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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 March 2004
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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VINE VOICEon 6 August 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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on 28 February 2007
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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on 21 April 2002
I found this book to be readable and vivid in parts but did not feel that it described the essence of her subjective experience of manic depression. I would not say that Kay Jamison was particularly 'brave' in going public with her illness as she had already 'come out' to many of her academic and professional colleagues, the people whose reassurance and acceptance she seemed to seek most. In a sense I think this has buffeted her during the course of her illness and it was interesting to note there was no description of any hospitalisation for her illness, and how she said that she had a fear of ending up in hospital. Most members of the public suffering from this illness will undergo some form of hospital treatment and she showed no more particular insight in to the illness than many other sufferers. I had the impression that there was a lack of honesty, a tendency to glamorise her experiences, often compensating for the sinister and painful aspects of the illness with long forays in to her wonderful family and wonderful colleagues and wonderful partners and wonderful erudition in general. For instance she briefly glances on her spending sprees, verbal attacks and bouts of rage during the manic phases but instead of describing these, we are left with her wonderful and successful brother coming to her rescue with unpaid bills and debts with a tray of champagne. I would like to know what she did and how she was feeling at the time, not that her brother has a winning way and is a master of accounts. There was less about the actual experience of the illness as an ordinary person and more about her extraordinariness. There was no examination of causes and prevention but, as to be expected for her training and profession, the usual discussion of medication and genes. I suspect that they are no further along with discovering the genes for mental illness as they were. I found some of the text rather condescending and narcissistic, although the story was sad and quite resonant in ways. She described her depression and suicide attempts quite frankly and beautifully but overall I found it hard to empathise through lack of relevant detail. As a professional she seemed to have a distancing from her own patients and a lack of empathy despite her own experiences, other than 'they should really learn to take their Lithium you know, poor things.' This may reflect her own lack of insight.
I enjoyed the book and gave it three stars for this but I felt voyeuristic and at points irritated...
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on 13 May 2000
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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on 21 November 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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on 2 June 2006
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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on 17 August 2001
I enjoyed reading this book very much. I found it interesting to read now Jamison was seduced by her mild mania, and how she eventually realised that the illness cannot be harnessed and controlled to suit her desire.
Hoever, I do not feel as though she put enough content in the book discussing how lithium is not the magical cure for everyone who suffers from this illness. Perhaps I thought that her point about perseverence and disciplined self-regulation with lithium was not vivid enough.
After reading the book, I was left feeling as though Jamison was in awe of her illness - I'm not sure that is the right note to be left ringing in your mind.
I found this book sometimes very difficult to read. I had to read, then reread sentences as I found it difficult to follow the flow. I also thought there was an unnecessary use of "big words" - though no one could accuse Jamison of verbosity.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is affected by this illness, or is simply interested in finding out about manic-depression.
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on 21 May 2002
An Unquiet Mind is Kay Redfield-Jamison’s memoir of a turbulent struggle with chronic manic-depressive illness and all that it entails. Vivid descriptions of deep depressions and the summits of florid mania are colored by the irony of the author’s occupation as a professor of clinical psychiatry. While her account will leave many feeling privileged to have gained an otherwise inaccessible glimpse into this often crippling yet curious illness, it may well articulate some of the experiences of those who have confronted depression and\or mania in their own life. A truly enlightening tale.
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on 5 May 2009
An Unquiet Mind The subject of Bipolar is a condition that one of my four daughters suffers with. As a family we have never been told how best to deal with it, how to be supportive and what it must be like. This book has provided the answers to many questions and is now regarded as the most frequently read manual. A thought provoking insight into the troubled mind and a must for everybody who has contact with this problem, whether it be as a patient or family.
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