Add to Cart:

The Promise of Long Term Recovery


By John Zurn

ISBN: 9781849914901
Published: 2011
Pages: 195
Key Themes: bipolar disorder, spirituality, psychology


The first half of the book, The Promise of Long Term Recovery, explains many unique and potentially useful ideas relating to the understanding and acceptance of mental illness. These ideas are divided into five chapters that include: medication decisions, coping skills, psychological concepts, creative development, and spiritual evolution. These topics are specifically discussed from the perspective of one who has been deeply affected by a major mental illness. They also provide alternative interpretations and solutions to help promote long term recovery. The second half of the book is a novella called Mystery of the Thought Healer; and it describes, in story form, some of the ideas expressed in the first section of the book. It is meant to explore various principles of character and theme as they relate to psychology, creativity, and spirituality.

About the Author

John Zurn has been faced with the challenge of bipolar manic depression for his entire adult life. Despite this challenge, he has still managed to work and write for over thirty years. As a teacher and rehabilitation counselor, he has also helped others find a sense of hope and purpose. Now, as a member of the speaker’s bureau for The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI of Dupage), Zurn has given well over a hundred presentations that have included: hospitals, medical schools, universities, nursing schools, high schools, senior centers, and radio interviews. Zurn credits his long term recovery to acceptance, symptom management and the willingness to learn from his mistakes. Zurn was born in 1954, and has an M.A. in English from Western Illinois University. He lives in Geneva, Illinois with his wife, Donna.

Book Extract


As an individual with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I have spent most of my life coping with an illness that is very difficult to identify and often extremely challenging to manage. This illness continues to defy any comprehensive explanation, and recovery can be a life long process. While medications improve, making life better for many, the illness itself still has no known cure. This dilemma has left many of us who cope with bipolar disorder to feel healthy enough to function, but sick enough to face recurring symptoms. Over the years, I, like millions of others, have undergone any number of treatments in hospitals and other mental health settings seeking relief and the promise of long term recovery. With the help of mental health professionals, family, and our own perseverance, many of us have been given a second chance to live a life of purpose with a renewed sense of inner strength and courage.

Now, as my own long term recovery endures, I finally have the opportunity to share my ideas and experiences with others. In my books, The Bipolar Challenge and Memoirs of a Bipolar Soul, I have written about my life in some detail and given some suggestions about symptom management. Since then, I have also given many presentations as a speaker for the DuPage County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). During these presentations I continue to share my story and exchange ideas with others. These presentations have included: hospitals, middle schools and high schools, colleges and universities, a medical school, nursing schools, support groups, senior centers, and police trainings.

Not surprisingly, during these presentations, certain topics continue to surface that deeply interest individuals with bipolar disorder, mental health professionals, and their families. These discussions have challenged my own perceptions and deepened my understanding of the illness and its effect on everyone who encounter it. After giving a number of these talks, I soon realized that these recurring themes could be expanded upon, far beyond the limits of my other books.

So, in my new book, The Promise of Long Term Recovery, I have decided to share some of my ideas that reflect a more in depth look at some relevant challenges many of us face. This includes some pressing and persistent problems associated with long term recovery and some useful ideas for inner stability and growth. In addition, I also point out some of the differences in viewpoints among mental health professionals, families and individuals in regard to the treatment of bipolar disorder. This will include how limiting concepts like behavioral analysis and “religiosity” define mental illness in restrictive ways.

The purpose of The Promise of Long Term Recovery is to examine the symptoms of bipolar disorder with a fresh perspective. By resisting the temptation to categorize thoughts, feelings, and actions as merely “psychotic” or “delusional,” this book presents more subtle explanations for symptoms. While underscoring the essential need for medications, counseling, and coping skills, this interpretation is also presented as an opportunity for creative expression and spiritual evolution.

In this effort to expand on some traditional beliefs about bipolar disorder, delusional states are described as having underlying significance for individuals even though these states of mind are largely ignored by mental health professionals. Yet, if these symptoms do, in fact, provide some sense of purpose for those of us with a mental illness, then, I believe, these symptoms may continue to manifest until these needs are addressed not only medically and psychologically, but also, creatively and spiritually.

However, this book is not meant to be considered as a debate over whether bipolar disorder is a major illness or not. Nor does this book suggest that will power and creativity alone can take the place of medication and counseling. Anybody with a real understanding or experience with this illness would surely reject such misguided assumptions. Instead, this book expands upon the interpretation of symptoms to include them as subtle clues that identify a deeper yearning that cannot be developed without a balanced lifestyle.

More specifically, The Promise of Long Term Recovery is divided into three parts. The first section contains a brief autobiography which is meant to provide some information that is relevant to the rest of the book. The next section has five chapters that reflect ideas and principles that many people seem genuinely interested in discussing. These chapters include the following topics: medication, coping skills, psychology, creativity, and spirituality. They offer many unique and potentially useful ideas and attitudes that can help provide direction and promote self-confidence. The third section is a Sci-Fi Fantasy novella called Mystery of the Thought Healer. This short novel expands upon many of the concepts I have explored in earlier parts of the book. Abstract ideas about psychology, creativity, and spirituality are “brought to life” so to speak, by the interaction of plots, characters, and themes that reflect these subtle principles in story form.

In closing, please remember these ideas in this book are based on my own interactions, beliefs, and experiences. I hope they will be useful to others like me, or at the very least, provide some explanations for those who so earnestly wish to understand and help us. I also want to add that I owe so much to so many people who have helped me along the way, that I can’t possibly repay them for their encouragement and support. Perhaps this book will be a small step in that direction.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to Chipmunka Publishing and NAMI of DuPage for all their support. Their generosity and encouragement have given me the self-confidence to write and speak openly about my mental illness.

Add to Cart:

  • Model: paperback
  • 175 Units in Stock

This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 12 May, 2011.