January 30, 2024

University of Michigan Professor Shares Her Story with Bipolar Disorder

Ann Jeffers, Ph.D., Professor of Civil Engineering at U-M, details her mental health journey in her recent memoir, "Can You Hear the Music? My Journey Through Madness."

Ann Jeffers, Ph.D.

In December of 2013, at the height of her early career as an engineering professor, Ann Jeffers was in the midst of losing her mind. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features and started treatment. Over the course of the year, Ann navigated ups and downs in mood and a myriad of other symptoms while battling her illness in silence for fear that she would lose her chance at tenure if the university found out. Ann’s mental illness was further complicated by the trauma she carried from the Virginia Tech shooting, resulting in a perfect nightmare each and every time she set foot in the classroom.

To reconcile her experiences during that harrowing year, Ann wrote the full-length memoir, "Can You Hear the Music? My Journey Through Madness", which was named a 2023 Must-Read Book on Bipolar Disorder by bpHope. The book was written for others, who, like Ann, face the crippling weight of stigma as they come to grips with more severe aspects of the condition. While dark at times, Ann’s story is one of hope and perseverance. She stands proudly today as a tenured professor at the University of Michigan and a mental health/disability justice advocate. As renowned psychiatrist Frank Ochberg writes, “This book will become a classic–a must-read for licensed mental health professionals, for family doctors, for parents who really care, for anyone who needs to know the truth about serious mental health injury.”

Read more about Dr. Jeffers here.