An Unquiet Mind

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn’t work for me, the answer would be a simple no and it would be an answer laced with terror. But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question.

Strangely enough I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated. Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or images… So why would I want anything to do with this illness?

Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters… and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty and seeing things through. …Depressed, I have crawled on my hands and knees in order to get across a room and have done it for month after month. But, normal or manic, I have run faster, thought faster and loved faster than most I know.”

-Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind

Just wanted to share that passage from a book that once changed my life . The bold words feel as if they are my own, and for whatever reason, I felt compelled to share them this evening. Perhaps, there is someone else who needed to hear them too?

Chrysti

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29 Responses

  1. Chrysti!
    You put it quite eloquently! I can so relate. I wish others could…but that’s what separates us from others. We feel more deeply and more intensely! We need to embrace it! (that’s why we have chosen the art path…a beautiful expression of ourselves!) I truly believe that….and wish more people understood.

    I think my middle name is “misunderstood”! Stay strong! Love you girl!!!!

    Julie

  2. Chrysti: I also read the Unquiet Mind (it’s been quite a few years now though!) and yes, I do totally agree with Jamison’s words. As much as my mental disabilities often affect me negatively, I don’t know how to be anything else other than what I am. So how am I to know that the alternative to not being what I am is better? I’d take being depressed over being numb… at least I’m feeling something.

  3. Thanks Chrysti for posting this – those words in bold hold a lot of meaning for me too. Until my fibromyalgia and arthritis and depression got severe enough to disable me and put me permanently out of work, I bypassed and overlooked a lot in life. One thing I think a disorder or whatever term is used, does that I have come to realize as a blessing is that it stops you in your tracks at some point and you learn to prioritize and cull out areas of your life and you see the important things and learn not to worry about the unimportant. Having to let go is hard, but looking back, it has been worth it.

  4. tI am one of those that needed to hear those words tonight. I often think that I would do anything to NOT have all of the mental “conditions” I have but upon closer inspection and thought, I don’t know who I would be without them. I certainly wouldn’t be me. I often write about my depression or my panic/anxiety disorder because they are as much a part of who I am as my hair color, my children or my favorite foods…but they do NOT define the whole of me, they are but a part.
    Peace & Love,
    ~Barb~

  5. A great passage with some thought provoking words. I would like to be the voice of dissent though. I often have depression and am plagued by social anxiety, over sensitivity and panic. I would choose not to have these for the simple reason that I could hold down a proper job, keep relationships on a even keel, meet other people when life lets me down and many other reasons in between. Medications I have tried have only made things worse and did not solve my issues. I may feel deeper, love more deeply and run faster but I would give anything for some old fashioned peace.

  6. Those words are beautiful. I just requested this book from my library and look foward to reading it.

    Thank you, Chrysti. You are amazing.

  7. A lovely way to describe it. Beautiful.

  8. Thank you Chrysti once again for putting ‘out there’ something so very thought-provoking and insightful. I don’t suffer from anything other than ordinary (if you want to call it that) depression so cannot really comprehend what you, and some of the commenters, are dealing with. However, to help me understand, I’m heading for the library to see if I can get this book!!

  9. Dear Chrysti,

    Last night was a very bad one for me. Feeling terribly hopeless about the future, I mindlessly flipped pages of a two year old magazine. I have no idea what I was looking at, but for some inexplicable reason, your website address got my attention! I wrote it down & first thing this morning I went on the computer to check it out. When your site re-directed me to your blog & I read the quote you included from Kay Redfield Jamison, I was stunned!!!!
    It was as though you had reached out to me from the pages of a magazine in order to provide, desperately needed, comfort! Fate, karma….whatever it is, I’m very thankful for it because those words & your comment felt like a great big group hug! I’m not alone in my strange emotional world. There are others….many others. I know this, but to be reminded when you feel at your lowest, is so precious. It reminds us that others have felt exactly the same pain as we feel and that we are not abnormal or flawed. We are an important & significant person in each of our lives.
    Thank you so, so much Chrysti. You made a difference in my day.

    With Warmest Thoughts,
    PinkSt

  10. Beautiful image and such a thought provoking passage. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. this post brought tears to my eyes — you are such an amazingly beautiful soul.

    Much Love,
    Susan

    And I see you are a cover girl!!! Way to go!!!! It is beautiful!!

    xoxox

  12. today, now, i would gladly relive life without debilitating depression. but thank you for the reminder that there have been moments in life i would not have experienced if i were not exactly who i am.

    however, i am of like mind with gillian: “I would choose not to have these for the simple reason that…keep relationships on a even keel, meet other people when life lets me down and many other reasons in between.”

    i want ….

  13. I am thankful for the life I have.
    Thankful for compassion for those who are different.
    Thankful I see and feel deeply.

    I agree with Susan Tuttle you are beautiful!

  14. Wow! It hits home. I need to get this book and read it. Tomorrow…. trip to the library.

    Thank you Chrysti! Again ! And again! And again!

