Jamison Shares Personal Experience with Bipolar Disease

January 24, 2012

Kay Redfield Jamison lectures in the Knowles Memorial Chapel. Photo by David Noe.


With unabashed candor and a touch of humor, professor, researcher, and author Kay Redfield Jamison shared her personal experience with bipolar disease during Winter Park Institute’s first event of the spring 2012 season.
Professor of Psychology David Richard began the evening with a glowing introduction, praising Jamison for not only being a preeminent scholar and advocate in the field of mood disorders but also for being “a writer of beautiful prose.”
Jamison is widely recognized for her moving and sometimes brazenly personal account of her battle with bipolar disease. She made the difficult decision more than a decade ago to reveal publicly her experience through several books, including An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, which she frequently read from throughout her lecture in the Knowles Memorial Chapel on Monday, January 23.
The decision to disclose her illness to the world wasn’t, as Jamison confessed, an easy one. But reading from An Unquiet Mind, she told the capacity crowd that she was “tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide.”

 “One is what one is, and the dishonesty of hiding behind a degree, or a title, or any manner and collection of words, is still, exactly that: dishonest,” she said. “Necessary, perhaps, but dishonest.” Her frankness and knowledge was deeply appreciated by the audience who concluded the lecture by giving Jamison a standing ovation.
The following day, Jamison presented the lecture “Depression and Bipolar Disorders in College Students.” Having studied bipolar disease extensively and finding that onset is most likely to occur during the late teen and college years, Jamison has a particular passion for discussing mental health issues in the college student population. Inside the packed Bush Auditorium, she shared her knowledge and experience with both students and interested members of the community.

By Kristen Manieri

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