Skip to main content

Giving Thanks for John McManamy

John McManamy was my introduction to the concept of expert patient, a mental illness educator with lived experience and serious chops, research-wise.

Our relationship began not long after Prozac Monologues, the blog began in 2009, with a skunk. How on earth did I find his tale of too-close-but-thankfully-not-the-worst-sort-of-too-close encounter with a skunk? Probably I googled amygdala. That tells who John is right there. You want to know about amygdala? John will tell you a story about a skunk.

So I began to follow his blog, Knowledge is NecessityOne bite at a time, he added to my growing knowledge of everything from God to neurons, especially the neurons. We developed first a conversation, back and forth in the comment sections of our respective blogs, and then a friendship.

When he included me as the New Kid on the Block in his post of August 2009, My Favorite Mental Health BlogsProzac Monologues took off. Thanks, John. You gave me the encouragement to persevere, a model to live up to, and a jumpstart on my own career as an expert patient.

For more systematic learning, John has another website, McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web, with the subtitle, You Are Your Own Expert. The latter is John's theme. You are the one who knows you, and to get the best care and best recovery, you better know the beast you face. McMan's Web is a compendium of stories, videos, and articles on mood, behavior, treatment, recovery, science, issues, famous, stories, populations, and relationships. It's a great place to learn, taught by the person who will teach you about the amygdala by telling you a story about a skunk.

I review one of John's books, Not Just Up and Down, a systematic look at bipolar that answers the questions, What if we tore up the DSM and the patients described what it actually looks/feels/lives like? You can find it and others on Amazon.

A man of many talents, in recent years John has taken to the road, lives in a converted vehicle, plays the didgeridoo, and writes wisdom of the road. Find his new material at Youtube.com. Search his name and subscribe.

If you are newly diagnosed, if you are seeking intelligent, comprehensible, and entertaining information, if you have moved on to a more life-reflective mode, John is a good companion. He deserves his first-place spot in my month of sharing resources and giving thanks for those who are my companions on my own road of recovery.

photo of skunk in public domain
flair from Facebook.com
book image from Amazon.com

Comments

Popular Posts

Mental Health Care as our Institutions Fail

There are twelve psychiatrists in Zimbabwe for a population of 16 million people. When Dixon Chibanda, one of the twelve lost a patient to suicide because she could not afford the $15 bus fare to get to her appointment, he did not blame her for breaking the appointment. He came up with another system to deliver mental health care. He trained grandmothers.



We also have barriers to psychiatric care in the US. Some of these barriers are similar to Zimbabwe's, distance and lack of providers.

There are less than ten psychiatrists for 100,000 people in eastern Oregon, an area with one of the highest suicide rates in the country. An overworked psychiatrist in eastern Oregon came home one day to find seven cows in his driveway. They were not his cows. It was not the first time. Who knows what his day/week/year had been like. He snapped. He shot seven cows, killing six of them.

Unfortunately, he botched the job. The community might have been understanding if he had shot them in the head. …

A Common Struggle - A Review

In A Common Struggle, Patrick Kennedy tells the story that only he can tell.

There are many memoirs of depression, bipolar, co-morbid substance abuse, families that keep secrets, and recovery. Lately there are memoirs that combine a personal story with a cause: get help, get the right diagnosis, find people who can support you, advocate for better treatment.

Kennedy's unique perspective is the insider's view on the long-term national political work of improving mental health care.

His aunt Eunice lobbied for better care for people with mental disabilities and started the Special Olympics. That issue was combined with mental health care in the Community Mental Health Centers Act signed by his uncle John in 1963. His father Edward spend his whole career advancing the cause of universal health care.

Patrick's contribution to his family's record of public service is The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

For political neophytes Kennedy's book is a master c…

Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain

Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

David L. Conroy had me at the opening sentence.  I read it first at Metanoia.org and knew it came from somebody who had been there.  I recommend the website for help and insight from the insider's perspective.  If you are thinking about suicide, read this first.