  15. All of us are touched by depression in some way- for me, it is living with a husband with depression. It is difficult to live with this way too. Thank you for your insight and beautiful words-Nancy

  16. Thank you for that , as a Parent of 2 ADHD children ( one severe with ODD) and being diagnosed myself as an Adult with ADHD ( but looking back over shildhood, and the for “needs improvement’ on the “exercises self control” on the report card shows that I was all my life…the above rings true, then after becoming injured-on-the-job in 2005, and losing the ability to work, (because those 2 injuries were on top of other injuries and ailments) I am now disabled and not working, so have been diagnosed with post-traumatic Depression and anxiety…I like my good friend Joni above,…you see what is important, and can “cull out what isn’t”. I can also agree with another artist-acquaintance–Gillian Mc….that the meds can also be a problem, especially when you have tried many and they only add to your symptoms, and in my case…have GREAT insomnia….I would also love some peace, even if it is only once or twice a week.

    Anyway….this is a great time for a GROUP HUG!

    Love, Peace and hugs to you all,
    Susan

  17. Thank you for that , as a Parent of 2 ADHD children (one severe with ODD) and being diagnosed myself as an Adult with ADHD (but looking back over shildhood, and the for “needs improvement’ on the “exercises self control” on the report card shows that I was all my life…the above rings true, then after becoming injured-on-the-job in 2005, and losing the ability to work, (because those 2 injuries were on top of other injuries and ailments) I am now disabled and not working, so have been diagnosed with post-traumatic Depression and anxiety…I like my good friend Joni above,…you see what is important, and can “cull out what isn’t”. I can also agree with another artist-acquaintance–Gillian Mc….that the meds can also be a problem, especially when you have tried many and they only add to your symptoms, and in my case…have GREAT insomnia….I would also love some peace, even if it is only once or twice a week.

    Anyway….this is a great time for a GROUP HUG!

    Love, Peace and hugs to you all,
    Susan

  18. sorry, not sure how that submitted twice.
    S

  19. Hi Chrysti, I’m the lucky winner of Cate’s signed copy of Mixed Media Self Portraits – thank you so much, to you, and to Cate!!

    BUT … I need to let you know that it hasn’t arrived yet – and I’m worried that it’s got lost in our postal system :-(

    Could you please let me know when Cate sent it, so I can try to track it down if it’s got lost, thank you. I’ve been to Cate’s blog and left her a message as well.

    many hugs
    Lynette McNamara
    Thames, New Zealand

    Posted by: purplemajic | F

  20. I was the winner of one of the ornaments, ( to be specialized by you) so I am being patient. :) But please do send an email when it is on it’s way.
    Thanks :)

  21. Thank you for this entry. I have ordered the book. Your honesty is completely refreshing. Have a wonderful new week !!!

  22. I’m going to order that book – I honestly needed to hear that. I leave my job next Friday because of illness and depression – I have poured 5 years of my life into my career of teaching and am SO upset that I cannot cope.

  23. The book came in. I’m going to read it this weekend. Thank you for opening my eyes to something new.

  24. What a beautiful, honest quote about living with Bipolar! I definitely relate to it, and will have to check out the book. I also wanted to say thanks for sharing your amazing art with us- it’s so inspiring!

    -Michelle

  25. A month later I wonder in, all set with my cup of tea to “catch-up” on what you have been up to. You are a favorite in my world of Mixed media, Collage, & wonder Art. See I am Bipolar and suffer so as you. I have found the reason to even wake up some days because of your connection with our disease and the way only your art and words can free the pain for me. So …back to the cup of tea, warm blanket and all ready and there you go….This post…..This post that made me cry that has made me glad again that I am different, and so very happy you can reach me and the so many others. You are my jolt, slap, energy, almost like when you are ridding a rollercoaster and as the ride is moving faster and faster up and down around and around on this metal track that you can see and know moment by moment that there will be fun at some point, then you realize you are going forward fast as planned then it happens your body is pulled to the right or to the left and you can see that the machine is moving in a forward straight line! You smile, maybe even laugh because that’s the secret , the mystery. The unexpected planned mystery. Thank you my friend.

  26. I bet it feels awesome knowing how many people you touched with those words and that image. You’ve inspired me for sure!

  27. I am a psych nurse and manic.. this book is amazing.. FYI.. manic/bipolars are the MOST creative… FACT!

  28. Not sure you’ll see this way down here, but I came across your feature on Art-Ography in CPS, found you had an Etsy store (which my good friend is riding me to take part in also), then further explored your shop, website, blog, etc. and in doing so, realize you (and many others) are living with BiPolar Disorder as well. I’m very new to mixed-media, but not to this disease I’ve suffered yet triumphed thru for twenty-five years. As another said above, it was so shocking to be reminded and still greatly moved by Jamison’s words I read so many years ago. This winter has been one of my coldest, darkest, heaviest… to find you, your work, your words has brought spring to heart… constant renewing and rebirth. Thank you.

    Bren
    (another kindred soul)

  29. Not that I’m totally impressed, but this is a lot more than I expected when I found a link on Delicious telling that the info is awesome. Thanks.
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

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