An Unquiet Mind is a profound and heartbreaking book. I read it in two sittings and it enthralled and engrossed me with its exquisite writing style and disquieting, groundbreaking story.
This book is an autobiographical account of the author's mental illness: manic depressive illness/bipolar disorder. This illness is frequently referred to as madness, and as you read through the pages, you get to glimpse the horror of being afflicted with a mental illness as deadly as manic depressive illness.
What is particularly impressive and a strange quirk of fate is that the author herself is a top notch psychologist and is one of the leading experts on manic depressive illness. Throughout the book, you get to see how vulnerable and helpless the patient truly is, how powerful and annihilating manic depressive illness is and how societal prejudice and stigma still prevails, and how hard it is psychologically to accept and confront the illness. You get to see how manic depressive illness turns a person into zombie mode with no energy and how it plunges a person into a manic frenzy of high energy. Hallucinations, suicide attempts, depression, desperation - as you read about the madness wreaked by this disease, you are left with a sense of how crippling and formidable manic depressive illness is.
You learn a lot. That keeping the illness under control is a full time job in itself. That the illness can only be controlled by a combination of medications and psychotherapy. That the highly charged and hyperactive state is something out of the ordinary like being a superman and the debilitating depression that follows is morbid, dark and psychotic. That thoughts fly at lightening speed and the frenzied bout of ideas and energy turns a person into a prolific, manic machine. That an unquiet mind, a mad mind is capable of genius. That manic depressive illness can trigger and accelerate cerebral and creative pursuits by leaps and bounds.
In the end, the author does acknowledge that though this illness was a dreadful monster, a lot of her personal drive, energy, passion and career endeavors bloomed as a result of the hyper charged state from the illness.
I absolutely recommend reading this fascinating book.
The love for books & a hunger for stories was programmed into my DNA. And, sooner than later, life experiences sealed the deal. Books have saved me, transformed my life, enlightened me and have shown me the path I must walk. In a way, far too many books have played the role of kindred spirits and guides, leading the seeker in me to answers and paving a way for a new way of life. Books have helped me keep my wits, my sense of wonder, my sense of mystery and curiosity & my sanity in a life that has been anything but predictable and normal.