A Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle to Save Her
by Michael Schofield

A New York Times bestseller, January First captures Michael and his family’s remarkable story in a narrative that forges new territory within books about mental illness. In the beginning, readers see Janni’s incredible early potential: her brilliance, and savant-like ability to learn extremely abstract concepts. Next, they witnesses early warning signs that something is not right, Michael’s attempts to rationalize what’s happening, and his descent alongside his daughter into the abyss of schizophrenia.  Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke their family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a life for Janni filled with moments of happiness.

A compelling, unsparing and passionate account, January First vividly details Schofield’s commitment to bring his daughter back from the edge of insanity.  It is a father’s soul-baring memoir of the daily struggles and challenges he and his wife face as they do everything they can to help Janni while trying to keep their family together. Read an excerpt!


January First: A Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle to Save Her

Barnes & Noble

17 comments on “Book

  1. When I was reading this book, I felt as if I had lived with you the entire journey. Though some parts where scary and some very happy, I love to feel as if I grew up with Jani. She sounds like a very interesting person, while her personality seems bright and beautiful. Jani seems like the type of kid I was, smart but I had my moments, though nothing as bad. You guys are brave and strong and I encourge you to never give up on Jani or Bodhi (I think I spelled his name right.) You two are some of the strongest parents ever. Embrace that. Jani still has a way to go, but never stop loving her. Let her have Calilini, Just not as much, her imagination is what keeps her young. UCLA has helped you alot through out your journey, Dr.Howe as well, but nothing heped more than being parents and always loving her, that’s what helped Jani the most, and I feel no one can amount to that. I hope you take the time to read this. You and Susan are strong, I would love to meet all of you. I know it would be hard, But I would like to see how smart she is, (Smarter than me) I would love to meet 400 and Wednsday.I would love to see what it’s like to live in Jani’s world. You can email me at Keep in touch, I love your story, but most importantly, I love your journey.

  2. I just recently read January First, and I found it absolutely terrifying. When I was around 4, I was like Jani, however, my condition was less severe. Yet it scared me that so many of her symptoms matched mine.
    I find peace around animals. Always have, and hopefully I always will. I also practice horseback riding in an untraditional matter. I ride bitless and mostly bareback, with the intention of letting the horse enjoy the time I spend with it, just as much as I do.
    I’ve always had a bunch of imaginary friends, though always known that they were just that. Imaginary. This has allowed be to become a talented author, because I see and hear my characters.
    My IQ is high, and I learned reading and writing at an early age. I also spoke the basic english when I was around 4. (I’m danish) I am not even remotely social, and have always felt better around people 5-10 years older than myself. For 13 years, I thought I was just weird, but then I was diagnosed with aspergers. Along with that, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and social fobia. Just like Jani, no medication has worked for me. The hospital gave me anti psychotics for sleeplessness, for God’s sake, and it didn’t work.
    So what I really want to say is that, even though not completely, I get it. It hurts like hell, and every day is a fight. I stood on a bridge at age 12, ready to kill myself, but I am 16 now, and I managing. So I believe in Jani, and I think you’ve done everything parents could ever do.
    So good luck with her, and this foundation.

  3. I just got this book and i’ve read only a couple pages, and I find this book so beyond inspiring I look up to your whole family and all that you’ve gone through, Im 16 btw and have been through treatments and stuff and this kind of story brings hope to my parents. I love this book already

  4. Bravo to both of you for NOT giving up on Jani. I purchased the audio book and literally could not turn it off! I have struggled with mental illness all of my life, nothing like Jani of course, but life is hard enough and then throw in a mental illness & heroin addiction…well you get my drift. Anyway, I had to write and tell you both how inspirational Jani’s story is. I have watched your documentaries and saw you guys on Dr. Phil & I still shake my head at your dedication to your daughter! You just don’t see a lot of that these days! Hope seems to be a huge character flaw these days. I am not in a financial situation right now to donate, but I do a little web design on the side. If your foundation is interested I would be more than happy to help! My contact email is listed above. If not, I just wanted you to know that you guys ROCK! \_/

