Coming out with An Unquiet Mind
“There is no easy way to tell other people that you have manic-depressive illness; if there is, I haven’t found it.” (1) Kay Redfield Jamison’s words reverberate in my mind as I write this paper. Many people that I have read reactions from tend to agree that it is extremely difficult. But Jamison’s decision to become public about her illness, no matter how difficult it was, is something I will forever be grateful for. When discussing this decision in a public forum, Kay Redfield Jamison stated, “One of the advantages of having had manic depressive illness for as long as I have, for so many years, is that very little else seems insurmountably difficult.” (2) For this simple quote says so much about a wonderful woman who has taught me so much through her literature and will continue to as I purchase more and more of her writing. The quote was taken from a lecture right before she went on to describe her anxieties about going public with her illness. Later in the lecture she addresses that many people have lots of anxiety about going public with this illness. Before becoming public about her illness, Kay wrote of her experiences anonymously. One article that she wrote was, Rules for the Gracious Acceptance of Lithium into Your Life (2) Jamison explains in this lecture that she wrote this after realizing that her residents and interns did not seem to understand why patients would struggle and resist medication. Though this material was accepted and a great teaching tool, it was written without the recipient knowing that the woman that had written it was incredibly successful in the academic world.
In the same lecture, she states that one of the reasons that she was anxious about going public with her illness was that she didn’t want to bring bad publicity to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Professional reasons are a large part of why people choose not to reveal that they have a mental illness. In...
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