People go mad in idiosyncratic     across   miles   of   circling
       ways.   Perhaps   it  was  not     rings;    and    the    almost
       surprising    that,    as    a     imperceptible,         somehow
       meteorologist's  daughter,   I     surprisingly pallid,  moons of
       found myself, in that glorious     this  Catherine  wheel  of   a
       illusion  of high summer days,     planet.  I  remember   singing
       gliding, flying, now and again     "Fly  Me  to  the Moons"  as I
       lurching  through  cloud banks     swept  past  those  of Saturn,
       and  ethers,  past  stars, and     and thinking  myself  terribly
       across fields of ice crystals.     funny.  I saw and  experienced
       Even  now,  I  can  see  in my     that  which   had   been  only
       mind's  rather peculiar eye an     dreams, or fitful fragments of
       extraordinary  shattering  and     aspiration.
       shifting  of light; inconstant
       but  ravishing colors laid out
       Was it real? Well, of course not, not in any         .------------.
       meaningful sense of the word "real." But did it stay | AND I MISS |
       with me? Absolutely. Long after my psychosis         |  SATURN    |
       cleared, and the medications took hold, it became    | VERY MUCH  |
       part of what one remembers forever, surrounded by an '------------'
       almost Proustian melancholy. Long since that extended voyage of my
       mind and soul, Saturn and its icy rings took on an elegiac beauty,
       and I don't see Saturn's image now without feeling an acute sadness
       at its being so far away from me, so unobtainable in so many ways.
       The intensity, glory, and absolute assuredness of my mind's flight
       made it very difficult for me to believe, once I was better, that the
       illness was one I should willingly give up. Even though I was a
       clinician and a scientist, and even though I could read the research
       literature and see the inevitable, bleak consequences of not taking
       lithium, I for many years after my initial diagnosis was reluctant to
        .--------. take my medications as prescribed. Why was I so
        | WAS IT | unwilling? Why did it take having to go through more
        |  REAL? | episodes of mania, followed by long suicidal
        '--------' depressions, before I would take lithium in a medically
       sensible way?
       Some of my reluctance, no doubt, stemmed from a fundamental denial
       that what I had was a real disease. This is a common reaction that
       follows, rather counter-intuitively, in the wake of early episodes
       of manic-depressive illness. Moods are such an essential part of the
       substance of life, of one's notion of oneself, that even psychotic
       extremes in mood and behavior somehow can be seen as temporary, even
       understandable, reactions to what life has dealt. In my case, I had
       a horrible sense of loss for who I had been and where I had been. It
       was difficult to give up the high flights of mind and mood, even
       though the depressions that inevitably followed nearly cost me my
       My family and friends expected that I would welcome being "normal,"
       be appreciative of lithium, and take in stride having normal energy
       and sleep. But if you have had stars at your feet and the rings of
       planets through your hands, are used to sleeping only four or five
       hours a night and now sleep eight, are used to staying up all night
       for days and weeks in a row and now cannot, it is a very real
       adjustment to blend into a three-piece-suit schedule, which, while
       comfortable to many, is new, restrictive, seemingly less productive,
       and maddeningly less intoxicating. People say, when I complain of
       being less lively, less energetic, less high-spirited, "Well, now
       you're just like the rest of us," meaning, among other things, to be
       reassuring. But I compare myself with my former self, not with
       others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the
       best I have been, which is when I have been mildly manic. When I am
       my present "normal" self, I am far removed from when I have been my
       liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and
       effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.
       And I miss Saturn very much.
                                 *         *         *
                    An unquiet mind / Kay Redfield Jamison.— 1st ed.
                                 *         *         *
 (DIR) Poor Wakefield!