Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Excerpt from "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison

So a friend of mine shared this on facebook a bit earlier and it just really stood out to me. now i want to go read the book.

"Both my manias and depressions had violent sides to them. Violence, especially if you are a woman, is not something spoken about with ease. Being wildly out of control – physically assaultive, screaming insanely at the top of one’s lungs, running frenetically with no purpose or limit, or impulsively trying to leap from cars – is frightening to others and unspeakably terrifying to oneself. In blind manic rages I have done all of these things, at one time or another and some of them repeatedly; I remain acutely and painfully aware of how difficult it is to control or understand such behaviors, much less explain them to others. I have, in my psychotic, seizure-like attacks – my black, agitated manias – destroyed things I cherish, pushed to the utter edge people I love, and survived to think I could never recover from the shame. I have been physically restrained by terrible, brute force; kicked and pushed to the floor; thrown on my stomach with my hands pinned behind my back; and heavily medicated against my will.
I do not know how I have recovered from having done the things that necessitated such actions, any more than I know how and why my relationships with friends and lovers have survived the grinding wear and tear of such dark, fierce, and damaging energy. The aftermath of such violence, like the aftermath of a suicide attempt, is deeply bruising to all concerned. And, as with a suicide attempt, living with the knowledge that one has been violent forces a difficult reconciliation of totally divergent notions of oneself. After my suicide attempt, I had to reconcile my image of myself as a young girl who had been filled with enthusiasm, high hopes, great expectations, enormous energy, and dreams and love of life, with that of a dreary, crabbed, pained woman who desperately wished only for death and took a lethal dose of lithium in order to accomplish it. After each of my violent psychotic episodes, I had to try and reconcile my notion of myself as a reasonably quiet-spoken and highly disciplined person, one at least generally sensitive to the moods and feelings of others with an enraged, utterly insane, and abusive woman who lost access to all control or reason.
These discrepancies between what one is...brought up to believe is the right way of behaving toward others, and what actually happens during these [episodes] are…disturbing beyond description. “

“Uncontrollable anger and violence are dreadfully, irreconcilably, far from a civilized and predictable world.”

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