I am an award-winning mental health journalist and author. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1999 at age 49 following a suicidal depression and a lifetime of denial. Soon after, as a means of coming to terms with my illness, I started up an email Newsletter (mid 1999), then mcmanweb.com (late 2000), and a blog at Knowledge is Necessity (late 2008). In Oct 2006, HarperCollins published my book, “Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You That You Need to Know.”
I am also active in mental health advocacy and recovery, including involvement with DBSA and NAMI.
I lead a fairly quiet life just outside San Diego. When I am not writing on mental health, I write for fun (I'm working on two novels at the moment). I also play the didgeridoo, take nature walks, poke my nose into a book, and do some serious cooking.
I came to HealthCentral as one of its first "expert patients" in 2005. HealthCentral was the first health site to bring together a vast range of us - people with lived experience committed to helping fellow patients better understand the nature of their condition.
My main mission here at HealthCentral is to encourage discussions on living with the day-to-day challenges of our illness. Typically my posts are inspired by your comments. My follow-up posts move in the direction of your feedback. More often than not, one of you will raise an issue I have not considered before. This gives rise to a new post. The discussion moves forward. We all learn together.
I also report on developments I may have read in a medical journal or heard from an expert at a conference or stumbled into by chance (say from a TED Talk). I was a financial journalist in a past life, and I employ similar techniques in breaking down complex information in a way that will shine light on the issues so vitally important to our recovery.
I also report on my own day-to-day challenges in living with bipolar and with depression - from getting out of bed in the morning to dealing with personal relationships to expressing gratitude. I may be an expert patient, but life has a way of turning us all into novices. Life is sort of a first draft. We learn as we go along.
I post on bipolar disorder twice a week and on depression twice a month.
Suffice to say, my relationship with the HealthCentral community over the years has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. Make yourself at home. You are amongst friends.