Ancalime (ancalime8301) wrote in sistersofeowyn,

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on An Unquiet Mind

I first read this book just over two years ago at febobe's urging. I loved it then -as a matter of fact, I loved it enough to use its ideas to base a paper and presentation in an Honors BioSci class (DNA in Everyday Lives, or something like that) because I found it disturbing that my classmates generally held the opinion that the mentally ill aren't really that sick, that they can just get over it if they try hard enough. I wanted to at least introduce doubt into that line of reasoning, if not overthrow it entirely (though I'm not sure I succeeded :p).

To me, this book is the epitome of what is wrong with so many of society's preconceptions/misconceptions about mental illness, and bipolar specifically. It gently contradicts the stereotypes of what it means to have a mental illness, and helps destigmatize mental illness by showing that truly anyone can have one, even someone with a Ph.D. and what seems to be a pretty typical life in other respects. Dr. Jamison tells such a wonderful story with incredible skill and detail that makes you almost understand what it was like to be in her head regardless of whether or not you have personally struggled with mental illness. I deeply appreciate her willingness to bare her soul to help those on the outside comprehend a bit better what their friend/family member/coworker might be dealing with.

I enjoyed the spots of humor, like the "Rules for gracious acceptance of lithium into your life" and the way she can look back and see the lighter side of some of her experiences without making it seem like the entire time wasn't as bad as it seemed -she conveys the utter darkness of her depressions just as poignantly.

This seems an utterly inadequate assessment of the book, but it's very hard to put into words how it has affected my thinking, since I don't really remember how I thought about these things before reading it. :) I do continue to absorb new things on each re-read, which is perhaps the highest praise I can give it.
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