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Monday, January 24, 2011

Bipolar as experienced by Kay Redfield Jamison

The series that I have recently begun, "Being Bipolar", is picking up some intense interest. I posted Part 2: "Sketching Uniquet" late last week. Meanwhile Part 1: "The Tale of the Two Chris Knights" has become the most-visited page on the blog over the past several days.

During the weekend I made the decision that for the next few installments of the series at least, I am going to refrain from reading any other scholarly material about bipolar disorder. Why? Because I'm trying to honestly and accurately portray and convey my own struggle with bipolar disorder. And well, guess you could say that I'm afraid that I might "cross contaminate" my experiences with those of others. But no doubt I'll be delving into the research sooner than later.

The first thing that I plan to read is An Uniquet Mind, the memoir of someone whose name has come up consistently during the investigation of my condition: Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Jamison is widely considered to be one of the foremost authorities on bipolar disorder... in large part because she herself has had to live with it for most of her life. In addition to her books (the list of which also includes Night Falls Fast, a study of suicide) she has made numerous appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Charlie Rose and other television outlets, and she enjoys considerable demand as a public speaker.

I'm looking forward to reading An Unquiet Mind. But in the meantime, I feel more than a little led to share with my readers a link to this page of quotes by Kay Redfield Jamison about her own ordeal with bipolar disorder and what she has gained and learned from her experiences. I found that what she has written about bipolar very much parallels what I have been trying to share in my own words about the condition.

And she's a professional! I'm just a dude with a blog. That makes Dr. Jamison's word on the subject all the more worth checking out! :-)


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you didn't read An Unquiet Mind already. What you've described of bipolar is like Jamison's description of suffering it. Excellent book.

Chris Knight said...

Dr. Jamison, it should also be noted, is one of the leading proponents of the idea that bipolar disorder is something that especially creative people are at higher risk of suffering. I forget the title at the moment but she even wrote a book about it.

I'll be reading that as well :-)