John McManamy describes himself as an “expert patient” with bipolar disorder, but just plain “expert” fits as well. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder some eight years ago, he set out to learn about his illness armed with the motto, “Knowledge is necessity.” That motto now graces one of the best web sites available on depression and bipolar disorders (and everything in between), McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web. With close to 300 articles on everything from the bipolar spectrum debates to how to deal with friends and family to the molecular pharmacokinetics of neuroleptics [how meds work], it’s vastly informative. He also continues to produce an award-winning e-newsletter, McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly, and keeps a blog titled John’s Bipolar Stories.

Knowledge IS necessity, and so is his new book Living Well With Depression and Bipolar Disorder: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need To Know. You definitely do need to know. McManamy is an inspiration and a beacon to those who want to better understand and manage their illness, and has compiled his knowledge in a format you can take to the beach.

Living Well… is a unique book that combines the knowledge of treating and research professionals with that of patients, weaving a tapestry that incorporates nearly every aspect of life with depression and bipolar disorders. More than a patient handbook, it questions and demystifies treatment strategies and discusses crisis management, dealing with stress and anxiety, etc., but also deals with practical issues of how to cope with job, family and social demands. McManamy delves into psychiatry, brain science, nutrition, spirituality, behaviour, relationships, and more. The pages are rife with gleaned wisdom, and a quick wit.

For people with bipolar disorders who no longer use credit cards due to hypo/manic spending sprees, Barnes and Noble is one of the few online booksellers that accepts PayPal. Otherwise, it’s available from a wide array of sources including Amazon, and your local book stores offline. I’m hoping to having my copy autographed on his speaking tour.