Six years ago, Paul E. Jones walked away from a decision to take his own life. After overcoming that experience and living with severe manic depression, also known as Bipolar Disorder, he is "fighting stigma one mind at a time."
Jones is now an author and comedic speaker who travels the country telling his story and moving audiences with "From Depressed to Refreshed in 60 Minutes." He is scheduled to present at Fort Hays State University at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 13 in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
"Paul Jones is the best speaker I have ever heard. His ability to teach people about what it is like to live with a mental illness is unreal," said an audience member from one of his shows in Virginia.
Jones said that his shows are not for the easily offended, because he annot predict the words that will spill out of his mouth. He sometimes finds humor in unexpected places.
He asks if it's "a crime to find some kind of humor in the world" and said it's the only way he's been able to deal with some things and is better than the reality his life was before being diagnosed.
Another point he addresses when he speaks is how people can hide from a brain illness because they're never the "politically correct" illnesses to have. However, he said one in four Americans have some form of a diagnosable mental illness and it shouldn't go overlooked any longer.
"It is my hope and my mission to try and prevent these young people from wasting the amount of time that I did hiding from a brain illness," said Jones. "Folks think no one wants to talk about serious issues, but they come out in droves."
Jones said his audience members are not the only ones who are impacted by his performance.
"I know I get something out of it every single time I go on stage," said Jones. "It's not gloom and doom; it's a change in outlook. I come out in wonderment."
Jones' presentation is sponsored by the Department of Psychology and the Kelly Center.
Admission is free. For more information call the Kelly Center at (785) 628-4401.