Recently a friend introduced me to the works of Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist who is one of the foremost experts on Bipolar Disorder – and who has Bipolar herself. Here are some words that stood out to another unquiet mind.
  1. "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?"
  2. "We all build internal sea walls to keep at bay the sadnesses of life and the often overwhelming forces within our minds. In whatever way we do this – through love, work, family, faith, friends, denial, alcohol, drugs or medication – we build these walls, stone by stone, over a lifetime."
  3. "I am tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide."
  4. "No pill can help me deal with the problem of not wanting to take pills; likewise, no amount of psychotherapy alone can prevent my manias and depressions. I need both. It is an odd thing, owing life to pills, one's own quirks and tenacities, and this unique, strange and ultimately profound relationship called psychotherapy."
  5. "Which of my feelings are real? Which of the me's is me? The wild, impulsive, chaotic, energetic, and crazy one? Or the shy, withdrawn, desperate, suicidal, doomed and tired one? Probably a bit of both, hopefully much that is neither."
  6. "Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or images. It bleeds relationships through suspicion, lack of confidence and self-respect, the inability to enjoy life, to walk or talk or think normally, the exhaustion, the night terrors, the day terrors. There is nothing good to be said for it except that it gives you the experience of how it must... to be old, to be old and sick, to be dying; to be slow of mind; to be lacking in grace, polish and coordination; to be ugly, to have no belief in the possibilities of life, the pleasures of sex, the exquisiteness of music or the ability to make yourself and others laugh."
  7. "Others imply that they know what it is like to be depressed because they have gone through a divorce, lost a job, or broken up with someone. But these experiences carry with them feelings. Depression, instead, is flat, hollow and unendurable. It is also tiresome. People cannot abide being around you when you are depressed. They think that they...
    ...ought to, and they might even try, but you know and they know that you are tedious beyond belief: you are irritable and paranoid and humourless and lifeless and critical and demanding and no reassurance is ever enough. You're frightened, and you're frightening, and you're 'not at all like yourself, but will be soon,' but you know you won't."
  8. "It took me far too long to realise that lost years and relationships cannot be recovered. That damage done to oneself and others cannot always be put right again."
  9. "Time will pass; these moods will pass; and I will, eventually, be myself again. But then, at some unknown time, the electrifying carnival will come back into my mind."
  10. "I look back over my shoulder and feel the presence of an intense young girl and then a volatile and disturbed woman, both with high dreams and restless, romantic aspirations."
  11. "I had simply been treading water, settling on surviving and avoiding pain rather than being actively involved in seeking out life."
  12. "But, with time, one has encountered many of these monsters, and one is increasingly less terrified of those still to be met."
  13. "Without science, there would be no such hope."