KAY REDFIELD JAMISON is a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as an honorary professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of the national best sellers An Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, and Touched with Fire. She is coauthor of the standard medical text on manic-depressive illness and author or coauthor of more than one hundred scientific papers about mood disorders, creativity, and psychopharmacology. Dr. Jamison, the recipient of numerous national and international scientific awards, is a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow.
Johns Hopkins psychiatry professor Jamison, whose Touched with Fire addressed the link between manic-depressive illness and creativity, offers a poignant and powerful memoir of her own struggles with and triumphs over the disease. Her story suggests that, yes, with lithium as regulator, psychotherapy as sanctuary, professional support and love, manic-depressive illness can be managed. The illness is often genetic, and Jamison's exuberant but depressive father was a portent. Her first wave of mania came in high school, but college was a struggle marked by violent moods and passions, and grad school pushed her over the edge. During her first decade on lithium, the drug's side effects blurred her vision so that she could concentrate only on journal articles or poetry. Eventually she attempted suicide. The author's traumas helped drive her academic passions; her work also led her to a happy marriage. She has not had children of her own and raises eloquent‘unanswerable‘questions about manic-depressives bearing children. 75,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; author tour. (Sept.)
This incredibly insightful work chronicles the life of a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University who suffers from manic depression. Jamison began experiencing mood swings during adolescence but, despite her education and training, did not seek help until she had completed her doctorate and began teaching at UCLA. Like so many others suffering from manic depression, she felt initially that the depressions were only passing phases she'd have to work out herself. She experienced the manic phases as great periods of creativity and accomplishment and feared they would be deadened by using medication. (In an earlier book, Touched with Fire, LJ 2/15/93, Jamison explored the relationship between manic depression and creativity.) Jamison finally comes to grips with her illness and recognizes the importance of medication used in conjunction with psychotherapy. This combination of treatment controls her illness and has enabled her to succeed. Her story and writing style are both inspirational and educational. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Jennifer Amador, Central State Hosp. Medical Lib., Petersburg, Va.
"An invaluable memoir of manic depression, at once medically
knowledgeable, deeply human and beautifully written . . . at times
poetic, at times straightforward, always unashamedly honest."
--The New York Times Book Review "Stands alone in the literature of manic-depression for its bravery, brilliance and beauty."
--Oliver Sacks "Jamison's [strength] is in the gutsy way she has made her disease her life's work and in her brilliant ability to convey its joys and its anguish. . . . Extraordinary."
--Washington Post Book World
"The most emotionally moving book I've ever read about the emotions."
--William Safire, The New York Times Magazine "Written with poetic and moving sensitivity . . . a rare and insightful view of mental illness from inside the mind of a trained specialist."
--Time "Enlighting . . . eloquent and profound."
--San Francisco Chronicle "Piercingly honest. . . . Jamison's literary coming-out is a mark of courage."
"Brave, insightful, richly textured and chillingly authentic."
--Boston Globe "A riveting portrayal of a courageous brain alternating between exhilarating highs and numbing lows."
--James D. Watson, Nobel laureate and author of The Double Helix
"In a most intimate and powerful telling, Jamison weaves the personal and professional threads of her life together. . . . [She] brings us inside the disease and helps us understand manic depression. . . . What comes through is a remarkably whole person with the grit to defeat her disease."
--Cleveland Plain Dealer "A riveting read. I devoured it at a single sitting and found the book almost as compelling on a second read. . . . An Unquiet Mind may well become a classic. . . . Jamison sets an example of courage."
--Howard Gardner, Nature "Stunning. . . . [An] exquisite (in both a literary and medical sense) autobiography. . . . This is an important, wonderful book."
--Jackson Clarion Ledger "Extraordinary. . . . An Unquiet Mind must be read."
--The New England Journal of Medicine "A beautiful, funny, original book. Powerfully written, it is a wonderful and important account of mercurial moods and madness. I absolutely love this book."
--Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides "A landmark. . . . The combination of the intensity of her personal life and the intellectual rigor of her professional experience make the book unique. . . . A vibrant and engaging account of the life, love and experience of a woman, a therapist, an academic, and a patient."
--British Medical Journal "Affecting, honest, touching . . . fluid, felt and often lyrical."
--Will Self, The Observer (London) "Quite astonishing. . . . Cuts through the dead jargon and detached observations of psychiatric theory and practice to create a fiery, passionate, authentic account of the devastation and exaltation, the blindness and illumination of the psychotic experience."
--The Sunday Times (London) "Rises to the poetic and has a mystical touch. . . . A courageous and fascinating book, a moving account of the life of a remarkable woman."
--The Daily Telegraph (London) "Fast-paced, startlingly honest and frequently lyrical. . . . Jamison has] a novelist's openness of phrase and talent for bringing character alive."
--Scotland on Sunday "Superbly written. . . . A compelling work of literature."
--Independent on Sunday (London)