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An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Kay Redfield Jamieson

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness


An Unquiet Mind is a first rate memoir written by renowned US clinical psychologist and bipolar disorder researcher Kay Redfield Jamison. Published in 1995, Jamison writes eloquently, bravely and wisely about her experiences with bipolar disorder and the effects it has had on her life and her personal relationships.

Her description of depression is insightful, authentic and wholly accurate.  “Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or bleeds relationships through suspicion, lack of confidence and self-respect, the inability to enjoy life, to walk or talk or think normally, the exhaustion, the night terrors, the day terrors.”

Not only does she write about the detrimental effects of bipolar disorder, but she also highlights what could be perceived as positive aspects, too. In her memoir, Jamison describes the joy of her manic highs, which included a trip to Saturn in her mind. “Even now, I can see in my mind’s rather peculiar eye an extraordinary shattering and shifting of light; inconstant but ravishing colours laid out across miles of circling rings.”

Like many of those diagnosed with bipolar, Jamison initially resisted taking the medication lithium to manage her symptoms. It was in her early 30s that Jamison began taking medication regularly.

It is easy to relate to An Unquiet Mind and her experiences will certainly resonate with those who have bipolar disorder. This book is highly recommended for anyone suffering from bipolar disorder and/or wants to find out more about what it feels like to have the illness.

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Copies in our library:

Bipolar Edinburgh maintains a small library of books, CDs and DVDs. To borrow from the library you need to have attended at least two group meetings and registered your contact information with the group facilitators. We normally allow people to borrow items for two months, but please bring them back earlier if possible.


An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
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