  5. I saw Jani’s story when it first aired on Oprah. Shortly before that Oprah episode I had worked as a temp for one day at a biotech firm at a registration desk for an external health care screening firm. I could barely maintain my composure as I witnessed what was following the biotech employees as they came in to register at my desk for their health screenings. I could ascertain their job function based upon what was following them. By what was haunting them! Lab animal spirits were following these people. I could observe what they were doing. In silence, I witnessed the unseen world of hauntings. During a break I sat silently and connected with the animal spirit realm. The animal guides had little time for me. They did share and show me that they were doing all they could to help the animals that were suffering in this facility. The animal spirit guides showed me that they could help some animals move on but others, holding a grudge would haunt those that tormented them. And, I could observe the torment in those employees that passed in front of me. When I saw Jani on Oprah I recognized the realm that she referred to as the same one the animal spirit guides were tapped in to. And, the animals, the rats with the names of the week and the numbers. These are NOT hallucinations. These are the lab animals that have not been able to move on in the spirit realm because of the harm done to them. And, I went on Wikipedia to learn about animal testing after my experience only to learn the horror these animals endure. And, that it is estimated that there are one hundred million animals that die from lab testing annually. From my experience that day, these animal spirits are going into the world/realm that Jani can tap into. In her own way, Jani has shown the world the effects of what we are doing by tapping into the spirits in this realm. I saw the follow-up episode on Jani. When asked how she felt about her imaginary friends she replied ‘I love them.’ And, so do I love them. What to do or where to go from here, I know not. I only have finally (after two years) been able to pen this.

  6. I purchased this book the first day it came out on Amazon and I read it cover to cover in one night! God bless you both in your struggle to keep your daughter in your home. As a nurse I dealt with many patients with various issues, but never a child like Jani. All I can say is I am praying for you daily and also Jani. I also pray that someday you both can connect back together in all ares of your lives including your marriage. I also pray for Jani to improve enough that she can lead a normal life.

  7. I read the sample of your book, Mr Schofield. It was really moving text, moving text I’ve ever seen seen. I’m crying here.

    I have known your daughter’s case for years, but, eventually, I couldn’t so anything because I was under-aged in my home country. I was frustrated and I still am. I can’t relly put this feelings in to the words. She is the most intelligent child I’ve ever heard of, and I hope everything good to Janni, you and rest of your family. I’ll be full aged soon, and I will, I WILL, get this book from Amazon, if it helps Janni even one a bit. If I break my promise to buy your book, I don’t know what is the best punishment to me.

  8. He visto el documental de Jany y he quedado impactado con su lucha.
    Me encantaría poder tener el libro en español,
    Soy de México.
    ¿Algún modo de que lo pueda conseguir?

    1. Lamentablemente, el libro January First no está actualmente disponible en Español. Derechos de publicación en español nunca se compraron a pesar de mucha demanda para el libro en español.

  9. Dear Mr. Schofield,
    I just watched an Oprah show, Where are they now? This is the first time seeing the interview Oprah had with your daughter Janni.
    Based on what I have read your daughter is still experiencing the same so called hallucinations.
    Sir, I do not know if you are a man of Faith, and I do not know if you have ever read any books or watched you tubes of Derek Prince.
    I will say that when I saw your wife put her hands around her neck to show your daughter trying to choke herself, I was alarmed and Derek Prince will tell and show you the behavior of evil spirits. I think it would be worth your time to at leat take a look for yourself.
    I had just watched the you tube on Derek Prince and Spiritual Warfare and the same strangle hold is on his video.
    You have probably heard this already but in the event you have not. Mr. Schofield your daughter has many evil spirits and demons.
    Psychology cannot answer your questions and will never find a cure for your daughter, but you already have learned this.
    I suggest you watch and read Derek Prince’s books and youtube video’s on evil spirits and demons.

    I will pray that the Holy Spirit reveals this too you, so your daughter may be healed through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ.
    What I can tell you for sure is this, you are in what Christians call Spiritual Warfare.
    I will pray and fast for your daughter to be healed.
    In Jesus Christ
    May GOD Bless Janni and you and your family.
    A Servant

  10. I just read January First and was captivated. Your words were so honest and I appreciated that so much. I struggle with mental illness and have been in and out of inpatient more times than I care to count a long with residential, group homes etc which started when I was 15. I’m 26 now and haven’t been hospitalized since last sept!! That’s 6 months-the longest since I was 1st hospitalized! I’m proud of that 🙂 That’s not the point though. The point is that I want to thank you and your family for being so open, honest and raw about the mental health system and everything that goes with it. All I can say is that both Jani and Bodhi are incredibly incredibly blessed to have you and susan as their parents. I feel most parents would run from being scared shitless. You haven’t. I commend you for that! Thanks for all you do.

