Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Exploring moods

Book: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Author: Kay Redfield Jamison
Published: 1995 (Vintage)
Pages: 219

The thing about reading books on mental illnesses is that they all tend to get into the same groups of rhythms, which makes complete sense since that’s how you diagnose them in the first place – by recognizing a pattern of symptoms.

That doesn’t take away from each individual’s personal experience, but it does make sort of repetitive reading from all but the most nuanced writers, and Jamison very nearly qualifies for two reasons: she studies manic-depression, so she has like a whole extra dimension of expression that she can use, and she’s a poet, so she tends to pick the elegant stuff.

Hers is still an arc familiar enough to maybe be labeled a  trope by now: denial, ruin, discovery, recovery, relapse, repeat, finally catch. I mean I’m still really psyched for her, though, because no matter how many times I read the same general things about it, manic-depression sounds like absolute devastation.

I’m keeping this on my bookshelf because I don’t have a memoir of moods and madness yet unless you count the half-dozen books on writing and writers. 

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