Mental Health Matters Book Review: An Unquiet Mind

An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison
Publication Date: 1995


In her bestselling classic, An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison changed the way we think about moods and madness.

Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive (bipolar) illness; she has also experienced it firsthand. For even while she was pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempted suicide.

Here Jamison examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. An Unquiet Mind is a memoir of enormous candor, vividness, and wisdom—a deeply powerful book that has both transformed and saved lives.

My Review:

This books holds a very special place in my heart because Dr. Jamison’s strength helped me to realize that I might have a severe mental illness. It was 2004 and I was taking Abnormal Psychology. We had to read a memoir of someone who had a mental illness and type up a paper. My professor pulled me aside and recommended to me An Unquiet Mind. She thought that I would enjoy it but also gave me a very meaningful look and held my gaze for about 20 seconds. I think she was willing me to read this, to know that this book could change. Because of my antics in her class (several times I let her know that I could teach better than she and I often wandered around the class, ending up at the front of the class trying to interject my thoughts into her lecture). With such compassion and respect, my professor helped me more that I could ever express. I’ll never forget her professionalism, her patience, and her forgiveness.

Dr. Jamison is a psychologist, but I’m not sure of she is still practicing, but she has published a number of other books.

Her transparency, ability to be vulnerable and even use some humor while telling her very personal and sometimes painful story blew me away and continues to do so every time I read this book. I read it about 3 times per year. It makes me feel like I am not alone, it makes me feel “normal.” While my diagnosis has changed from Bipolar I to Schizoaffective Disorder, this book changed my life and Dr. Jamison’s story is still so similar to my own.

If you are a fan of well-written memoirs/autobiographies I highly recommend this to you. If you would like to learn about what it is like to have a severe mental illness, more specifically Bipolar I Disorder, you will cherish and appreciate this book. She writes well, yet does not throw around lingo that is impossible to understand.

This beautiful, amazing, brave story will touch your heart, increase your compassion for others and hopefully yourself, and it might spark an interest in other memoirs written by those with severe mental illness.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5/5 doughnuts

Thank you for your time. I wish you the best.



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