I’m reading it for a discussion group. A bunch of writers sitting around talking about a book while eating and drinking.
I haven’t read the book for years. Not since 1998 or 1999 when I needed it the most.
I needed a real story of a real person who had survived her uncooperative chemistry. In 1998 or 1999, there was very little out there in terms of real stories of struggle. Up to that point, my go-to was Sylvia Plath and I assumed my life would look like hers ultimately.
But Kay Redfield Jamison learned to live with uncooperative chemistry and a bad brain. And I related to her.
There was so much I wanted to do. I had talent, passion and discipline and I wanted to do everything that interested me.
But I also had a mind with a different life plan, a different goal.
Kay Redfield Jamison was living proof that I could do everything I wanted to do while managing the difficult mind I had inherited.
I’m reading Kay Jamison’s books again as I’m starting to tell my own stories.
Telling my own stories is not an easy task. It scares me to think that others will know so much about times in my life that were shameful, embarrassing, and flat out torturous for me and those who loved me.
I know I shouldn’t feel shame and embarrassment, but those are the feelings.
I hope that telling my own stories will help someone else. I hope someone who is suffering will see that I still got to do so many amazing things. I hope that person will realize it’s possible. And I hope that person won’t feel as much shame and embarrassment as I have felt in my life. It’s not helpful and it’s really hurtful.
More importantly, it’s not necessary. None of us chooses our brain just as none of us chooses to have a condition, disease or other malady.
So thank you, Kay Jamison Redfield. I recommend your books highly and I try not to think about how much worse things might have been had I not had the bit of hope your books provided to me during a really difficult time.