Monday, November 13, 2006
Kay Redfield Jamison
Because of my partner's recent plight (she is much better now -- but still rather fragile... as is to be expected), I have been seeing councellors and attending seminars at AMI Quebec (The Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the advocacy group for the mentally ill and their families), and besides, reading voraciously literature dealing with bipolar disorder (a term I never liked, for its misleading blandness. Sounds more like something that came from the freezer -- or something wrong with the planet Earth.). In the process I discovered a major author: Kay Redfield Jamison. Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and co-author of Manic Depressive Illness (Oxford University Press, 1990), a standard medical text, she is not only one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive illness, but has experienced it firsthand. Her memoir, An Unquiet Mind, is firey, passionate, beautifully written, candid and wise -- one of my best reads all year. She has also written Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, and recently a book on suicide. A manic-impressive, one might say. But rather than go on with bookjacket superlatives (yes, I admit, I glanced over the book jacket to pluck out some of those adjectives from Washington Post, New York Times, et al. review quotes), I'll quote from some of her writing myself.