Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review # 239: A Hidden Madness by James T.R. Jones

Description: (from Amazon)
     A Hidden Madness tells the story of an accomplished individual who has reached the pinnacle of his profession despite suffering for over thirty years from the severe mental illness bipolar disorder. He has done so mostly in silence because of fear of stigma. Extreme childhood bullying helped cause his condition, which has seen him hospitalized five times in psychiatric facilities for periods as long as six months. It is an eye-opening voyage through the little-understood realm of severe mental illness featuring its powerful medications, periodic hospitalizations, often rocky relationships, and light as well as dark moments. The story offers both real hope for those afflicted by serious mental illness and deep insight into their many symptoms, numerous drugs, periodic crises, and potential triumphs. It shows that by being compliant with a medical regimen of therapy and medication, getting help and support from others with the same illness, benefiting from a loving family, discovering coping mechanisms to get through every day, having caring and understanding friends, and being too stubborn to let a disease ruin his life one can enjoy a successful and fulfilling professional and personal life.

     I have had experience with family members who suffer from non-medicated bipolar disorder, so I was very interested in reading James T. R. Jones' first-hand account of living with the day-to-day manic/depressive fluctuations of a bipolar individual. This informative and highly personal account of the author's struggle with the disorder throughout his home and career life left me inspired and full of hope. Even though he was constantly berated by bipolar periods of mania and depression, he never let go of his ambitions or let people treat him differently. Mental/Personality disorders have long carried a stigma for the affected individual, but society is slowly starting to realize that the chronic nature of the illness can be managed like other treatable diseases - diabetes, blood pressure, ADHD, etc... Those affected are not to blame/ judge because of their mental state; as a matter of fact, if the public was more knowledgeable about the disease, then those affected may not have such a difficult time seeking treatment and finding support. James' story  proves that support from family, friends and medial professionals is one of the keys to treating/recovering from mental illness. He kept his bipolar disorder and mood swings a secret from friends and coworkers, fearing their reaction(s), but if people did not negatively stereotype the disease, he may have been able to be honest with everyone from the beginning. The memoir is very emotional; his courage and drive are evident on every page. Readers will gain a lot by reading this book, most importantly, the facts about the disease, the misconceptions, and the acceptance of those affected. Even though James' situation is not the most typical case of bipolar disorder, his journey is well-written and highly effective. I will definitely be recommending this book to family and friends, and I think that everyone should experience the realities of this condition.

Rating: Bounty's Out (3.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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