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322 of 344 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manic/Depressive - The Inside View, March 30, 2001
This review is from: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (Paperback)
What's it like to have an incurable, but manageable disease? One that changes your perceptions of the world around you, loosens your inhibitions or cripples your ability to do anything? Kay Redfield Jamison pours out her experience of living with a mood disorder, using descriptive, image-evoking prose.
This book contains her life story, told from the point, not just of a disease sufferer, but also from the standpoint of a healer. Dr. Jamison is both. As a psychotherapist & professor of psychiatry, not only did she write a definitive book on the treatment of manic-depressive illness, but she also suffers from the disease herself.
We read her first-person account of how the disease snuck into her life. How parts of it were seductive and alluring, how she enjoyed having the extra energy, the industry; but also how that energy would turn to mania, would be damaging. Then we learn how dark, how bleak the downs could be. She exposes her struggle with medication, how she felt it limited her, how difficult it was to find and maintain the correct dose. We learn about the impact of her disease on her relationships.
She examines the path of manic-depressive illness in her life and paints a picture for the reader. One cannot put this book down without being touched. If you, or somebody you know, suffers from a mood disorder, this book is =REQUIRED= reading. If you would like a deep insightful read, not only will you enjoy this book, but you'll come away from it with a new appreciation for living with a chemically balanced brain.
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Initial post: Feb 12, 2010 2:51:18 PM PST
It occurs to me that this review could only have been written by someone with almost no understanding of this illness at all. In fact, UM is one of the most detached and least instructive books I have ever read on this subject or any other. If you would like to experience the definitive memoir of manic depression track down Invisible Driving Invisible Driving - UM is not even in the same league. (To be fair, Jamison's book Touched With Fire is very good. To be more fair still, Jamison is an academic and scientist, not a writer per se.)

Posted on Jan 9, 2015 8:46:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 9, 2015 8:48:48 PM PST
Corn Flake says:
Unfortunately, this book does nothing to assist bipolar sufferers and their families with overcoming the issues that keep them from achieving and maintaining mental stability. A lack of sufficient finances, familial support, insurance, and accessible medical resources are the prevailing problems. Jamison was provided with ample resources at every stop on her journey.

Also, "Manageable" is not a term which accurately describes the hell of medication trial-and-error. Jamison was extremely lucky. She was prescribed a medication, lithium, which provided a lifetime of relief with consistent results and few side effects. This is absolutely not the case for a staggeringly large number of bipolar patients. Many are prescribed a cocktail of medications. Often a medication will cease to be effective or cause a debilitating side effect. It is especially frustrating when insurance or financial limitations eliminate a functional medication as a selection. This rollercoaster can be physically and mentally devastating.

Wasn't Jamison fortunate that she did not have to contend with any of these concerns? When Jamison was ready to accept her diagnosis, the resource stars aligned perfectly for her. She was not just her own worst enemy. She was her only enemy. "An Unquiet Mind" does not describe the uphill battle which most mental health patients are forced to fight.
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