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An Unquiet Mind

Everywhere you turn the prevalence of mood disorders is staggering. It is not uncommon to come into contact with one or several people in your lifetime, which suffer from or have suffered from, some type of mood disorder. Personally, I have come to know several people who have manic-depressive illness.It is for this reason that I have taken a particular interest in Kay Jamison'sAn Unquiet Mind.
Although I have had contact with several manic-depressive individuals, during both manic and depressed states, many aspects of the disorder still remained unclear.The knowledge I have gained through Jamison'sfirst hand experiences is invaluable and has helped me attain a clearer understanding of this illness.She allowed her readers to understand how her mind worked and to get a true feel of the disorder itself.
Most of the manic-depressive individuals that I know are married with children and living normal lives.However, like Jamison, it took them many expansive highs followed by detrimental lows before medical help was sought.As in Jamison's case (her father and other relatives on his side of the family), there appears that a predisposition to this disorder is genetically transmitted. One would think that this would only help an individual seek medical attention sooner. However, this is not the case, which Jamison illustrated quite clearly.Most manic-depressive individuals, like her, are intelligent and strong willed. It is usually not until they have practically destroyed their lives, hurt those around them or attempted suicide that one seeks help. As Jamison candidly stated, "I had no idea what was going on, and I felt totally unable to ask anyone for help.It never occurred to me that I was ill; my brain just didn't put it in those terms" (p. 45).
Jamison's depiction of her mood swings provides her readers with a perspective of her illness that no textbook or

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