Putting Pen to Paper

John McManamy Health Guide
  • On November 7, 2004 I went to my evening support group believing I had fired the president, only to be brought to earth when I returned home shortly after ten o’clock. How bad was it? Like St. Augustine learning that the Vandals had just sacked Rome. A Dark Ages was upon us, and I felt my own lights going out.

    The sacking of Rome inspired St. Augustine to write City of God. What was I to do? I was too depressed to crank out my email newsletter, McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly, but I refused to give George Bush the satisfaction of confining me to my bed. I needed a diversion, a book project, my own equivalent to City of God.
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    Sitting in my hard drive was a rough draft book manuscript on depression and bipolar disorder. I had been playing with a book for several years. Earlier that year, in February soon after I got married, I got serious, but something was missing. There was no unifying theme to make all the pieces fir, so I set the manuscript aside. Then during the summer the idea for the theme came to me, but I was way too busy with my newsletters to give the book any time.

    So here I was on the morning of November 8, staring blankly into my computer screen. I pulled up my manuscript, and slowly but surely started inserting bits and pieces of my unifying theme into the book. The days flew by, and I got bolder, rewriting large portions of the manuscript to jibe with the theme. My website readers were my best witnesses:

    "Please," writes Brian, "may I have my life back and start over again.”

    Which cued up my unifying theme: “Forget for the time being whether it’s depression or bipolar disorder my readers are talking about. Simply listen …”

    The diagnosis – depression, bipolar, whatever - was simply a technicality. What was real was our suffering. Only when people closely examined our suffering could they get the technicalities right, and it was time to question the technicalities.

    I was on a roll. There was no way I was going to not finish the book now. November flew by. So did December. I managed to get out one newsletter in December and one in January. I would get my newsletters back on track soon enough. It was time to find a publisher.


    My book, “Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You … That You Need to Know,” will be published in Fall 2006 by Harper Collins. It is available as a pre-order on Amazon.
Published On: April 24, 2006