, loving wife & psychiatrist. Here she details her love for her husband while caring for him at the end of his life. You get an insight into her as a partner, a woman, more than just a psychiatrist who has bipolar disorder. You'll enjoy this book especially if you have a keen interest in mental health, as Jamison & her husband were/are renowned in the field of psychiatry, even more, if you have a heart.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Beautiful Anguish

Reading this book is like reliving and experiencing the love, delight, pain and terrible ache of loss. However it is a kindness for a bi-polar person to examine the differences between loss and madness. The line had seemed so thin to me and now I realize it is so much bolder and I that I am too.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Deeply cathartic and highly reflective, Dr.
Jamison draws the distinction between grief and depression in the face of mental illness. She has a way with words that crafts quotes you'll want to highlight and remember. I especially liked her chapter on
"Mourning and Melancholia," as I thought it brought together all the lessons learned throughout the story.
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Heartfelt memoir about her & her husband's struggle with illness and his eventual death. Thought provoking comparison of grieving vs. depression.
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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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“I realized that it was not that I didn’t want to go on without him. I did. It was just that I didn’t know why I wanted to go on” 31 likes
“How odd to smile during Richard's funeral. He was dead and I was smiling to myself. Grief does that. Laughter lies close in with despair, numbness near by acuity and memory with forgetfulness. I would have got used to it, but I didn't know this at the time. All I knew, was that memory had given pleasure first, then cracking pain.” 6 likes
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