The new book Bliss + Blues = Bipolar chronicles the 20-year journey of mental health recovery for Jason W. Park, PhD. Park was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 23, shortly after graduating with honors from Harvard University. His wish is that readers will learn from his story and shorten their own paths of recovery.
Los Angeles, CA | May 5, 2021 – What would you do to recover if you were diagnosed with a serious mental illness? This was the dilemma facing 20-something Jason W. Park, PhD, after his vacillating mood swings and erratic behavior became too extreme to ignore. Chapter 1 of the book shows Park confronted with frightening waves of depression and dejection alternating with sky-rocketing feelings of ecstasy and elation on an LA-bound flight from Boston post-graduation. A new experience, he didn’t know what was causing it. When diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a month later, the author never thought it would take him and his family 20 years to find the answers that led to his recovery.
“It’s important for others with Bipolar Disorder to read my story, the hero’s journey,” says Park. “Just to get an idea of what’s in store for them, if they simply go the same path that I did.”
Those 20 years would include the dark days and the highlights that come with the condition. In a rage, Park swiped at his father with a golf club and ended up in jail. Over the years, he was a patient at seven different mental health treatment centers. The author struggled but managed to get a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business, and he landed a well-paying and prestigious professorship at a Hong Kong business college. Despite these accomplishments, his symptoms would continue to be an issue for him.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Bipolar Disorder affects 7 million Americans, or 2.8% of the US adult population. Symptoms typically first surface between ages 15 and 24. The condition is also known as Manic-Depression, Manic-Depressive Illness, Bipolar Mood Disorder, and Bipolar Affective Disorder.
“The young people I see who are newly diagnosed are often lost,” says Park. “They really need to read this book. With the right support, I’ve managed to be in recovery since 2016 – the last five years.”
In his Afterword, the author offers advice to others with Bipolar Disorder, laying out the one Precondition (The Patient’s Self-Motivation to Get Better) and three Requirements (1. Patient’s Trust in the Treatment Team; 2. Patient’s Reaching Out to Family; and 3. Patient’s Engaging with the Community) for recovering one’s Mental Health. He says all these things work together, and though there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder, recovery is possible.
“Mental health recovery is like turning a kaleidoscope,” notes Park. “You have to twist and turn it until you get the light refracted just right and then it shines like a jewel. And then you’re OK, and the worst part is behind you.”
In addition to those with Bipolar Disorder, Park created his book to be a resource for their family and friends too. Other invaluable back matter pieces Park offers in the book are an address he gave to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health on dealing with emotionally distraught individuals, and insightful backgrounders from his parents, psychologist and psychiatrist.Dr. Park’s book Bliss + Blues = Bipolar is available in paperback ($14.99) and ebook ($3.99) on Amazon. It is also sold at Village Well Books and Coffee in Culver City, CA. “Jason Park employs a sensitive and eye-opening lens to the Bipolar experience. Buoyed by optimism and hope, he takes ownership of his diagnosis with writing that is dignified and explosive,” writes one reviewer.
Link to Bliss+ Blues = Bipolar’s book page on Amazon
Further info on Bipolar Disorder from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
To find a Bipolar Support Group Near You (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – DBSA)