“An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison

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“It goes on and on, and finally there are only others’ recollections of your behavior–your bizarre, frenetic, aimless behaviors–for mania has at least some grace in partially obliterating memory.”

“But then back on lithium and rotating on the same planet at the same pace as everyone else, you find your credit is decimated, your mortification complete: mania is not a luxury one can easily afford. It is devastating to have the illness and aggravating to have to pay for medications, blood tests, and psychotherapy. They, at least, are partially deductible. But money spent while manic doesn’t fit into the Internal Revenue Service’s concept of medical expense or business loss. So, after mania, when most depressed, you’re given excellent reason to be more so.”

“Endless and terrifying days of endless and terrifying drugs . . . finally took effect. I could feel my mind being reined in, slowed down, and put on hold. But it was a very long time until I recognized my mind again, and much longer until I trusted it.”

“Suicide, however, is almost always an irrational act and seldom is it accompanied by the kind of rigorous intellect that goes with one’s better days. It is also often impulsive and not necessarily undertaken in the way one originally had planned.”

“Often the only thing that would keep me going was the belief, instilled by my mother years before, that will and grit and responsibility are what ultimately make us supremely human in our existence. For each terrible storm that came my way, my mother–her love and her strong sense of values–provided me with powerful and sustaining, countervailing winds.”

“Volatility and passion, although often more romantic and exciting, are not intrinsically preferable to a steadiness of experience and feeling about another person . . .”

“I am too frightened that I will again become morbidly depressed or virulently manic–either of which would, in turn, rip apart every aspect of my life, relationships, and work that I find most meaningful . . .”

“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; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the Springs, for all the Winters; worn death “as close as dungarees”, appreciate it and life–more; seen thee finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through. I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are; and how ultimately unknowable they both are.”

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