Thursday, November 1, 2007

"An Unquiet Mind"

A couple of weeks ago, I watched Oprah's show on bipolar disorder and was intrigued about a book called "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Jamison, which is her autobiography about her struggles with the disorder. I ordered the book through interlibrary loan and have been working my way through it. In college I studied psychology for my first two years and so I understood the basic clinical stuff about the disorder, but now that I am half way through this book, I can tell you, I really had no idea. The opposite extremes of the disorder are mind blowing when you hear about them first hand. Jamison chronicles: "I must have spent far more than thirty thousand dollars during my two major manic episodes, and God only knows how much more during my frequent milder manias." She talks about some of her rational for her actions during her manic can see the touch of logic she followed, but it's hard to fathom the lack of restraint that accompanied it. Doing things like buying 12 rattle case bite kits (for the imminent rattle snake threat in the San Fernando Valley), a stuffed fox (even she couldn't wrap her head around that one afterward recognizing her great fondness for live animals), 3 watches bought within hours, and much much more.

I appreciate her vulnerability in allowing others to go where they couldn't even imagine on their own, and in many ways at the risk of her own career (at least at the time). I also love that she uses big words that force me to look them up in the dictionary (or on I miss learning new words, and miss reading books that force me to think and learn. Three of today's words are: phantasmagoria, centrifuge, and pixilated.

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