An End - and a Beginning

John McManamy Health Guide
  • I'm always up for the right kind of challenge, so back in the fall of 2005 when BipolarConnect presented me with the opportunity to blog here, I jumped at the opportunity.

    Okay, I lie. I was dragged in kicking in screaming. A blog? What's a blog? And do you have to excuse yourself in polite company when you accidentally blog? The few blogs I'd read resembled vanity productions, featuring panoramic overuse of "I" and "me." Surely, blogs had to be a passing fad.

    Moreover, I was concerned about putting too much of my personal life on display.

    Sure enough, my first batch of blogs concerned a crushing depression I was experiencing. Then I changed pace to purchasing a toaster - me buying a toaster. But this wasn't an ordinary toaster. As I described it:

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    "These were retro toasters. Art deco beauties. The toaster of the future as seen through the eyes of a designer of the thirties. Streamlined with dials and a graphite finish."

    Soon, I would graduate to bigger appliances - uh - topics. Here's what I wrote on the prospect of having to serve on a jury through a five-week criminal trial:

    "Just sitting – the easiest task in the world for most of the population. But try doing it with my brain. There in the back of the courtroom, surrounded by other would-be jurors, I wanted to bury my face in my hands and cry. I wasn’t like the others in the room. For them five weeks of fulfilling one’s civic duty was a major inconvenience and perhaps a personal hardship. Nothing more. For me, it was life-threatening. A melt-down was a virtual certainty."

    And from a psychiatry conference:

    "Yesterday, I picked up my media credentials, got the lay of the land, then went back to my hotel. I had circled in a breakfast symposium that I was planning on not waking up on time for, but no such luck.  At 5 AM my eyes popped wide open, and, despite my best efforts refused to close."

    And when my marriage went up in smoke:

    "So how am I feeling? I want to sleep. I want to wake up … Cancel that. I never want to wake up. Life is too miserable right now."

    Then there's life's simple pleasures:

    "I'm at Disney World. I enter the gate to the Magic Kingdom. A brass band in spiffy uniforms with epaulets is belting out Dixie tunes. Best of Sousa meets best of Louis Armstrong. It's a street carnival on Main Street. I'm bipolar and I'm eating this up."

    Other times, my blog pieces were first impressions on themes I would later develop into more polished articles on my Website and in my Newsletter:

    "At the APA, Nancy Andreasen MD of the University of Iowa pointed out that Newton was a wild and crazy guy who had a psychotic break at age forty, that Albert Einstein was an eccentric who had a son with schizophrenia, and that James Watson was a bit of a loose cannon who also had a son with schizophrenia. Thus, the three most important discoveries of the modern scientific era, Dr Andreasen said, had something to do with schizophrenia. What are the odds of that?"

    Then there were the topical issues: "Sixty Minutes' Worst Hour," ran one blog headline. "My Oprah Experience and Why It Didn't Change My Life," read another. And, over and over again, why the NY Times repeatedly keeps getting it wrong.

  • But just when life threatened threatened to get too serious, there were my kittens to write about. Sadly, there was also the suicide of a good friend, all of 28.

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    "Nothing lasts forever," I wrote in a blog describing the Buddhist concept of impermanence. A time to build, a time to tear down. After more than three years of cranking out blogs here at BipolarConnect at the rate of two a week, it's time to scale back.

    I will continue to be engaged at BipolarConnect in community building and various projects, but my blogs here will only come out occasionally. But I will carry on in the form of a new blog, Knowledge is Necessity, which has been going for about a week. Blogging, I figured out, is here to stay.

    This new blog is closely linked to my site, and features short daily posts (and occasional longer ones) on topics all and sundry.

    I'm extremely grateful to BipolarConnect for getting me started on blogs, and for the fantastic producers I have worked with here, as well as a hugely supportive readership. My mission at all times has been to educate and inform, but, believe me, I'm the one who has learned from you.

    I truly value the friendships I have formed at BipolarConnect, and look forward to developing them even further in pursuit of working with a growing community here. So please keep checking in here. But I'm also looking forward to having you drop by at Knowledge is Necessity.

    It's a new year, a new beginning ...

Published On: January 05, 2009