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An Unquiet Mind [Paperback]

Kay Redfield Jamison
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 May 1997
This work is a personal testimony from Kay Redfield Jamison: the revelation of her struggle with manic depression since adolescence, and how it has shaped her life. The book follows her through college, a love affair, her battle with the illness, bouts of madness, violence and attempted suicide.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (9 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330346512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330346511
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'The writing is clear and beautiful, the descriptions accurate, the interior world she evokes is furiously alive. In the 16 years since An Unquiet Mind was first published, no greater book about manic depression - or bipolar disorder - has appeared.' --Observer

'An accessible account of a frightening illness we still don't fully understand' --The Herald

'This is a reissue of a powerful account of living with "manic depressive illness" ...a fascinating, harrowing description' --Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kay Redfield Jamison is Professor of Psychiatry at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and lives in Washington, DC. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
I was standing with my head back, one pigtail caught between my teeth, listening to the jet overhead. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bipolar 101 10 Mar 2004
By gekko
This was the first book I read, on the advice of my psychiatrist, after being diagnosed with bipolar. My life was in shards and this book gave me comfort that I could rebuild it. It also gave me the sense that I was not alone.
One year post diagnosis, I re-read it to discover it is somewhat oversimplistic in it's summary of the illness and consequent social, mental and pharmacological effects. It also possibly even over-confident in terms of the return to 'normality' one can hope to achieve, though I admit it is early days for me.
But by goodness, I needed it's message then, I still need it today from time to time, when the going gets tough. It is a good book, a good start. Don't make this the only book you read, but please make it one of them.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helping you to understand 6 Aug 2006
Living with someone who is living with mental illness is not an easy place to be. This book will not stop the roller coaster you sometimes feel you live on, but it will give you insight which might help in coping. with the impact As someone who has lived in this position for 20 years I recommend this book and - for the very darkest days - anything by Dorothy Rowe.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably helpful 28 Feb 2007
By Shelagh
After being diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar disorder as it is known these days) I felt like I was desperately flailing around for some support and understanding.

The sad truth is that no matter how good your doctors are or how understanding your family is, you feel as if no one really gets what's happening to you. "An Unquiet Mind" was recommended to me by a fellow manic depressive and listening to her was one of the best moves I've ever made. I was so relieved that someone else had a similar (no one's is ever the same) experience and more importantly had managed to come out the other side !!! What a moment of hope.

Without a doubt I would recommend that anyone who has depression of any form, or knows/lives with someone who has depression reads this book. It'll help stop the world from spinning out of control.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Well that explains a lot". 21 Nov 2002
A must have book for anyone suffering manic depression. Having suffered MD for 14 years I could never fully explain what it was like. Kay Jamison does this brilliantly. She has helped me understand the importance of Lithium and Psychotherapy to stay well.
In short she has given me hope, for which I will be forever grateful.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating, thought-provoking and revealing. 13 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jamison provides the definitive first-person narrative of the effect of manic depression, and all mood disorders. She manages to intelligently discuss medicating an 'uniquiet mind' whilst not reducing the questioning this invokes. She combines a lucid account of psychotic and depressive symptoms and their pull, whilst not down-playing the suffering this produces for sufferer and family. Most importantly, she gives the sufferer hope that extreme traits can be moderated whilst remaining the same person. The book is a superb read, and the issues it raises can be extrapolated to everyone's life, not just those of the mentally ill.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Eclipse
This is a fantastic true story of Kay Redfield Jamison determination to live her life for herself rather than give into illness. If you have bipolar(like myself)you will find this book inspirational and it will leave you with a feeling of hope.

This book genuinely helped me come to terms with my diagnosis. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who want to step into the shoes of someone dealing with bipolar or to gain piece of mind that bipolar needn't dictate you life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating 27 April 2008
This memoir is compelling reading. I have found it to be frank and honest as well as informative. I had a friend, sadly no longer with us, who was manic depressive and I found reading this a way of understanding who he was.

Kay Jamison writes about her life from seventeen - when she had her first attack of manic depression - through to her life now as an adult over twenty years later. It is an extremely well written account and whilst it is factual and often distressing to read I actually enjoyed it. It shows not only her courage but her determination to succeed at life with an illness that almost killed her.

I couldn't actually put this book down and read it in the course of one day, over a series of sittings. This book must be of help for people who don't know how to deal with their own turmoil at the hands of this illness and likewise for those whose lives are affected by it. It doesn't have a text book feel about it but nor does it feel lightweight.

I can't recommend this book enough!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and moving 21 May 2007
An excellent read, a remarkable account of a journey through manic-depressive illness. Anyone diagnosed with manic-depression or has an interest will find this a moving, eye opening and inspiring book. Kay Jamison's shares her honest heartfelt thoughts and feelings, a lady to be truly admired.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An open account of one person unravelling
In some ways, it seems a bit perverse to review a book such as AN UNQUIET MIND - after all, it is a memoir of manic depression, so how do you rate someone's battle with an illness? Read more
Published 19 days ago by Brida
5.0 out of 5 stars i felt the connecton between our worlds and the amazing strengh to...
From one that suffer's from madness creativity confusion clarity and the uncomprehenable,
i felt the connecton between our worlds and the amazing strengh to move forward to be... Read more
Published 26 days ago by heather hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars THANK YOU 'GOOD READS' for this recommendation
Having suffered from Bipolar Disorder for 26 years (possibly more but not diagnosed) this is THE book to read!!! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs D
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
This author describes the effects of bipolar has on her well. Gave me tremendous insight into how the person with bipolar feels (including the denial of having it) and motivation... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rebecca Fowler
3.0 out of 5 stars a brave and honestly written account of living with manic depression
Thoroughly enjoyed this account of how manic depression was diagnosed then treated. The author however, was/is in a exceptionally privileged position being a psychiatrist with... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Snaid
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought on recommendation
and I must admit, was not as good as I thought it would be. I thought I would be reading about a woman's journey with bi polar, but I must have had different expectations. Read more
Published 2 months ago by denise hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great for health care students to get an insight on how its like for a real person to stuffer with manic-depressive disorder. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. J. J. Churchill
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult subject to write about
This book was recommended to me by a colleague and I am very much looking forward to reading it in order to try and understand the subject matter a bit better.
Published 3 months ago by fran
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unquiet Mind
Another book I'm only half way through. Hoping it will help me understand a relative with problems and so far it is. Book arrived in good condition and promptly.
Published 4 months ago by Isobel Platt
4.0 out of 5 stars Told same story several times
Good description of the disease of bipolar disorder, evocative prose, great anecdotes worth a read. A bit prone to repetition.
Published 4 months ago by Simon
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