The Years of Silence are Past: My Father's Life with Bipolar Disorder

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This work presents the life history of a philosopher who experienced severe, recurrent, and misdiagnosed mental disorder. The compelling narrative portrays the father's seventy-five years: his childhood and adolescence, his high levels of achievement, intermixed with recurrent episodes and brutal hospitalizations, his marriage and family life, his tenderness as a father, and his gradual decline following years of maltreated bipolar disorder. Themes of self-image, resilience, causes of serious mental disorder, ...
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Overview

This work presents the life history of a philosopher who experienced severe, recurrent, and misdiagnosed mental disorder. The compelling narrative portrays the father's seventy-five years: his childhood and adolescence, his high levels of achievement, intermixed with recurrent episodes and brutal hospitalizations, his marriage and family life, his tenderness as a father, and his gradual decline following years of maltreated bipolar disorder. Themes of self-image, resilience, causes of serious mental disorder, accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and linkages between social context and mental disturbance are intermixed with the narrative. Alternately harrowing and uplifting, this work captures the experience of growing up in a family with severe mental illness as well as the courage and dignity that can emanate from mental disorder. This poignant work will be of strong interest to the public at large and to those in the mental health fields.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stephen P. Hinshaw has done a courageous thing in writing The Years of Silence are Past. By revealing his father's struggle with mental illness, he has created a kind of mirror in which many will be able to see their own lives and the lives of their loved ones." - Joe Taleroski
Publishers Weekly
Academic psychologist Hinshaw has skillfully woven both autobiography and biography into this moving and instructive account of his father's mental illness. The book opens with several endearing photographs of his father, from youth to parenthood. But the photos don't reveal the pain: while in the 12th grade in 1936, Hinshaw's father, Virgil (or Junior, as he's called), had jumped off his family's roof in a crazed attempt to save the world. After almost a year of starving himself in a county institution, Junior rebounded to attend Stanford, the University of Iowa and Princeton. Readers then see him living two lives, one full of achievements-meeting with Albert Einstein, working as a philosophy professor at Ohio State, forming a lasting marriage and fathering two children-and the other full of unexpected moments of profound depression and sometimes delusion, which lead him, misdiagnosed, to institutionalization. Sheltered from this family secret until his college days, Hinshaw explains how the silence from his father's absences hung in the air like a toxin. After his father finally shared his suffering with his son, they began years of healing talks about the disorder. Throughout this tender narrative, readers learn about the symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder from schizophrenia, as well as its possible causes and treatments. Hinshaw's work offers an in-depth look at this illness while celebrating the resilience of a man facing a world of extremes. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521817806
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Beginnings; 2. Childhood and adolescence; 3. Breakdown and recovery; 4. Professorship and family; 5. The 50's; an uphill battle; 6. The 60's; vanished and returned; 7. Diagnosis and misdiagnosis; 8. Disclosure and new diagnosis; 9. Waning powers; 10. Final years; 11. Causes and treatments; 12. Resilience and social context; 13. A son's perspective.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2003

    An excellent bipolar biography

    This is an excellent book that anyone interested in bipolar disorder or mental illness in general should read. Hinshaw is an excellent writer and brings the details of his father's struggle with bipolar disorder richly to life. The effects of the disease on his father's entire existence are profound and complex- many details and nuances of the illness are described. The book is partly an indictment of the entire mental health field for not providing better care for his father. An interesting and complex read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    Personal, important story

    While the writing at times is a bit academic, the story is incredibly compelling. This is a man who spent most of his life mentally ill, but misdiagnosed, but he still managed to get his PhD and have a remarkable teaching career. His son, who wrote the book reveals much about himself. This is a great book for anyone in the mental health field, or for someone who has a friend or relative who is mentally ill. It will give you incredible insight and great strength.

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