Off to Pittsburgh

John McManamy Health Guide
  • It’s closing in on 11 PM. I have a plane to catch tomorrow and I should have posted this blog hours ago. With conference season in full swing, things get a bit crazy around here. This week is the Seventh International Conference on Bipolar Disorder in Pittsburgh, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute. Also this month is the NAMI conference, “just down the hill” in San Diego, representing my third conference in six weeks.


    Between conferences, I have limited production windows that represent ‘now or never” moments in terms of cranking out work. Fortunately, I met my deadlines without burning myself out, and hopefully I will do the same between Pittsburgh and NAMI. I’ll arrive in Pittsburgh late evening tomorrow, with a whole day the next day to chill out and adjust to the time zone changes. Then there’s an evening function, followed by two solid days from morning till into the evening, plus a third full day.

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    The whole time I need to be on my game. I’ll be one of the few patients in a venue full of the world’s leading researchers and clinicians. The speakers will be talking to high brain-power audiences, who, in turn, could be educating the speakers. If I happen to drop the term, “endophenotype,” into a conversation I’d better know what I’m talking about.


    Moreover – for reasons I will elucidate in an upcoming blog – I will be on display. I will be singled out at a function. Additionally, my book, “Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder,” will be on sale. There will be no blending into the woodwork this time around in Pittsburgh. The experience could either turn out highly stressful or supremely gratifying. Likely, it will be a bit of both.


    I will be seeing a good many people who have been very gracious in assisting me along the very challenging learning curve I have faced over the years in writing about my illness. These individuals have given me the equivalent of private masters classes on things you don’t find in the standard information for patients, things we desperately need to know in order to manage our illness: the mood spectrum, bipolar depression, smart meds strategies, brain science, psychotherapies, and on and on.


    For lack of a better term, I refer to them as enlightened psychiatrists. You will hear a lot more from them in upcoming blogs. Now to start packing …



Published On: June 05, 2007