This book. Wow. A memoir written by a woman with manic-depressive disorder, sometimes also known as bipolar disorder. Comparable to The Center Cannot Hold (written by a woman with schizophrenia), for me, this book was more powerful (though both are excellent and highly recommended).
Kay Redfield Jamison takes us through her journey with manic-depression, through schooling and education, romantic relationships, friendships, and studying abroad. Her prose is poetic, lyrical, explorative, and beautiful. She is excellent at creating romantic and evocative atmosphere. The way she describes the dark, horrific lows of her depressive episodes contrasted with her descriptions of mania, which sound sparking, cosmic, wild, and thrilling, is superb.
This book changed what I think about manic-depression. It opened my mind and challenged some of my prior assumptions.
The story is, ultimately, a love story as well. About the people who turn towards you when so many others would turn away, and about the way that love can shield and buoy us from life’s hardest, darkest, and most challenging times. It is a story about what true love and real friendship means, of how it is embodied (and, of course, it isn’t displayed by words but by action).
This story is inspiring and motivational. It’s shocking and gripping. It’s emotionally moving. It’s eye and mind opening. Everyone should read it. It’s a short, fast, incredibly worthwhile read.
For more of my writing on topics including romantic relationships, friendship, culture and politics, feminism, health (mental and physical), and, of course, reading and books, check out www.brookeenglish.com or my main page on Medium.com.