Bipolar I Disorder: A Cycle of Mania and Suicidal Depression

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Bipolar I Disorder: A Cycle of Mania and Suicidal Depression Taryn A. Jones Reading Area Community College

Bipolar I Disorder: A Cycle of Mania and Suicidal Depression

An Unquiet Mind: A memoir of Moods and Madness, Kay Redfield Jamison (1995) gives a clear look into her experience with bipolar I disorder; the wonders and traumas of a mind subjected to the whitest manias, blackest depressions, and every combination in between. Jamison writes a courageous autobiography from a dual perspective, patient and clinical psychologist. Through Jamison's experiences, especially her close encounters with death, she stresses the importance to treat bipolar I disorder with both, medication and psychotherapy. Jamison's (1995) memoir is essentially chronological providing a clear, vivid understanding of her seemingly normal-self during childhood. She was self-assured, sociable, and encouraged by her parents to pursue her interest in medicine.

She grew up in a military family with a history of mental illness. Jamison's older sister and father also suffered from, "intoxicating"(Jamison, p. 42) and black, depressing, cycling moods. Jamison's first manic-depressive episode occurred her senior year in high school. She described the periods of mania as "extraordinary". . . "energetic". . ."high enthusiasm" (Jamison, p. 42). However, when her mania abruptly stopped, depression abruptly started, accompanied with loss of memory, and the ability to comprehend was nearly impossible. She obsessed over killing herself during the bleak of depression. Conflicting moods sustained throughout undergraduate and graduate school. (Jamison, 1995)

Jamison (1995) became a prominent authority on mood disorders, treating patients with the same debilitating disorder she suffered from, and Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, all while trying to conceal her illness. After ten years her moods intensified so severely,