What I found encouraging in her article was that she’s been able to manage her illness with Lithium for more than 30 years now. Though she’s the first to tell you that this is not an easy thing to do, being that she made the mistake of stopping her Lithium at one point, she encourages sufferers to stay on their medication. As she points out:
“There is a huge relationship between suicide and being under the age of 30, but that’s exactly the age group that is least likely to be compliant in taking medication,” Jamison points out.I feel a calling in Jamison’s words. As a mom, I feel that one of my greatest responsibilities is to teach my son to stay on his medication. It’s become a consistent message in our home. We’re lucky that at the age of 10 he desires to take it and believes that it’s essential to his life, but I know those teen years are approaching and if there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with puberty, it’s rebellion. So ironically, while many parents are teaching their kids to avoid drugs, we’re teaching our son to avoid drugs, but don’t stop taking the ones you’re on now. Will this be a confusing message in the years to come or will this be a gateway to trying illegal drugs as some suggest? In my gut, I don’t think so. I really believe that our son understands the value of his meds, but regardless, we’ll remain watchful in the years ahead. I figure that if even Dr. Jamison was able to convince herself that she didn’t need her medication, I know that my son too may think the same someday.
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Read the interview here:
Kay Redfield Jamison: A Profile in Courage
My Book review of An Unquiet Mind: