individual moments of restlessness

Kay Redfield Jamison is a psychologist and sufferer of bipolar disorder who wrote An Unquiet Mind, a book I read many years ago when my rough trots were more prevalent than my smooth.

Image by Arne Olav
Image by Arne Olav

This observation from her book has always stood out and I returned to it recently:

I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to exert too much control over essentially uncontrollable forces. There will always be propelling, disturbing elements, and they will be there until…the watch is taken from the wrist. It is, at the end of the day, the individual moments of restlessness, of bleakness, of strong persuasions and maddened enthusiasms, that inform one’s life, change the nature and direction of one’s work, and give final meaning and color to one’s loves and friendships.

It’s all OK, you know. The storms and bleakness and madness count for something. The restlessness will lead to something. These parts of life are not to be constantly derided, moved on from. Once I get over this rough trot, then life will start.No. They’re part of it all and it’s all happening now.. There is no run-up. No dress rehearsal.

And: it is the “individual moments” that count.

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