Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nothing Was The Same 2009

by Kay Jamison
From The Washington Post: "It has been said that grief is a kind of madness. I disagree. There is a sanity to grief, in its just proportion of emotion to cause, that madness does not have." So writes Kay Redfield Jamison, the clinical psychologist whose widely acclaimed 1995 memoir, "An Unquiet Mind," revealed her lifelong struggle with manic-depressive illness. "Nothing Was the Same" is the story of her marriage to the late Richard Wyatt, a man who overcame severe childhood dyslexia to become a leader in schizophrenia research. With the blend of straightforward frankness and poetic eloquence for which her earlier book drew praise, Jamison describes the almost 20 years of their life together as a love affair that encompassed not only their shared work, colleagues, family and friends, but also her mental illness and the cancer that ultimately claimed his life in 2002. One thing that makes this book especially compelling is its quiet matter-of-factness in the face of personal catastrophe. This is not lack of feeling. On the contrary, Jamison periodically offers a brief, chilling glimpse of her sufferings with bipolar disorder, once writing to her husband: "There are moments when you provide a minute of sweetness and belief, and then the blackness comes again. I shall be done for one of these times. No matter what I do, this illness will always bring me to my knees."

This is a moving book. The chapter "Mourning and Melancholia" is especially important in that it differentiates between depression and grief.

It's a fine companion piece to An Unquiet Mind.