Apr 29, 2020 in Literature

Book Report on Bipolar Condition


The An Unquiet Mind memoir of Kay gives an elaborate chronology of her life from childhood, her early experience with the condition and the final treatment that she found by then. It also highlights the evolution of her treatment with time and now totally different from what she had undergone while in her condition. The various sections of this book highlight her encounter with the illness and the final management with the condition.


In her earlier life, it is interesting that Kay had had an experience of living with a father that had the same condition. This provided her with a perspective of looking at the condition since it was not affecting her for the first time in her life. She had encountered a similar case at their home and this did not appear to her as it would have been for the very first time in life. The experience she had both at their home with the parents’ marriage and that of her own has clear insight that people need to value those around them with such conditions. ‘‘there is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness,’’ she said while trying to explain what it is with the condition

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According to the Diagnostic and Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5), the disorder can be associated with a number of symptoms some of which were evident to Kay at the early stages of the development. These are anxious distress which is associated with being tensed, restlessness, worries that inhibits concentration, and lastly, the feeling of bad happening in one’s life. Moreover, the rapid cycling is what leads to episode change after certain periods of time. The catatonic features also associates with the condition of the disorder, and in this, there is the physical activity during an episode while at the same time the speech at the mood episodes. Some of these are described in the Kay’s memoir since she underwent through such during her earlier stages of the development. These were accurate despite the fact that she inclined the diagnosis for some time since she could not believe it was happening on her as a professional of psychiatry. 

The DSM-5 method of diagnosis lists symptoms but with no adequate description of the condition. This brings the misunderstanding of the condition and in her book; Kay clarifies the misconception by describing her mind. She says, “I raced about like a crazed weasel, bubbling with plans and enthusiasms, immersed in sports, and staying up all night, night after night… I felt I could do anything, that no task was too difficult’’. She provides a chronology of as it is in the maniac people. From her first person approach expresses how the mania condition is what places her in her uncontrollable and destructive mood.  

Other diagnoses that can be evident in those with the condition are psychotic features, melancholy features, depressive episodes, seasonal patterns of depression, and lastly, the peripartum onset. The latter always begin during the pregnancy or after giving birth in the women. All these are the symptoms that one must look at in the diagnosis process. In fact, all these can be seen recorded in Kay’s book since she went through the experiences.  

In the event of misdiagnosis, the dangers are great and can be felt fiercely. Prescription of wrong medication makes one suffer from the side effects as opposed to the condition. At the same time, if the bipolar is mistaken for unipolar then the resultant depression might increase the rate and the effects of the episodes on the person that is affected. The medication is complicated owing to the fact that it is a multi-gene disorder. This must thus be taken into consideration in the process of diagnosing the condition so that it can be properly maintained.

Etiology and Development  

Kay came from a family with the bipolar illness, and her first time to deal with the condition was when she was in high school then during her undergraduate periods. By the time she was in her twenties, she had fully developed the manic depression; the condition had taken over her entire life as it was worsening day by day. The seriousness of the condition became real when she had just cleared her doctorate and was in full time position. The worst experiences and effects on her life continued to be shown even after the diagnosis of the condition in her life. Here, she elaborates her episodes; one of which had taken her to Saturn and the other leaving her in pools of blood. 

For quite some time after diagnosis, she refused to associate with drugs and any form of treatment that came her way. This action almost left her dead despite the fact that she had information about the lithium drug as one that could help her come out of the condition. Her resistance came due to the doses that she was given at that time before the evolution of the drugs in the treatment. It is, thus, clear that the medication process has side effects; a discouraging factor to those taking the drugs like Kay. It is, therefore, in view of this that in her book, she encourages consistency in the process of taking drugs to maintain and manage the condition.


The life Kay lived revolved around moods and this has really influenced her operations in the world around her. Her moods were due to her condition of illness that is at the present affecting the world all over. It is with this regards that people having the condition are advised to manage them and speak on behalf of their fellows like Kay, who became the voice of redemption to those who were with the condition. Things are becoming better for those with such kinds of illnesses since there is improvement in the way in which the current society is getting to understand them. It thus follows that more should be invested in getting to understand the condition through scientific research, especially on the cause of the condition.

Due to what she was going through, she made some mistakes in her marriage and this did not go well with her. The marriage had to end due to her difficulties emanating from the disorder. One of this was the frequent ware out that she would express at times in the marriage and just like parents’, the marriage had to collapse.