  11. Hi. I watched the Dr Phil show with your family on it, on you tube. I recall the mom saying that schizophrenia is a genetically inherited disease. Is she Ashkenazi Jew? I am half Ashkenazi, and as a child I was adopted. I recently found out that my birth mom is schizophrenic, and is Ashkenazi. I have found by researching that Ashkenazi are more prone to inheriting this mental disease. Could you please tell me if you are Ashkenazi, and if that’s the line Jani comes from? Thanks, Martha

  12. my name is alyssa im 16 and going through some of the same problems. I read your book January First it was so interesting and very similar to me. i was hoping to find out how your daughter was doing?

  13. Hello.

    I do not wish my name to be published because I am a teacher. However, you are free to contact me with my provided email. My symptoms are finally managed and controlled. I have had many diagnosis’ over the years since I was 18 months old: Catamenial Epilepsy, Bipolar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Psychosis, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Autism…..the list goes on. However, in 2005, I was given yet another diagnosis. Once THIS treatment was started, my symptoms went away and have been managed since that time. My correct diagnosis is called Pyroluria. It is a vitamin deficiency disorder of the main vitamins B6 (Pyrodoxine) and Zinc which presents itself in many different diagnoses. Identifying and avoiding food allergens are a big part of the treatment, as well. In 2010, I finally eliminated Nightshade foods from my diet (Potatoes, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Spicy Peppers, Pomegranates…) and for some reason corn has the same effect, as well…..which produced Psychosis and Panic Attacks, in me, shortly after eating them. Foods with any form of wheat in them produced severe Depression, for me, which lasted for four days….my only guess is that the Depression symptoms continued until the wheat ingredients had worked their way through my digestive system and out of my body. Foods with any added sugars in them caused severe Mania symptoms and then severe Depression symptoms, for me. I am doing fanTAStic, now and it is 2014. I no longer take any anti-psych meds or anti-depressants and I am, also, decreasing my anti-epileptic medications with my doctors, as well, at 50% now. As I am decreasing the prescription medications, I am having to take less and less B6 and Zinc supplementation. The prescription medications that I have been on since I was 18 months old have been depleting my body of even MORE of the vitamins B6 and Zinc and making my Pyroluric condition worse. So, now it is 2014 and I am 37 years old. I am currently eating a Paleo Diet (no processed foods, grains, legumes or sweeteners of any kind). I only eat whole foods and no nightshades foods, either. I am doing great. Able to communicate with my family now, my memory has returned, I am able to recall personal stories from students that I tutor mathematics to. I am finally connecting with others and able to ask questions and show interest in what is going on in other peoples lives. Quite a change….a little challenging to get used to, but very exciting. My whole world has opened up and everything is so much easier….I am even able to smile at others, now, too. 🙂

    The test for Pyroluria is a simple urine test for kryptopyrroles. (Make sure no vitamins are taken when getting the urine analysis test for kryptopyrroles. If vitamins are taken, they can produce a negative test result. I have read that all vitamins and supplements should be stopped 5 to 7 days before taking the urine test. Because vitamin supplements can be a factor in the result.)

    It just so happens that, THURSDAY 6/19/2014 at 5:00pm PST, there will be an online webinar about Pyroluria. The following link is provided, below:

    What really causes Pyrrole Disorder? Learn the truth about this biochemical imbalance!

                Facts & Myths About Pyrrole Disorder: Dr. Mensah Answers Your Questions

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    7 p.m. CST, 8 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. MST, 5 p.m. PST

    “Join Abert Mensah, MD, for an interactive webinar as he debunks the common myths

    surrounding pyrrole disorder or pyroluria (also known as the “Mauve Factor”). About

    10% of the population is unknowingly affected by this condition, and is commonly found

    in individuals with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse,

    alcoholism, ODD, and ADHD. Discover how pyrrole disorder can be easily diagnosed

    and treated by restoring the body with necessary nutrients.
    This webinar is free and open

    to the public. Interaction and questions are encouraged.”

    Facebook Event Page:

    Facts & Myths About Pyrrole Disorder: Dr. Mensah Answers Your Questions

    Pre-registration is required.

    Register here

    The following, is an interesting article on Pyroluria, that was just published on April 29, 2014:


    Take care. I hope all are doing well.

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