Sunday, May 13, 2007

A psychiatrist with BiPolar

"I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. ... Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It's complicated. Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or images ... So why would I want anything to do with this illness? Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; ... worn death 'as close as dungarees', appreciated it - and life - more; seen the finest and most terrible in people ... But, normal or manic, I have run faster, thought faster, and loved faster than most I know. And I think much of this is related to my illness - the intensity it gives to things"

-- An Unquiet Mind - Kay Redfield Jamison (author and psychiatrist)


  1. Anonymous13 May, 2007

    I attended a lecture given by Dr Jamison at my Scottish hospital shortly after my first manic episode. She felt that people under medication can be equally creative.

    I never had the courage at the time to ask "if you had the option would you remove the manic depressive gene if it existed?"

  2. CAVEAT: "As soon as somebody knows that you have a mental illness, they treat you differently," she says. "Particularly if you've written about being psychotic and delusional, people will question your judgment, your rationality." Her colleagues have been supportive, Jamison says, and her status as a tenured professor made the disclosure less risky for her than for most people.

  3. Having read up on Kay Jamison my "gruntles" seem to have become misplaced. I posted this comment on an "An Unquiet Mind" puff-piece:

    It's suspicious to me that Kay Jamison first sought counselling three months after becoming a tenured professor. I wonder if she wasn't drawn to psychology all along knowing she was a little unhinged already. I was diagnosed bipolar at age seventeen and wasn't able to complete highschool due to the debilitating and stigmatising effects of my treatment. No tenured proffesorships here, but I did manage to acquire a BFA and am now a visiting professor. I feel I took the hard way, not the repressed Brooks Brothers disguised route, but then again I didn't have the benefit of an air force upbringing to assist me in my charade. And one more thing: I've been medication-free for over ten years. Let's see Kay Jamison recommend that from her psychiatric industry ensconced coccoon.

  4. It seems as if some of us are on the same wave-length at the moment.

  5. theres no way i am going to choose manic depression instead of bipolar! yes, it did make me a better person but it will also probably kill me sooner. Hypomania comes as a wonderful relief to all my tensions and release all the built up pressure. Meds are no good in comparison to hypomania.

  6. Not me- I would totally choose to lose the bi-polar if I could. If I could get rid of it right now this minute - I would. If I could redo my life without it. I would. There has not been one moment in my life where I would say any different.

  7. reasons I would lose it. It has destroyed my career. Medications and illness will shorten my life. It has hurt my children. High? yeah its fun, but I make bad decisions and the consequences affect not only me but my loved ones. This illness hurt everyone around me and myself. Creativity? screw that. One I have very little. Two it would never replace the damage done. Broken marriages, drug abuse, unstable childhoods for my children. NO FREAKING WAY would I have ever have chosen this. I am more educated now about this illness and consequently handle it better, but the damage ........

  8. I feel it was largely the unawareness of manic-depression which turned my life into a total clusterfuck.

    But I do feel ok with who I am now. At the moment anyway. And do realize things could be a lot worst...

  9. Anonymous14 May, 2007

    I'm just going to be pedantic and mention that Dr. Jamison is a clinical psychologist, not a psychiatrist.

    When I'm feeling good, I think I'd choose to have this illness. When I'm feeling bad, I'd do anything to make it go away.

  10. Now's there's the question - would I pick to be bipolar?


    If everyone in my whole life has been telling me I'm 'too sensitive' like its just a silly little thing, I think I could live with myself just fine without the illness. I think I'd still be quite sensitive enough. In other words I don't neeed to feel so darn much. I'd really like if they'd do what they say is the point and get a med that actually made me feel like a normal person. There too busy stopping pain or finding the new high.

    I am one of those bipolars who has experience psychotica. I could have lived without that and all the stunting that comes with it - a college degree (miracle) w/ no career, complete inability to make friends (I am an apparent social idiot). The anger I experience on a near daily basis for no seeming good reason at all is a good reason to lose the stinkin' scent de bipolar. Since we can't, it makes sense to wallow/remember the thrills of talents and gifts we most likely were meant to be bestowed with anyway. If not, how the heck do the normies live with themselves. Normie=judmental to me, so there's no happiness in it. It feels like live with it and shutup. How cute that life is difficult for you. Now I want to hear nothing more of it.

    I guess I just don't accept these things about myself still. And that's where the real answer is. Either you haven't had the scary Devil's in your face psychosis to even know how bad this illness can be or you are a very simple person, and God bless you, very accepting of yourself whoever you might be.


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