University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog
Over three hundred brightly costumed Disneyland audio animatronic children of the world sing “It’s a small world after all.” As I read A Hidden Madness, I couldn’t get the Disney music or lyrics out of my head. “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears; it’s a world of hopes, it’s a world of fears. There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all.”
It *is* a small world and sadly, it’s one where many who suffer from mental illness become victimized by stigma, keeping their illness a secret to save themselves from painful rejection and ridicule. Faced with living with the frustration of chronic illness, the mentally ill are also faced with discrimination and the knowledge that most people cannot understand the path they walk.
University of Virginia law professor James J.R. Jones knows this path only too well. Despite suffering for over thirty years from bipolar disorder; despite hiding his illness for decades from co-workers; despite a childhood replete with bullying; and despite five hospitalizations in psychiatric facilities, the author finally realized that hiding his reality of bipolar disease, was killing him. He experienced the hell of mental illness that can take its toll in a variety of painful ways: an inability to get along with people, dependence on others; powerlessness to deal realistically with real-world issues; inability to handle criticism appropriately; continually dwelling over problems (perceived and/or real); and a physiological reaction to life’s stressors. Jones has experienced all of these and yet somehow, he had the determination and tenacity to believe in a better tomorrow for himself and for all who suffer from mental illness. In 2009, he began to let others know and two years later, he published A Hidden Madness.
While the neediness of the author (to be liked by others, to be validated, affirmed, encouraged) is a window into mental illness that may be uncomfortable for some readers, the author’s open and frank self-reflection and his desire to write a book that will be of help to others suffering from mental illness overrides any personal concern the reader may have along those lines. However, because A Hidden Madness is a book of humanity and hope for those who suffer from mental illness, those who love, are friends with, or professionally care for the mentally ill, this reviewer wishes that the author had included a sub-title to at least allude to the hope available to those who suffer from mental illness.
This hope emerges in the story that the author weaves about his personal life and continues throughout the book, gently reminding readers about the importance of appropriate use of medication and therapy; of having loving family and supportive friends; of being attentive to coping mechanisms; and of having a personality that defies surrender to doom-and-gloom medical diagnoses, but instead rises and marches to the drum that refuses to let disease control one’s life.
The author has been blessed with such a personality trait. He has been blessed with a solid education that give him the ability to write. And, he has been blessed with a calling to talk about - not keep silent any more - about his ongoing journey with mental illness. For the countless millions whose lives have been affected in some way by mental illness, the response to the publication of this book is “Thank you.”
A Kindle or Nook purchaser of my memoir A Hidden Madness sent the following email message to the person who handles my electronic sales:
"Please tell mr. Jones thank you for the book on bipolar, after many years of fighting, myself, and an unknown to me, mental illness , reading this book helped me get the courage to check in to a facility, and get my bipolar diagnosis. I somehow have had the ability to function at a high level, I own a multi million dollar company, he is right, it is out of sheer stubbornness, and just not willing to give in that I or we purge foreword everyday. I can't imagine the courage it must have taken him to come out of the closet and risk everything. Tell him hevhas helped me beyond words."
This, of course, is extremely gratifying for me. It makes me glad yet again that I decided to go public about having a severe mental illness in 2008 and have worked tirelessly since then to help raise awareness about, and help, those so afflicted.
1-1- 2015 Hello to Blog followers. This is my second blog. I've returned to U of L and Brandeis School of Law as an Adjunct Professor. The area of instruction and course title is: In-House Counsel Practice. The focus of the class is to introduce students to what the paractice of law is like when you are employed by your client, and usually your sole client. I am aware of the growth in "In-House" counsel among working professionals, and I hope I can provide an interesting, meaningful and useful experience. I await your 're-blog' or whatever it is...
with regards, Steve Lyverse
A Hidden Madness is now available on Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Madness-Journeys-Memoirs-ebook/dp/B007JNH0GS
and on Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-hidden-madness-james-tr-jones/1108242734.
A review of A Hidden Madness now appears on blogcritics.com at http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-a-hidden-madness-by/ .
From The Harvard Law Record
Before you feel anxiety about your grades, think about the following:
Former Dean Elena Kagan received several B’s during law school, especially her first year. She went on to become the first female dean of Harvard Law School, the U.S. Solicitor General, and the 112th Supreme Court Justice.
Tax Law Professor Daniel Halperin received his worst law school grade in: tax.
Dean of Students Ellen Cosgrove received a Property exam back that had a note from the professor saying “this is exactly what I warned you not to do”—followed by her lowest grade since kindergarten. She went on to work at a top law firm before becoming a dean at Harvard.
Brian Esser, Jackie Clowers and Denise Hall each took on a second job last summer to work in conjunction with the he Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility at U of L and the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University to assemble an Energy Tax Breaks Wiki and populate it with basic information on the subsidies provided to the energy industries through the tax code.
The wiki was launched last week and an article about the Wiki has been published in Grist Magazine.
Kudos to Brian, Jackie and Denise for their efforts and enterprise!