Choose one of the following discussion topics and write a 4 page reflection paper examining the topic. You must cite at least two sources from the relevant research literature.
You have the option of revising and resubmitting your paper one time for full credit if you receive a grade below B-. The revised paper is due no more than two weeks after the initial draft is graded.
1. In graduate school, Jamison writes, “Despite the fact that we were being taught how to make clinical diagnoses, I still did not make any connection in my own mind between the problems I had experienced and what was described as manic-depressive illness in the textbooks”[p. 58]. Why did she refuse to acknowledge the obvious? Why didn’t she question the “rigid, irrelevant notions of self-reliance”[p. 101] she had been taught?
2. “Being open is the sort of thing that I advise people to think very long and hard about,” Jamison has stated. “It’s one thing if you’re independently wealthy. It’s another thing if you’re out in the real world”(Washington Post Magazine, 4/16/95). Why did Jamison avoid bringing her illness into the open for so many years, and what made her finally decide to do so?
3. “Lithium moderates the illness,” Jamison observes, “but therapy teaches you to live with it”(Time, 9/11/95). Has she convinced you that drugs plus psychotherapy is the answer for mental illness? In that case, might not psychotherapy benefit people suffering from any debilitating illness, not just a mental one?
4. After David’s death, Jamison reflects that “grief, fortunately, is very different from depression”[p.150]. How can you explain the essential difference between the two? Is it more possible to cope with the “real” causes of grief than with the impalpable causes of depression?
5. Jamison worries that her work may now be seen by her colleagues “as somehow biased because of my illness,” while admitting that “of course, my work has been tremendously colored by my emotions and my experiences”[p. 203]. Does this make her work less viable than strictly “objective” work, or more so?
6. “My major goal has been to really try and make a difference in how the illness is seen and treated”(Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/18/95). Has she succeeded, so far as you are concerned? Which of your preconceptions were changed by reading her account?
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