This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What are the most noteworthy An Unquiet Mind quotes by K.R. Jamison? What can these quotes teach you about mental illness?
These three An Unquiet Mind quotes are taken from different parts of Jamison’s memoir. In that book, she recounts her experience living with manic depression.
Read these four An Unquiet Mind quotes about living with mental illness.
An Unquiet Mind Quotes
“The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one’s marrow.“
Jamison’s manic states were huge and explosive periods of creativity and productivity. She threw herself into sports, school activities, socializing with friends, books, writing, and elaborate plans for her future. She was like a wind-up doll that never had to be rewound. She felt amazing during these periods. Her mind took in information quickly and deciphered it even faster. Math came easily, her mind was clear and focused, and the world made sense. Here is how she describes how she felt during her manic episodes:
“If I can’t feel, if I can’t move, if I can’t think, and I can’t care, then what conceivable point is there in living?“
During her depressive episodes, Jamison felt as though she was trapped in an unrelenting bitter winter in her mind with no way to dig herself out. She contemplated ending her suffering and the burden on those in her life by killing herself. She thought that suicide would be a noble and compassionate act.
“Lithium prevents my seductive but disastrous highs, diminishes my depressions, clears out the wool and webbing from my disordered thinking, slows me down, gentles me out, keeps me from ruining my career and relationships, keeps me out of a hospital, alive, and makes psychotherapy possible.“
Although Jamison was reluctant to take lithium, she knew that the medication was required for her recovery. The lithium dampened the strength of her delusions, mood swings, and confused thinking. It dulled the edges of her thoughts and helped her slow down. It also allowed her to be more civil and professional, which helped her to keep her career.
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Here's what you'll find in our full An Unquiet Mind summary :
- How Kay Redfield Jamison first experienced a manic episode at the age of 17
- How her illness made Jamison buy taxidermied animals and multiple Rolexes
- Why Jamison believes there are positives to her manic episodes