Customer Reviews for

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Average Rating 4
( 155 )
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(96)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

I Live This Illness Everyday....

I have been living with this illness for very long time, doctors and meds are an ongoing event in my life....I decided after this deep comma like depression I was in,the lasest drug that gave me heart racing affects to the point of no return...I decided to start searchi...
I have been living with this illness for very long time, doctors and meds are an ongoing event in my life....I decided after this deep comma like depression I was in,the lasest drug that gave me heart racing affects to the point of no return...I decided to start searching for my own answers...as any manic will tell you we buy in bulk, I purchased 4 books this day and Dr.Kay Jamison 'An Unqiuet Mind' was one of them.. It was like reading my life through her pages, it was a breakthrough for me , I am currently I'm off meds for the past 4 day due to severe side effect,I will bring this book in hopes they will try lithuim tomorrow ,I will tell them she has saved MY LIFE MY MIND as well.. My father commited suicide when I was just 7 and and one struggling like I am, SHOULD read this book. I started today and read the entire book today, I couldn't put it down and was feeling terrible about getting close to the end...I will pass this book on to my husband then my daughter so they may somehow understand my mind...THANK YOU Dr. Kay Jamison from the very corners of my mind.... I will try to find her so I can send her a letter of hope for me as well..This is a MUST read, a little FYI I'm not a reader never have been unless it's a magazine, for me to pick this book up and read it cover to cover must say something, right.

posted by Behind_Closed_Eyes on December 4, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Unbelievable and Pretentious

The best thing about this book is the title. Beyond that, I found the writing rambling and repetitive. The utter lack of situational details and contradictory statements makes me wonder if this author really does suffer from manic depressive disorder to the extent she c...
The best thing about this book is the title. Beyond that, I found the writing rambling and repetitive. The utter lack of situational details and contradictory statements makes me wonder if this author really does suffer from manic depressive disorder to the extent she claims. I find her pretentious and condescending, and sense that the book is written primarily for the purposes of self-glorification rather than to give an honest depiction of life in unique circumstances - something I expect from a good memoir.

posted by Anonymous on November 2, 2007

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  • Posted December 4, 2008

    I Live This Illness Everyday....

    I have been living with this illness for very long time, doctors and meds are an ongoing event in my life....I decided after this deep comma like depression I was in,the lasest drug that gave me heart racing affects to the point of no return...I decided to start searching for my own answers...as any manic will tell you we buy in bulk, I purchased 4 books this day and Dr.Kay Jamison 'An Unqiuet Mind' was one of them.. It was like reading my life through her pages, it was a breakthrough for me , I am currently I'm off meds for the past 4 day due to severe side effect,I will bring this book in hopes they will try lithuim tomorrow ,I will tell them she has saved MY LIFE MY MIND as well.. My father commited suicide when I was just 7 and and one struggling like I am, SHOULD read this book. I started today and read the entire book today, I couldn't put it down and was feeling terrible about getting close to the end...I will pass this book on to my husband then my daughter so they may somehow understand my mind...THANK YOU Dr. Kay Jamison from the very corners of my mind.... I will try to find her so I can send her a letter of hope for me as well..This is a MUST read, a little FYI I'm not a reader never have been unless it's a magazine, for me to pick this book up and read it cover to cover must say something, right.

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    The first book you should read...

    I have read several short books on bipolar...all in short essay 'this is bipolar for dummies style'...and found this to be what I consider a revelation. Never have I connected with a book as I did this one. Several instances were as if I was reading about myself. If you are currently being treated with MDI, then this is a must. Dr. Jamison spills her story as if it were just you and her in a room. Understanding may be a little foggy for the unaffected layman, or those not yet familiar with their own diagnosis, but you will surely understand once you have finished the book 'and read again as I have.' Don't be fooled by imitations. This is the real McCoy.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2008

    Highly Educational

    Kay Jamison Redfield's memoirs present a unique view of bipolar disorder through the eyes of an extremely competent professional and a sufferer. In this way she is able to describe her symptoms and her own resistance to accepting the disease and the need for medication treatment. These are common problems for many persons with bipolar disorder. While Bipolar disorder is a spectrum disorder, she recounts only the experiences of a person with Bipolar I. Bipolar I typically includes extreme mania, possible psychosis and the lowest lows of the depressive experience. It is important to keep in mind that this is her story and does not typify symptoms of other types of bipolar disorder. Other forms of bipolar disorder may have milder symptoms but can still cause extreme pain and difficulty. As a mental health therapist, this book has become an important educational tool that I often recommend to patients and their families. It can be immensely helpful aid in the understanding of the illness. I often ask people to keep in mind that when the book was written, lithium was virtually the best option for persons with her type of bipolar disorder. Now there are many excellent medication options for the treatment of this disorder. This is a book I would read again and I will keep recommending it. She is truly an inspiration of survival.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2007

    Unbelievable and Pretentious

    The best thing about this book is the title. Beyond that, I found the writing rambling and repetitive. The utter lack of situational details and contradictory statements makes me wonder if this author really does suffer from manic depressive disorder to the extent she claims. I find her pretentious and condescending, and sense that the book is written primarily for the purposes of self-glorification rather than to give an honest depiction of life in unique circumstances - something I expect from a good memoir.

