About John McManamy and Knowledge is Necessity

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), a bipolar blog at BipolarConnect (late 2005), and a more wide-ranging blog here 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.”

In 2004, as a Connecticut resident, I was honored with a public service award in recognition of mcmanweb and my Newsletter by the state's Psychiatric Society, NAMI, and Department of Mental Health. In June 2007, in recognition of mcmanweb and Newsletter and book, I received the prestigious Mogens Schou Award for Public Service from the Seventh International Conference on Bipolar Disorder. Past recipients of this award include Mogens Schou MD, who pioneered lithium treatment, and Kay Jamison PhD.

I am also involved in advocacy, public speaking, have been involved with DBSA on local, state, and national levels, and am currently on the board of NAMI San Diego.

In late 2006, after three years in central New Jersey, I moved to the San Diego area.

Over the years I have experienced a series of incremental healings that have added up to some rather profound healings. Nevertheless, my healing is at best probational. Still, I enjoy the type of peace of mind that would have eluded me had I only had a few light karmic obligations to contend with.

Writing about my illness and related behaviors has played a very strong role in my healing and recovery. Writing allows me to come to terms with my past, gives meaning to my present, and gives me the courage to face the future with hope.

I have been married twice. I have a wonderful grown daughter, Emily, by my first marriage, and the cutest grandkids in the world (I'm being completely objective).
The Fine Print

I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, alternative practitioner, or health or mental health professional. I am a journalist who reports research-based information and the insights of patients and loved ones, as well as a patient and loved one writing from personal experience. The  posts on this blog are intended to raise questions rather than answer them. For answers, you need to be talking to a qualified professional.


I am able to blog thanks to advertising from my mcmanweb site (and to a much lesser extent) here at Knowledge is Necessity, plus paid contributions as an "expert patient" to HealthCentral's BipolarConnect.

Any ads are the result of third-party transactions via Google and HealthCentral. I neither solicit ads for specific products, nor endorse specific products that appear in ads.

The move to paid advertising on mcmanweb is a recent one, early 2007 (for Google) and mid-2007 (for HealthCentral), well after my reputation for independence and fairness and integrity had long been established. Editorial content is not influenced by advertising. Equally important: Editorial opinion is not influenced by currying favor with my readership. On one hand, you the reader come first. On the other, I will not hesitate at publishing a blog piece that may displease you. As a journalist, my prime obligation is to deal honestly with the facts.

Big Pharma and the Nihilist Fringe

I have never had any relationship with a drug company or their agents. This means: I have neither solicited nor accepted funding from the drug industry, nor consulted with them, nor spoken on their behalf, nor been a speaker at sponsored symposia, nor provided testimonials, nor ghost-written articles for them. No relationship. Not a dime.

I am able to provide this blog as a free service thanks in part to ads on mcmanweb. The ads you see are via third parties. There are no conditions attached to running these ads. I do not go begging, hat in hand, to the drug companies. No one tells me what I should write.

I operate on the principle that readers are smart enough to draw their own conclusions regarding my uncompromising commitment to the facts.

Equally, important, I have no relationship with the nihilist fringe who choose to define themselves by their evangelistic hostility to psychiatry and medications. They believe that mental illness is a marketing tool dreamed up by drug industry conspiracies. They do not believe in anything positive. They do not talk about recovery. (Scientologists, at least, believe in something.)

I no longer employ the term, antipsychiatry, as nearly everyone these days - including psychiatrists - are sharply critical of the drug industry and psychiatric practice. Our commitment to recovery is what binds us, which allows room for spirited debate. Many of the pieces on this blog are strongly critical of psychiatric conventional wisdom. By the same token, I do not hesitate to show psychiatry in a positive light.

I have been attacked frequently by the nihilistic fringe, but never on the basis of the facts. Nor has anyone ever demonstrated how a drug ad has influenced my writing in any way, shape, or form.

Knowledge is necessity, but knowledge is also elusive. Facts change, new facts emerge, we see old facts in new ways. Psychiatry is in the business of laying a claim to greater knowledge. The drug companies hold out the promise of an easy answer. The nihilst fringe believe that their ideology trumps all the facts. Real life is far different. We learn, we grow, we change. We become better people. Knowledge is necessity, but the quest for knowledge never ends. You are smart enough to make up your own minds about the credibility of the information on this site. Welcome, and please keep checking in ...

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is paramount. You’re safe here. I have no idea who you are. Should you contact me, your correspondence and contact info will be kept in strictest confidence.