Today I’m delighted to host Jason Wegner, author of the powerful memoir Manic Man, to tell us a bit more about his book and the story behind it. Huge thanks to Jason, Cherish Editions and Literally PR for having me on the tour and offering to talk about such an important topic. Now, over to Jason!
Manic Man Overview
My name is Jason Wegner, author of Manic Man: How to Live Successfully with a Severe Mental Illness.
My book, Manic Man, is about living with bipolar I disorder successfully. Manic Man begins with an outline of the normal life I had before my mental illness took hold. I was in hypomania (preceding stage) for about a year and engaged in some risky behaviour such as smoking copious amounts of marijuana and trying psychedelic drugs. While drugs would be a primary trigger, I likely have the bipolar genealogical makeup as my late uncle was bipolar.
Stress was also a factor as I was away from home for 16 days in Tanzania, Africa, on a service trip. While there and when I got home, I was in a severe manic episode. Mania would last three months, and I would be hospitalized for 57 days in the acute psychiatry ward. Getting out of the hospital was hard, and when I did, I was severely depressed.
To lift me out of depression, my psychologist and future co-author, Dr. Kerry Bernes, had me focus on eight areas of life. He calls it The Octagon of Life, and it propelled me a year later into post-traumatic growth and a life better than I had prior to my diagnosis.
Why I Wrote Manic Man
I had fully recovered from my severe manic episode and severe seven-month-long depression when my psychologist, Dr. Kerry Bernes, asked me to present to his master’s class of psychology students and be their real-life case study example. After I gave my 30-minute presentation, a woman in the audience said she found my story inspiring and said I should write a book.
The next time I saw Dr. Bernes, I told him I wanted to write a book in the next ten years. He said it was a great idea but said I would write it in six months. So, I did. It took about a year and a half to find a deal with Cherish Editions, and in the end, the book became available just under two years after that first presentation.
The Writing Process
Because I made a strict deadline of six months to write my memoir, I had to be consistent.
I worked on the book in some capacity nearly every day for six months until it was complete. I started by overviewing and making notes on every note, post, recording, text and email I made during my manic episode. Everything was so well documented that Manic Man virtually wrote itself! Planning and writing took a lot of work, but I am incredibly pleased with the final product.
About the book
What’s it really like finding yourself in the throes of a hypomanic stage for the first time? And then to find yourself in an acute psychiatric ward for 57 days, followed by 7 months of depression?
This is a raw and honest account of Jason’s life before and during his diagnosis of bipolar 1 disorder, and with help from Dr Bernes, how he lifted himself from severe depression and is now living successfully with a severe mental illness.
Dr Bernes developed The Octagon of Life – focusing Jason’s recovery on 8 areas. Following the plan, Jason’s depression ameliorated, and he experienced post-traumatic growth that has made him, in his own words, a more fulfilled person than before the diagnosis. This is an account of hope and inspiration about a mental illness that to this day affects so many yet is still widely misunderstood and rarely talked about in the same level of openness as depression or anxiety.
Manic Man is available for purchase on Amazon and triggerhub.org.
About the Author
Jason Wegner is currently a university student at the University of Lethbridge, working towards becoming an English Language Arts Teacher. His writing experience includes participating in 14 major writing courses at the University of Lethbridge and producing dozens of undergraduate essays.
Jason was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder in late August of 2017. After a year and a half of recovering from his manic episode, he began writing his memoir about the experience, which he has called Manic Man: How to Live Successfully with a Severe Mental Illness. Jason also launched his speaking career in 2019 and has been a keynote speaker on five separate occasions, one of which was to a crowd of 250 people.
Jason’s psychologist and co-author, Dr Kerry Bernes, has a Bachelor of Education degree, a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology from the University of Calgary. Dr Bernes is a registered psychologist, member of various associations in the field of psychology, and has experience as a Teacher, Sessional Instructor, Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in Education, Assistant Professor and has been a Full Professor at the University of Lethbridge since July 2012.