    7 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    What's with all the hype?

    A literary master authored this book. Dr. Jamison certainly has a way with words. I feel this book is probably so popular because it¿s one of the few accounts I¿ve found where someone is willing (or able) to share their personal testimony, and able to identify with what we suffering from manic-depression must deal with on a daily basis. It is marketed in the 'Psychology' or 'Self-improvement' sections of most major book retailers, however after reading it, it fits into neither category in my opinion, and should be labeled simply an autobiography. That being said, if I had to estimate, the topic of manic-depressive illness probably only fills 40% of the reading material. The rest, like I said, is an autobiographical depiction of her years as a child, her experiences in med school, and her life as a practicing psychologist. It does accurately show what the disease is capable of accomplishing, such as poor performance in school and on the job, failed relationships, and so forth. Although an interesting read, if you, like I, suffer from the debilitating illness that is manic-depression, and are looking for answers, help, or therapy-type reading material, this may not be the book for you. There is no doubt the Dr. has her descriptive moments that shed some light on the inner workings of the illness, but all in all it may be nothing that you as a person suffering from Bipolar don't already know. If you are looking for material to share with your friends or family on the topic, I'm sure this book could relatively-accurately relay the 'feelings' of someone living with this illness. However, I would be unsatisfied handing this book to my spouse and telling them 'read this, it will help you understand'. I'm hoping to find less of a literary piece, and more of a self-help book which encompasses types of treatment options, exercises, and thoughts on helping yourself and your loved ones understand what to expect. I¿m afraid this book is going on eBay.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Fabulous Mind

    Author uses lengthy detailed descriptions of her privileged and extremely supportive family as an introduction to herself as a person, and even a definition of who she is. As if the origin and class of the family could ensure the quality of the human being.
    Emphasizing her waspiness throughout the book, she demonstrates beliefs in her perfection and even imperviousness. When the time comes to accept her diagnosis, she remains in denial, because she cannot accept the idea that something is wrong with her.
    Author's family story holds many contradictions. She mentions her mother and her brother, who help her to overcome depression, but her father and her sister "disappear" right after she gets diagnosed. Readers later learn that her father drinks and that is that. How can this perfect supportive family ever fall apart? Has it ever been that connected?
    The fact that Dr. Jamison has been diagnosed by her coworker tells something about her self-knowledge and professionalism. As she describes her erratic behaviors and depressed mood prior to being diagnosed, she presents a clear manic-depressive state, yet she fails to make connections and recognize the symptoms (although at that level of training she should be able to). Even after the formal diagnosis she remains in denial until she cannot manage without lithium.
    Dr. Jamison spends much time sharing her educational experiences and achievements (degrees, practicums, awards, etc.), as if she is writing a resume. Yet she fails to mention any of her clients, people she actually helped. The environment that surrounds Dr. Jamison revolves around her, exists for her, and it seems that the purpose of education in mental health is in having a career, getting tenure, publishing, and making money for travels. I sensed that in Dr. Jamison's grandiose personality there is not much compassion for other people who suffer and need help.
    In fact, she does not even have a high opinion about them. As she puts it, it was humiliating to admit her disorder and go see a psychiatrist and "be on the other side". So, that's what it is, she sees potential help seekers as people who should be embarrassed because they lost their dignity to the disorder. Who would want to ask such a doctor for help?
    In addition to this, the language and poetic inserts aren't that impressive. In fact, they are quite redundant. Multitude of expressive adjectives creates affective blobs here and there, but that creates more noise than emotional strength.
    The truth is, this story is unremarkable. Author tries to make it into a glamorous account of mental illness, while minimizing its severity and impact on relationships. Bipolar disorder ceases to be brutal and draining experience; when Dr. Jamison has it, it becomes more sanitized and dignified. The suicide attempt reads like an unpleasant hitch that does not bring any revelation.
    Dr. Jamison's attitude makes it impossible to empathize with her. She does not want her readers to see her being weak or helpless. All she wants is admiration.
    Finally, in the epilogue author states that if she were to choose, she'd choose to have bipolar disorder, which to me manifests that the author just does not want to be average. She is afraid of being ordinary, one of many. To me, she is.
    With so many incongruences, it is clear that this book is not what it claims to be. When you subtract the misrepresented mental illness, what remains is a poorly written fictionalized memoir.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Insightful Reading

    I found this book to be very insightful. I feel it should be a recommended book by counselors/psychologists/psychiatrists for individuals who have Bipolar I or II Disorder. Though individuals experience different levels of Bipolar Disorder, myself, being less extreme, the book educated me, personally, on Bipolar Disorder on a whole new level, one that I "chose" not to "explore". I would highly recommend the book for "everyone", those who suffer Bipolar Disorder and those who do not. Ms. Jamison is not only courageous in sharing her experiences, but considerate in that her experiences might be helpful to others.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Read MADNESS instead

    This book quickly went from ok to insufferable. I get it, you're noble, highly intelligent,very strong and priveliged.
    For a well-written, page-turning, completely naked account of an experience with bi-polarism- read Marya Hornbacher's Madness.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    *Warning* Read only if you have a medical degree!

