©1995 Kay Redfield Jamison; (P)2010 Random House
"From Kay Redfield Jamison - an international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American Universities - a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression, and how it shaped her life. With vivid prose and wit, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness - a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the 'melancholy star of the imagination,' and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death." (Amazon.com review)
I downloaded this title today, so I'd have a copy when I return the borrowed paper book version I have. It quickly became apparent that there are parts missing, so I began reading along and this is certainly *not* the Unabridged version.
On a single page several paragraphs were chopped in half. The book, which has four parts, has been whittled down to three. Someone, somewhere, has a very loose definition of unabridged.
Still, I'm enjoying what I hear. I just wonder what I'm going to miss from the continuation of the audiobook.
Richly written description of the very difficult life lead by a suffering manic-depressive. I highly recommend this book. Its not just a study on the illness, you get this great insight from a brilliant woman and its a riveting story of her life.
The first book I read by Jamison was "Manic Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression" that she wrote with Frederick Goodwin. 1262 pages. Although huge and technical, it is surprisingly readable. (I skipped all the parts comparing the drawbacks of different studies) It's the bible of bipolar disorder.
So this book was quite a change, a short and very personal book. I'm glad I heard it aloud and I'm glad she read it herself. I disagree with the people who found her voice dull and unemotional. That's what therapists sound like. If you listen carefully, you can hear the tiniest cracks in her voice when she talks about the losses in her life. Not unemotional. Dignified and subtle and heartbreaking.
One thing she says in the book that might interest Audible listeners is that she lost her ability to read when she was on a high dose of lithium. She'd read a paragraph, have no idea what it said, then have to read it again. And again. She had to have her boyfriend read aloud to her. Lowering her dose apparently helped improve her reading, enough to read and distill shelves full of difficult technical articles into "only" 1262 pages. A heroic accomplishment.
Most bipolars I've talked to say they have problems reading books - they can handle articles. They're not all on lithium, and those that are are not on high doses. I think it's a consequence of the disorder. Thank goodness we have Audible for popular books. I'd love it if Audible would offer her magnum opus, but it's an absurdly huge technical book with a limited audience. Maybe Amazon will loosen up on its "read out loud" feature so it's available not just on physical Kindles but on phones, pcs and macs.
I give her a lot of credit for writing about herself. This book has potential to help a lot of people. Her voice is mundane, howerver.
Tough subject but an interesting story. Not for everyone though. Likely best for those whose interest run in this area.
Yes. I listened to this in order to have better insight toward manic depression and recovery from a mental illness. The author's experience with manic depression interested me, but her background and life story in general seemed dry and emotionless. I feel some individuals with manic depression would have a tough time relating to her story, because she was born into a life that allowed her to utilize the best resources available for her disorder.
I do respect the author's experience with manic depression, and am glad she wrote this book despite fears about the stigma toward mental illness, and it's potential to negatively impact her personal and professional life. She comes across as very intelligent and educated about the disorder, and shares some great thoughts. The revelation at the end of her memoir had the greatest impact on me because it gave me a different perspective on living with manic depression.
The author did a great job describing why so many with bipolar disorder struggle taking the prescribed medications.
The author's stories of how she revealed her disorder to the men in her life, her employer, and the world.
This story was about Kay Redfield Jamison. There were not any other characters in the book.
Although the event had little to do with bipolar disorder, the moment in the book that moved me was when her partner, David, died unexpectedly.
This is a particularly good book to read if you or any of your loved ones are taking lithium for treatment of bipolar disorder. The author does a good job of talking about the pros and cons of treatment, and the benefit of treatment in spite of losing her hypomanic moments. She also does a good job discussing the pros and cons of parenting with bipolar disorder.
Thank you for writing this book. Your story and descriptive experience conveys so clearly what it is actually like to live with this condition and this difficult reality. Your book makes me feel that I am not alone in this struggle and that hope exists in achieving a balanced life. I am eternally grateful that you took this courageous step in sharing your story. The stigma against those who suffer from mood disorders leads so many to remain quiet about their condition; often preventing or delaying treatment. After reading your book I felt as if someone had read me a story that presented me with a mirror of my life and mind; an explanation for why I have always felt that I experience life so different from everyone else. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in this experience. The waves of chaotic thoughts in my mind, creation of impulsive imaginative paintings, and the feelings of extreme passion, agitation, anger and anguish are exhausting. I believe your book has saved my life and the lives of others.
Say something about yourself!
This book is five stars, but the audiobook is roughly half of the paper book. Well done, read by Jamison herself, but leaves out a lot of what makes the book great. You still get the core of the story, and it makes sense, but you loose all the little details and other pieces that make this a wonderful story.
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