Famous Bipolar People


Kay Redfield Jamison is an American clinical psychologist. Born on October 14, 1946, Jamison is a prolific writer and also an expert on bipolar disorder. She is well known for her advocacy for mental disorders. Jamison is an Honorary Professor in English at the University of St. Andrews. She works as a Professor of Psychiatry at the John Hopkins University.

Jamison studied clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, earning a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science degree. She studied for a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the same university and subsequently joined the university as faculty. She furthered her education at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where she studied Zoology and Neurophysiology. She was offered a Professor of Psychiatry tenured post by the John Hopkins University School of medicine. She has been to several universities as visiting professor, while still maintaining her professorship at Hopkins.


Jamison acknowledges suffering from bipolar disorder almost all her life, but when at the University of California, her depression worsened. She would spend days and nights in fear and anxiety of the unknown. She was also always moody and emotionally sensitive. She mostly kept to herself and her relationships with the other staff were straining. She would spend days brooding for the slightest thing that went wrong and blamed herself for it, even if it was not her fault. While undergoing treatment for this depression, she attempted suicide by taking an overdose of lithium. Her attempt failed because she miscalculated the deadly dose. According to Jamison, life was so unbearable in those days. The depression impacted her productivity negatively as she could not concentrate on anything when depressed.

Jamison’s struggle however changed her life and those of a million people suffering the same disease; her career path has changed too. As a professor of psychology, she tried to investigate the cause of her depression and she discovered it was a family thing. Most of her relatives (from her father’s side) had the disorder. Some are battling it while others have committed suicide as a result.


Jamison founded the University’s Affective Disorders Clinic. This is a large facility that conducts research into psychological disorders. The facility also had an outpatient treatment deprtment, where medication and counseling services are given to patients who report.


Jamison has published many academic articles, especially on mental health and has won many awards. Harvard University recognized her as a distinguished lecturer in 2002 and in 2003, the University of Oxford offered her the Litchfield lecturer. The Time chose her as a “Hero of Medicine”. Her name has been listed as one of “The Best Doctors in the United States” and was also chosen among five persons chosen for the public series on television “Great Minds of Medicine”. She also received the William Styron Award of the National Health Association, the Community Mental Health Leadership Award in 1999, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Research Award 1999 and received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2001.