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7 Duke F. L. & Soc. Change 1 (2015)
High Functioning: Successful Professionals with Severe Mental Illness

handle is hein.journals/dukef7 and id is 1 raw text is: 












        HIGH FUNCTIONING: SUCCESSFUL

     PROFESSIONALS WITH SEVERE MENTAL

                                    ILLNESS



                                BY JAMES T. R. JONESt

                                  I. INTRODUCTION

    Major depressive disorder.       Bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia. Borderline
personality disorder. Mental illness' is a serious international health concern. As
of 2012, an estimated 18.6 percent of American adults-that is, 43.7 million
people -suffer from a mental disorder in any given year.2 The principal burden


Copyright © James T. R. Jones.
    t  Professor of Law, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. B.A.,
University of Virginia; J.D., Duke University School of Law. The author is particularly interested in
this topic because, as noted infra, he has suffered from the severe mental illness bipolar disorder,
mostly in silence due to fear of stigma and discrimination, for much of his life. He has attempted
suicide and has been hospitalized five times for this disease for periods ranging from a few days to
over six months; he has lost one job and over a year and a half of his working life to severe
manifestations of mental illness. In 2008, he became only the second law professor in the United
States publicly to acknowledge living with a serious mental illness. Since 2008 he has written and
spoken extensively about successful professionals who are so afflicted, and has won multiple awards
for his mental health advocacy efforts. In 2011 he published his memoir, A Hidden Madness.
    1.  Many terms, often pejorative in nature, are used to describe people who live with mental
illness- crazy, insane, nuts, cracked, lunatic, and mentally ill are some of them.
Among those so afflicted, the preferred term is mad, and madness is the preferred term for
mental illness. See, e.g., PATTY DUKE & GLORIA HOCHMAN, A BRILLIANT MADNESS: LIVING WITH
MANIC-DEPRESSWE ILLNESS (1992) (recounting actress Patty Duke's experience living with manic
depressive disorder); KAY REDFIELD JAMISON, AN UNQUIET MIND: A MEMOIR OF MOODS AND
MADNESS (1995) [hereinafter JAMISON, AN UNQUIET MIND] (examining bipolar disorder from the dual
perspective of a healer and the healed); JAMES T. R. JONES, A HIDDEN MADNESS (2011) (recounting the
experience of the author of this Article as a professional forced to deal with his madness largely in
silence because of the stigma of mental illness in the legal profession); ELYN R. SAKS, THE CENTER
CANNOT HOLD: MY JOURNEY THROUGH MADNESS (2007) (telling the story of Professor Elyn R. Saks,
the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Sciences at the
University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and her struggles with schizophrenia);
Gregory M. Duhl, Over the Borderline, 44 LOY. U. CHI. L.J. 771, 771-72 (2013) (reviewing MARGARET
PRICE, MAD AT SCHOOL: RHETORICS OF MENTAL DISABILITY AND ACADEMIC LIFE (2011), a study of how
our education practices might change if we understood disability to incorporate the disabled mind,
including one with borderline personality disorder).
    2. Nat'l Inst. Mental Health, Prevalence of Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults, NAT'L INST.
OF MENTAL HEALTH, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-
ami-among-adults.shtml (last visited Apr. 10, 2015). These estimates do not include substance-abuse
disorders. Id. They assume a total U.S. adult population of 235 million. Id. Like the National
Institute of Mental Health, this article does not discuss individuals with substance-abuse issues. See

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