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November 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

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NOT JUST UP AND DOWN challenges the simplistic notion that bipolar disorder is an episodic illness characterized by extreme shifts in mood from depression to mania. Instead, John McManamy presents a far more nuanced picture of bipolar as a cycling illness with the brain in perpetual motion, extremely sensitive to nature’s slightest whims.

In this book, award-winning mental health journalist and author John McManamy seamlessly integrates expert scientific and patient wisdom, as seen through the eyes of someone who must face the daily challenge of his illness.

Among other things, you will learn how to distinguish your depressive and manic “traits” from your depressive and manic “states.” Not everything is as it seems.

You will also gain insights into:

*The bipolar spectrum, which overlaps with depression and anxiety and personality.
*The mysterious interplay between genes and environment and temperament.
*Your own true “normal,” which needs to be regarded as a mood episode in its own right.
*Your own anomalous behaviors, ranging from creativity to road rage to exuberance to thinking deep.
*The bipolar’s dilemma, namely: Do you take a chance on exerting yourself and thus risk triggering a mood episode, or do you play it safe, only succumb to isolation and despair?

In the process of learning to “know thyself,” you will grow to take stock in yourself and become your own expert patient, in a position to manage your own recovery and set your own goals in life.

“John McManamy has produced a brilliant book, north of normal, south of crazy. It’s as good an education about depression and manic states, and about psychiatry in general, as I’ve seen in one place, written from a first-person perspective of someone who’s experienced what he’s writing about. It’s well-informed, based on careful study, explaining complex concepts simply but not simplistically, citing all the right people, and the wrong ones too (on purpose). Read it, and it’ll cure you of your average-itis.” – Nassir Ghaemi, Professor of Psychiatry, Director, Mood Disorders Program, Tufts Medical Center.

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