Kay has a perspective which is unique on the psychiatry as she appreciates the help that the drugs have on people. This view is opposed to those who are not experts in the field and it is thus very helpful for one to read such experiences like hers. The trust she has on other fellow psychiatrics leaves one wondering why others would not want to obey the orders and prescriptions of the doctors in the field of psychiatry.

In her cycle of moods, there is a solace reached in the therapy and the medication that Kay underwent in the process of her trying to manage her condition. Love plays a key role since most of the individuals that she comes across are the ones that help her. She explains how her mother was good to her and gave her the necessary7 care that she was in need of. It is due to this that she survived on the hands of other people like parents, doctors, husband and other lovers that all saw her recover well from the condition. Caretakers are thus required to be close to these people so that the quality of the lives can be improved greatly in the process. She said that her life was now for pills was not obvious to her and she could not imagine of thatю. Other treatments that can be recommended for the disorder are electroconvulsive therapy. This is a case in which electric currents are passed on the brain to relieve the severe depression condition after the neurotransmitters have been interfered with in the brain. This is recommended for those who cannot take antidepressants due to health related issues and medication has proved not to work. It also works for pregnant women whom drug use might interfere with them and the baby. Another way is the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in which pulses are sent to the brain for nerves cells stimulation. These cells are what are responsible for the depression and mood in the people. This kind of treatment is done almost daily for a period of close to two months.


There are slim chances that the disorder is genetical and hence can be inherited from generation to another in the lineage. However, studies show that two-thirds of those with the condition have at least one of their own relative having suffered from the condition, and this, therefore, suggests implication of the genetical components and relationship. However, this has no proof in the medical terms and hence the continual assumption that chances of inheritance is very minimal. Again, a study that was carried out in the year 1997 showed that the offspring from a bipolar family only had around three percent chance of getting the condition from their parents. This implies that there are little chances that Kay had inherited the condition from the father who had it.

According to the psychiatry professor from the University of Pittsburgh, it is true that those children from the bipolar families have high chance of developing the condition than those who come from families without the illness. Such symptoms range from mild to severe in many occasions. Comparing those having the condition, the number is small especially in the United States of America. It stands at around three percent of the total population, and this implies that it is affecting very minimal number as compared to the whole population.


The management bit of the disorder came later on in her life. The experience that she was having of dosages of the lithium gradually equipped her with management skills and the drug dosage that was required in the management process. As a result of this, debilitating both illness and the side effects was done away with by her. At the same time, she had a healthy relationship with her husband who later died when they were in better terms in the family. Her experience becomes even healthier since Kay became the voice of hope to those suffering from the same disorder.


This memoir is illustrative and hence rich in knowledge. In fact it is quiet insightful in as far as the bipolar is concerned. Kay illustrates her deep understanding of whatever she has undergone ever since she developed the condition.  It thus imparts knowledge into readers; hence, giving more knowledge on the bipolar condition, conceptualization and treatment as a form of management.

The book, as I perceive it, can help one to develop a trust with the psychiatry in another angle. Those days, the treatment of the condition by the use of lithium in itself was very painful and one had to endure such. She had lived where the antidepressants were the only drugs used in the treatment with horrible side effects to the users. It was due to her experience with psychiatrics that made her to lose trust in them. However, the experience in the professionals was the only motivating factor in her life as she sought for treatments. 


Kay’s disease has become her life’s work as she tries to maintain the condition, and this has been happening through hardship. Stigmatization has become part of her over time. In fact, there were many occasions in which she would be referred to as crazy or nut in their native language. In fact, at one point, a colleague who heard of her attempt to commit suicide was really discouraged with her. The depression she was undergoing seems like a violent especially at her work place. At another time, a physician told her that due to her condition, she ought not to be having children. The book, in my opinion, seeks to advocate for those who are the same condition in the society. It exposes the kind of experiences that these people go through and thus is exposing those who might be doing that in the society.

These are the experiences that made her to come out and disclose her condition. This book, An Unquiet Mind, illustrates her advocacy for those having the same condition, and she thus, provides a voice to many who are always misdiagnosed. Her life, thus, provides the beacon of understanding the real life, especially of those with the disorder in their lives. In fact, it explores various key issues with those who have the condition in various parts of the world. This is the reason individuals should read this book irrespective of whether you have the condition or not as it will help one to know how to manage bipolar disorder for one’s self or for others.


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