Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Unquiet Mind - Kay Redfield Jamison

The ability to write honestly and insightfully about one's own life takes a great deal of courage. To do this about yourself when you suffer from a stigmatized mental illness is pretty miraculous. Dr. Jamison is a leading expert on manic-depressive disorder (commonly referred to now as bi-polar disorder). She has also battled the illness nearly her entire life. An Unquiet Mind is Jamison's journey through her life - her struggles with doctors and various medications, and her amazing accomplishments through medical school and the field of psychiatry. I often feel, as a woman, that I would not go to a doctor who was not a woman because I want someone who (on some level) understands the symtoms I'm complaining about. When it comes to mental illness, it makes sense that a patient would also want a doctor who could understand the euphoria and the depression (or whatever applicable symptoms) - who wouldn't (one hopes) have judgments about what can be done or what should be fixed. Yet, clearly in our society, people have reservations about seeking help from people who seem to need help themselves. The compassion Jamison brings to the area is tremendous, and her ability to share her story in such a real way, I hope, will change people's minds about this ilness and those struggling daily to survive it.

No comments: