Summer Reading: An Unquiet Mind

anger inside

“I had a terrible temper, after all, and though it rarely erupted, when it did it frightened meand anyone near its epi-center. It was the only crack, but a disturbing one, in the otherwise vacuum-sealed casing of my behaviour. God only knew what ran underneath the fierce self-discipline and emotional control that had come with my upbringing. but the cracks were there, I knew it and they frightened me.”
– An Unquiet Mind –

Recently I’ve had troubles being on my computer. As this is where I work, and have spent the last months because of my depression, I suddenly just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t concentrate on anything I did for a long time. I couldn’t watch a film, or a TV show, or at the end: even short youtube videos. I really hated being on the computer, and I still do at time. What this led me to however, was finding other ways to distract my mind.

On Twitter, I’ve started following accounts and “support” groups for people with mental illnesses (my therapist was very sceptical in calling it that haha, but we are a bunch of people who can anonymously share our stories and not get judged, so I think it’s as close as I can get without actually going to one!)

Anyway, I realised that reading about what these people are going through or have been through made me feel very much less alone, it helps a lot! So as a result, I googled “mental health books” found a few lists (THIS for example) and went to Barnes and Nobles to see what I could find.

I used to absolutely LOVE to read when I was younger, I even taught myself to read and write before I started school. Sadly, at around middle school, I lost the joy. Mostly because I started having a hard time at school, and my love for learning kind of faded as I had to focus on just getting through the day. Ever since then, I haven’t read as much as I would’ve liked to. From time to time I’ve found a book I could finish. I still LOVE to buy books, because I love learning new things, so I have A LOT of them just hanging around!

Anyway! Point is!

Now that I’ve gotten so tired of computers, this joy for books have come back a little bit, and my plan is to steadily read this summer! I guess this depression is good for something! 🙂

Here’s a little bit of what I think of the first book I read this summer:

An Unquiet Mind; A Memoir of Moods and Madness,
by Kay Redfield Jamison.

anunmind

I bought this book a while ago because one of the people close to me was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder a few months ago and I wanted to understand more about. Since I have depression and anxiety, I can only relate to a small part of what she’s going through.

This book is about the author’s own experience with Manic Depression. She is a psychologist and speaks from the point of patient and therapist, which I find to be reassuring, since some times, I feel therapists don’t know how it is, they can only assume and pick from what they’ve read.

She talks about her ups and downs, being judged by people who don’t understand, and also being accepted the way she is (which is good to know people can!). How it is to be a mental patient and a doctor, how the stigma sometimes keeps you from not telling the truth in fear of people’s reaction. It’s also about love, loss and escapes. She talks about dealing with medication, not wanting to be on it but realising she has to. So much I can relate to.

The quote in the beginning, I chose because I relate to it so much. I’ve tried to explain to my therapist how I’m terrified of my anger, because it’s so huge, it has so much energy, it’s like a monster inside of me, that’s why I can’t let myself get angry cause I’m scared of what I’ll do or say. But same as her, my control over it is extreme, and my mentality is that most things are not worth getting angry over, so I never stay angry for very long
regardless of what it is. However, it also keeps me from standing upfor myself and I take  too much shit, which isn’t good. It takes a lot out of me to keep it in control, and if I get really pissed off, I’m exhausted for the rest of the day since I can’t let it out. I’m working on how I can let myself get angry, and not let the 28 years of collected anger get out in one explosion towards an innocent person who just made me a tiny bit angry haha. #Goals

Back to the book…

For me, who is not a native English speaker, I find this book to be full of words I didn’t understand. I don’t mind that, but having to look up words all the time, take away the joy at times haha, but at least I learned a lot of new words 8)

This was the first book on another person’s mental illness experience i’ve ever read, and I must say again, it helps me a lot to read these stories. I think I cry at least once during these books because I know I’m not alone, and their description of situations are so accurate! It also gives me the urge to write my own, whether it would be fictional or not!

I do recommend this book for people with mental illness (specially depression and bipolar), or someone who knows people who are going through it. It’s a hard topic, it’s hard to be in this situation, and it’s hard to be an outsider looking in, but the more we all learn, the better it will be!

-Pius-

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