    I was terribly disappointed in this book. I've been trying to get my hands on real first hand accounts to maybe help me realize some coping skills with my bipolar disorder. It's hard enough to read when your attention span is altered by mood or medication, let alone follow this book without getting frustrated. This book is for someone with a medical or collegate background only. DO NOT ATTEMPT IF YOU HAVE ANY HOPES OF FOLLOWING ALONG OR PULLING ANY USEFUL EXPERIENCES FROM FOR LAYMEN. It just isn't personable at all.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2000

    Good but could've been better

    The author does an excelent job reviewing many of the ups and downs people like us have experienced. My major concern, however, is that the author is not introspective enough about the different opportunities (as well as limitations) that come with her social class. A much poorer, less intellectually gifted person would not have the time or money to take the same steps toward treatment that were available to the author.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    Excellent!

    Very insightful and well written.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Just Read

    Anyone who suffers from Bipolar should read this book and will find themselves in the author's words. Insightful and amazing. What a shame the book had to end.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    I first read this book when it was published in hardcover 12 years ago. At the time there weren't so many books of memoirs of living with this horrendous illness. As a graduate student, who had the honor of knowing Dr. Jamison during my undergraduate years at Hopkins 'but not knowing about her diagnosis', I had found myself without any support group where I wasn't far and away the most accomplished individual. Dr. Jamison's book provided me hope that it was possible to not only survive bipolar disorder, but to thrive despite the disease. After living through this disease for nearly 20 years, I look for inspiration and role models where ever I can find them, especially those who are able to see both the horrors and the humor in the experiences that are part and parcel of this life. To me Kay Jamison is an idol.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Really great book on what living with bipolar disorder feels lik

    Really great book on what living with bipolar disorder feels like. While I did not struggle to take my medications once I was diagnosed (mine have little side effect), I did feel and experience so many of the struggles she did prior to diagnosis. Its so great to hear about one who is smart and capable and yet lacking the understanding of one's own mind. Those who judge from the outside of bipolar disorder often do not understand how long one can struggle before understanding and finding balance within their mind. I thought it was a very good and touching account of her personal experiences with the illness. While there is some repetitive information (the book isn't totally chronological and chapters are loosely organized) I would recommend this book for those living with or who love someone who is bipolar.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2011

    Excellent read. Highly recommended!!

    This book provides an incredible amount of information on Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder) and allows individuals to get a great glimpse into the life-long struggle of coping with Bipolar Disorder. Whether you are a laymen in regards to psychopathology or are a mental health provider, this book is an easy read, while still providing the pertinent information that is incredibly applicable to individuals within the clinical psychology field. Dr. Jamison reveals and incredible amount of information on her darkest moments, greatest moments, and moments of tremendous achievement that most people could never achieve. I comment her bravery in exposing the most vulnerable aspect in her life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Informational but disappointing.

    I've taken a lot of psychology classes and I experience certain depression issues that cause me to be on meds. I like the book and saw myself in some parts, but couldn't get pass all the errors and repetitive paragraphs. I give it 3 stars only because I admire that it was honest and very open to sharing life experiences when dealing with manic-depression.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is one of the most profound books I have ever read.

    I'm aboslutly biased as I suffer from the same disorder as the author, but that's what makes it so wonderful. The overwhelming feeling that the author can feel what I feel, hear my thoughts, understand my confusion, AND put it into words that others can read ... is amazing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    Should be in the biography section

    While the book was somewhat interesting I dont think it really qualifies as a psychology book, it seems to me to be more of a biography. The author does not give much detail about her feelings, emotions or what is truly happening in her mind.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    count the number of times she says 'lithium'

    when i received this book from my mother for christmas it was a validation of my 20 years of struggling with depression. finally she was willing to admit i do suffer from it! the first few pages of this book i cried my eyes out. i found it very interesting to see some of what i've struggled to put into words, put into such eloquent words. i found myself underlining lots of passages. i plan to pass the book along to my aunt, who is also manic-depressive. however, the author seems to identify only ONE kind of medication which can be used. some of this can be credited to the fact that lithium was basically the only depression drug available at the time the author is describing, however, the number of times she could have left off the phrase 'lithium and other' and instead just said 'medications' is mind-boggling. the word lithium appeared so many times on one page i had to stop reading. it is a bit pretentious but not wholly unreadable or without merit. seeing as how it's honestly the first book i've read on the subject i can't say it's the best nor the worst.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Zaigna the princess

    (Blond hair, green eyes.) Sits

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