In her epic decision to crash through the wall of silence, clinician Kay Redfield Jamison made the bold decision in 1995 to reveal that she has bipolar disorder. Her bestseller, An Unquiet Mind, describes her terrible depressions that led to a suicide attempt and her elevated highs that caused reckless spending sprees and acts of violence.
Her revelation was courageous. She stepped forward at a time when others didn’t in the midst of a successful career, placing her life’s vocation at risk. Even more impressive, she went on to become one of the nation’s leading experts on mood disorders. She is the definition of a courageous trailblazer and all those who have followed in her footsteps are indebted to her bravery.
She was resistant to taking medications, something those with mental health conditions understand. Her firsthand experience lends clout to her anguish and makes her words ring true with authenticity. She has helped reduce the mental health stigma that pervades the medical community; a feat that few have dared to attempt. In so doing, she has saved lives and given hope to those who have, at moments, lost faith:
Time will pass; these moods will pass; and eventually, I will be myself again. Kay Redfield Jamison
I see her as a towering figure of truthfulness and integrity. We humans struggle to chart our own journeys in life but can’t do so without those role models who have inspired us to follow in their inspirational footsteps. There are few in life who I admire more than her. We would do well to remember all those who have cleared the way for us to survive and thrive. In our own unquiet minds, we move in the direction of peace and contentment only because others have shined a light on our pathway forward. Thank you, Kay.
2 thoughts on “Quieting our Unquiet Minds”
Even though some famous people had come out about having a mental illness, Kay Redfield Jamison was a game-changer. When I read her autobiography, it spoke to me directly. Until then, I had not even accepted my diagnosis as an illness. I insisted it was just a problem that reared its ugly head every so often. (mania). In fact, it was so much fun when I was hypomanic. I was productive, funny, fun to be around. How could that be an illness? But when it would escalate and I would get myself into big trouble, I still thought I was fine. In fact, I would misquote the book, “I’m OK, You’re OK” to be I’m OK, you’re f’ed up. I was in and out of hospitals, in and out of jobs, in and out of colleges, but I was “fine.” Reading “An Unquiet Mind” was a real revelation for me. I then went to listen to Kay Redfield Jamison twice when she came to the Chicago area, and I still look her up on Youtube to hear what she has to say. To say she’s a great role model may sound trite, but she is. Thank you for sharing how it impacted you, Dr. Budin.
Thank you, Irene for sharing your story. Brave! I’m always drawn to people that inspire me and Kay does that. We are blessed by those who blaze trails for us. We’re lucky to have her as a fellow traveler.