The Bipolar Challenge


By John Zurn

ISBN: 978-1-84747-666-1
Published: 2008
Pages: 66
Key Themes: bi-polar, mental health services, recovery, career, helping others



In this book, the author identifies some of the unique challenges that he has faced as a person with a long history of mental illness. The book chronicles his lonely and frustrating years as a patient in various mental health systems, and honestly examines some of his own reckless behavior.

The author also discusses the value of psychological treatments and spiritual discovery, as they relate to long term recovery. In addition, the author outlines a number of valuable strategies and original poems that the reader may find helpful.

This book is meant to be a source of hope and encouragement for other readers, like him, who struggle with bipolar issues in an often indifferent world.

About the Author

John Zurn was born in 1954 and lives with his wife, Donna, in Geneva, Illinois.

He received an M.A. in English from Western Illinois University in 1982, and spent much of his career as a private school teacher. In addition, he worked at several developmental training centers, where he taught employment readiness skills to mentally challenged teenagers and adults.

As a counselor, he also helped people who were being discharged from the same state institution were he, himself, was once a patient. Over a thirty year period, Zurn has self-published a number of poetry books, and has sometimes been published in magazines.

Currently, he spends much of his time writing, hiking, and volunteering.

Book Extract


Life can be challenging for everyone, and nobody escapes the struggles of daily life. But for people with mental illness, life can be a roller coaster of fear, anxiety, and despair. Being diagnosed as a person with bipolar and anxiety disorders, my life over the last thirty-five years has been sometimes frightening, often difficult, but also fulfilling. In the pages ahead, this book will describe a few of my personal encounters and work experiences that seek to explain my own painful growth and development. In addition, this book will also explain some impressions, beliefs, and strategies that have helped me successfully cope with my disabilities and allowed me to “make sense” of my life.

The personal encounters and work experiences I have chosen for this book are as factual and as truthful as I can recall. They are sometimes embarrassing; however, I believe that by telling the truth without embellishment, I might more accurately describe these events, so they may be useful to others.

I also believe that these experiences show how important it has been for me to develop a sense of self-discipline. This includes developing an authentic sense of self-esteem and discovering realistic attitudes in terms of work, routine, and medication. In addition, writing also helps clarify my impressions and experiences, so I can better integrate them into my life.

The various ideas I have come to trust and believe in are things that have worked for me over the years. These concepts are a kind of internal structure that helps me in day to day living. They have also proven valuable in my relationships with others.

However, it is also very important for individuals with mental disorders to be able to “get into their own heads.” In order to enhance and support medications, there are many strategies that can be adopted to cope with unique difficulties that many of us face. When our “mental weather” becomes turbulent, it is very helpful to use some or all of these strategies to reestablish a sense of well-being and serenity.

The last part of this book explains some of my beliefs that have brought me contentment and helped me discover my place in the world. In some ways these beliefs are unorthodox, yet everyone’s beliefs are original and therefore potentially useful. These beliefs stress my search for certainty in a world of change, but also my desire to help others as a way of helping myself find love and fulfillment.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 25 June, 2008.

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