Kay Redfield, a US Air Force brat, became an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA in 1974 at the age of 28. She had had manic-depressive episodes and been on and off medication since her mid teens, but once she became an assistant professor and full-time clinician, it took only three months to descend into a full psychotic collapse. She went on spending sprees, her first marriage broke up, and she made her first visit to a psychiatrist of her own. The depression lasted 18 months and like many people with bipolar disorder she battled her need for lithium.
Having experienced such mental illness from both sides -- as a patient and as a doctor -- Jamison is in a unique position to describe the situation. Her searing tale relates the assistance of understanding professionals, friends, family and lovers, and the feelings of a person losing her grip on reality. Her 1995 memoir is a sobering and sensitive tale.
This report prepared by David Loftus