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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"An Unquiet Mind", quiet depressed minds, and unquiet manic, or hypo-manic, or merely energetic, minds


       As you may recall from reading this blog, I'm reading "An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness" by Kay Redfield Jamison, a PhD psychologist who suffers from terrible manic-depressive illness.  I've gained a more concrete appreciation of what true bipolar disorder is all about from the book.  Also, I now am certain I do not have it.  I was probably a bit hypo-manic (mildly, or moderately, elevated mood) back in February at the beginning of my recovery from my suicidal depression of last fall, and some people thought I was straight-on manic.  Now that I've been off all psycho-tropic medication for the past month, I'm sleeping well, although I don't need a lot of sleep, I'm not (never have, actually) going on buying sprees, I'm not gambling at the Indian casinos, I'm not pulling my pants down at  church services on Sunday (not that I ever did pull my pants down except when undressing for the night, or other socially-acceptable times), and my mind isn't "racing out-of-control" (although some people say I'm sometimes exhausting to be around; I certainly have re-gained--since I had this quality even before my depression last fall and my "hypo-mania" this past winter--my capacity for free-thinking, free-associative thinking, storytelling, wanting to entertain, and the like, which had totally evaporated last fall, during my deep depression).

       In "An Unquiet Mind" Dr. Jamison makes some interesting observations about depression and mania.

       She writes: "Depression, somehow, is much more in line with society's notions of what women are all about: passive, sensitive, hopeless, helpless, stricken, dependent, confused, rather tiresome, and with limited aspirations.  Manic states, on the other hand, seem to be more the provenance of men: restless, fiery, aggressive, volatile, energetic, risk taking, grandiose and visionary, and impatient with the status quo.  Anger or irritability in men, under such circumstances, is more tolerated and understandable; leaders or takers of voyages are permitted a wider latitude for being temperamental."  She goes on to note that depression is twice as common in women as in men, but manic-depressive illness is equally common to both.  And finally, women, "like men who have manic-depressive illness, also often contribute a great deal of energy, fire, enthusiasm, and imagination to the people and world around them."  "An Unquiet Mind", pp. 122-123.

       I'm glad I found out last fall that I am fully capable of acting "in line with society's notions of what women are all about," as well as having the (I would characterize it) hypo-manic states which "seem to be more the provenance of men."  I'll leave it to others to decide whether my man-like states of what I understand to be, at worst, or best, hypo-mania, and not full-fledged mania, contibute energy, fire, enthuiasm, and imagination to the people and world around me, or merely over-the-top, "inappropriate," behavior and verbal productions, written and particularly oral, in need of "mood stabilization," or, perhaps some would argue, castration, either physical or chemical.  lol

       Whatever, it's all good.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  

1 comment:

  1. Some interesting material I've come across;

    about depression...

    Darkness Visible, William Styron
    "and so we came forth and once again beheld the stars"

    Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry - A Doctor's Revelations about a Profession in Crisis, Daniel Carlat

    about the brain...

    The Brain That Changes Its Self, Norman Doidge

    The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks (and his many other books)

    Jill Bolte Taylor's 'stroke of insight', a video on TED.com

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