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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Wed 20 Apr 2005

About Iris Chang

Category : world

"... Iris Chang won many battles in her fight for justice. But as she began to manifest symptoms of bipolar illness, she perceived them as a failure of will. Such harsh logic, symptomatic of the disease, rendered her unable to extend her own magnificent compassion to herself.

In the end, the war she could not win raged internally."

...

"Depression is a silent epidemic among Asian Americans because we tend not to seek help soon enough," [Betty] Hong said. "It's a double-edged sword. There's a stigma within the culture about accessing care, because then people will think there is something wrong with you and your family. And then there's the issue of the model minority. Asians were the first immigrant community that 'made it,' and we should all be doctors and lawyers." That is, successful and invulnerable.

Stress does not cause mental illness, but it can worsen the symptoms, doctors say. Iris pushed herself "to be the best possible mother and the best possible writer," Brett [her husband] said. This put her under enormous stress. On top of that, she wasn't sleeping.

"A lack of sleep is one of the hallmark symptoms of mania," Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of "Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide," told The Chronicle. "Typically, people start losing sleep, then stay up later and later each night. It has a terrible reverberating effect. The lack of sleep can exacerbate the illness and vice versa."

Rabiner [her publisher and later agent] believes that neither the subject matter of her work nor the intensity of her work habits precipitated Iris' manic-depressive symptoms. "Iris was suffering from clinical depression," she said, "and it deepened rapidly over a period of about three months. People tend to think that clinical depression is like a bad-hair day. It's a disease. If she had a brain tumor, people would better understand."

Read the full article - "Historian Iris Chang won many battles. The war she lost raged within." By Heidi Benson, San Francisco Chronicle, Sun, 17 Apr 2005. Link seen on ms. musings, picked up by Google alerts

Posted at 1:15AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .