My Newsletter

McMan's Depression and Bipolar Report

Knowledge is Necessity.

by John McManamy

I'll Let My Readers Do The Talking

A sampling of unsolicited reader comments:

"This newsletter has been a blessing. I'm so glad that you are well enough and have the energy to do it. It means a lot."

"It is the most intellectually informative news I receive on mental health. I wait impatiently to read each issue ... Your emails are much more than what I receive from any related newsletter."

"I often copy articles for use at the support group."

"I just had to hospitalize my eight-year-old son for the fourth time this past Wednesday. He is bipolar, and your newsletter really informs me and helps me out."

"As always I find your newsletters not only informative but they also seem to evoke an emotional response in me."

"I want you to know what an educational, insightful, professional and compassionate e-newsletter you write and edit. Despite the gravity of the subject matter, your humanity and sense of humor shine through and I applaud all your efforts to educate, support and inspire."

Okay, My Turn

In June 1999, six months after I was diagnosed, I published my first Newsletter. My intention was to learn as I went along, applying my skills as a financial journalist to my own illness. Although financial journalism was extremely satifying, the people I was writing about and writing for were not real to me. That changed when I started writing about my illness. This time, my very life and well-being depended on what I was able to find out. Research became me-search and we-search.

In no time I was on a mission.

My early Newsletters were mainly short summaries of current research and popular press stories. Gradually, as I learned more, I was able to spot patterns in my research and connect dots. Over time, my reporting morphed from summaries to in-depth articles. From merely passing along information to putting it into some kind of context.

In 2004, I received my first public service award for my Newsletter - from NAMI-CT, the CT Psychiatric Society, and the Ct Dept of Mental Health.

In 2007, I was extremely gratified to receive the Mogens Schou Award for Public Service from the Seventh International Conference on Bipolar Disorder, attended by the world's top bipolar experts. The Awards were named in recognition and appreciation of the late Danish psychiatrist, Mogens Schou MD, Dr Med Sci, whose groundbreaking research and tireless efforts more than 50 years ago opened the door to lithium treatment, thereby changing the face of psychiatry. Dr Schou's work is universally acknowledged in saving the lives of millions and in allowing many millions more to lead productive lives.

“This year’s Mogens Schou Awards continue the strong tradition of honoring those heroes who are making major advances that bring hope to those suffering from bipolar disorder,” said David Kupfer MD, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

My fellow honorees from 2007 included the University of Barcelona powerhouse team of Francesc Colom PsyD, PhD, and Eduard Vieta MD, PhD who each received the Mogens Schou Award for Research. Their studies have been frequently cited in this Newsletter, especially in relation to the important field of psychoeducation. Dr Colom's and Vieta's innovations in this area represent ground-breaking advances in improved treatment adherence, illness management, and patient outcomes.

Rounding out the list of honorees was the Brazilian Association for Affective Disorders (ABRATA) for Education and Advocacy. Adriano Camargo, president of ABRATA, accepted the award on the organization’s behalf. The Conference cited the organization for its work in educating patients, their families, health professionals and the public, for patient and family support, advocacy, and encouraging research.

Past honorees have included Kay Jamison PhD, Husseini Manji MD, David Miklowitz PhD, and Jules Angst MD - all whose work is cited with great frequency on this Website and in my Newsletters.

I represent the first journalist to receive the award.

In my acceptance remarks at a special award function, I thanked the more than 300 people in attendance, whose research I have cited in my Newsletter and whose wisdom and insight has guided me over the years. "If it is important enough to tell your colleagues," I advised, "it's important enough to tell my readers - your patients."

The Newsletter is a free email service. Once a year, I conduct a fund drive, but there is no obligation to pay.

To sign up, email me and put "Newsletter" in the subject line.


Knowledge is Necessity

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Knowledge is Necessity Blog

"Be warned! These musings are addictive." - Kimberly Read, About.com - Bipolar.

Featured Blogs

Advice to a New Grandson

"We are who we pretend to be. You can’t go wrong pretending to be JFK or Martin Luther King." Plus more words of wisdom from the newly-anointed family patriarch and elder.

Advice to a New Grandson - Part II

"God has a funny way of treating people He loves most. Just ask Joan of Arc." Plus more stuff I wish I knew when I was two days old.

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Listening to Mental Illness

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Scott Gregory Hawkins - Who Will Speak Out?

When a college student with Aspergers is found beaten to death in his dorm room, one can't help but ask the obvious questions.

My Zombie State is Other People's Normal

My normal can be very unpredictable, but at least I know I won't embarrass myself when I feel out-of-it and depressed.

This Just In: We Are Sheep

Think you can't be manipulated? The people who signed a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide (another name for water) didn't think so, either.

Robert Spitzer and the DSM - Part V

This five-part series (and counting) looks at the brief history of diagnostic psychiatry and the man responsible for how we (and our clinicians) view ourselves.

My Life as an International Awardee - Conclusion

A speedy traverse of my life (in three parts) as the surprise recipient of a major award and why it didn't change my life but sure helped in my recovery.

The Gift

How a conversation with my daughter triggered a long-suppressed happy memory and offered a healing moment.

Coming to Terms

How two five-second Zen moments 30 years apart changed my life.

 

Recent Videos

"Nicely produced and edited. I'd love to see more frequent updates." - Sandra Kiume, journalist

My Didgeridoo Experience

The world's oldest wind instrument brings out the playful and spiritual side in me.

Mindfulness - Living in the Present

We forget. The present is where life is happening - here, right now.

Gonna Build Me a Tree

Don't just sit there. Build yourself a tree.

Road to Nowhere

Don't be fooled. There's always a somewhere.

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Nature heals. So do our brains.

Managing Anger

No koalas were harmed making this movie.

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The Bipolar Time Warp

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In the Spotlight

Lincoln and Darwin were born on the same day, 200 years ago in 1809. These two articles discuss how their actions and ideas apply to you:

Lincoln and His Depressions

His unremitting despair and constant failures steeled his character.

The Darwinian Challenge

Is there a selective advantage to depression and bipolar?

A Random Sampling

The Mood Spectrum

Now that you're familiar with the DSM-IV, forget everything you've read.

The Brain in Love and Lust

A leading anthropologist explains the birds and the bees.

Treating Bipolar Depression

We're depressed way more than we are manic. Now if psychiatry only knew how to treat us.

Mindfulness - The Ultimate Mood Stabilizer

What is arguably the most effective recovery tool requires a highly disciplined mind.

Dopamine - Serotonin's Secret Weapon

A smart dopamine med may do wonders for your depression or bipolar or mental acuity. The problem is one doesn't exist.

The Bipolar Child

No, it's not normal kid behavior.

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An innovative researcher discovers that patients know best.

Living Well With Depression and Bipolar Disorder by John McManamy (HarperCollins 2006)

"I doubt there is a person in the world who knows these conditions better, inside and out, than John McManamy ... He weaves together the science and the inner experiences of depression and bipolar disorder in a way that is quite rare. This book is full of studies and personal insights, in about equal measure, leavened with the practical conclusions of its even-handed and often humorous author. It breaks new ground." - Nassir Ghaemi MD, Tufts University

Sample Amazon Reviews

"John McManamy has an outstanding ability to describe his and other's experience of having bipolar disorder in all its complexity. He never tries to take the place of the patiet's psychiatrist. He refers his readers to other sources of excellent more detailed clinical information. He tells the human side of the story. He teaches patients how to be better informed consumer's of psychiatric care. He encourages patients to be active participants in their recovery." - Raymond


"This is one of the best books I've read on the subject of Bipolar Disorder or Depression. Filled with real world examples, and crammed with information this book will empower you to take charge of your illness." - Eileen

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