New Heart


My ongoing journey of discovery.

by John McManamy



I ESTABLISHED this site in late 2000. Soon, it became the web's leading resource on depression and bipolar disorder. I am constantly updating it to keep up with both changing perceptions and new developments in the field, and every few years it requires a massive overhaul. My latest one was particularly challenging. To make this site mobile-friendly required me learning a whole new set of technical and design skills. After many weeks of trial and error, I was able to forge ahead. This included both retiring some old pieces and loading new ones.

I was particularly proud of my efforts. Back in 2000, anyone with Microsoft FrontPage could build their own site. It was the golden age of do-it-yourselfers, and I was fortunate enough to enter the field at a time that favored learning as you went along. But every year saw the bar raised higher. Soon, the do-it-yourselfers were left behind. I managed to adapt. Each new iteration of my site kept pace with changing times. But a few years back, I finally figured I had met my match. Times were changing too fast, and the technical demands of the new world of mobile devices seemed beyond my grasp.

Finally, at the beginning of 2016, I made the commitment. I had just finished one bipolar book and was working on another. I made room in my schedule to devote to the site. I noticed a certain shortness in my breath, but who worries about little things like breathing. By mid-July, I had completed all but a couple of rounds of uploads. The site was looking good. I figured two more days and I would have a site that looks complete.

I went to lie down, only to experience an acute shortness of breath, chest pain, and a tingling in my upper left arm. I called my brother, who drove me to the nearest ER. I was half-expecting to be sent home with a baby Aspirin. Three days later, a highly dedicated medical team cracked me open like a lobster and performed quadruple bypass surgery.

By rights, my heart should have stopped beating months before. It was totally blocked, and my cardiologist had images to prove it. I had been breathing on borrowed time. Had I not called my brother, had he not picked up the phone, I would not have dialed 911. I’m guessing, then, I would have been down to my last or second-to-last sunset.

A week after my hospital discharge, my cardiologist asked me if I had any questions. "Only philosophical ones," I found myself replying. I had graduated from being an expert patient to a philosopher patient.

Around the same time, my living situation collapsed on me. It was time, I realized, for me to hit the road. First I needed to recover from my surgery. Then from eye surgery. By the middle of November, I was able to joke I was bionic. New heart, new eyes. For the first time since age 10, I was able to get around without glasses.



But before I could hit the road, I still had stuff to complete. My second book in The Bipolar Expert Series, for instance. A novel series I needed to get out. And finally this website. I'm writing this three days after finally completing the job. I can't begin to describe my sense of completion. People have been telling me that I wasn't meant to die, that I still have things to accomplish. I'm just now beginning to believe them.

This brings me to my road trip. Recently, I left San Diego, which has been my home for ten years. Right now, I am in the Southwest, out in nature and with friends. I will take my time and let the land heal. I will also be establishing face-to-face contact with those in the mental health community, including a lot of my readers, not to mention making new friends with the world of cardio patients. In addition, I'm looking forward to meeting all and sundry.

I am looking forward to a new life of discovery - discovery, healing, and connection. Just as coming to grips with my bipolar has turned me into a different person, so has my heart surgery. I literally died and became reborn. You can't help but become a philospher in the process.

There will be a book coming out of this, based on insights I pick up on the road. I also look to be blogging along the way.




I will continue on through the south, and look to winding up in New York and New England in the spring. Then over the northern states in the summer. From there, who knows? Life is an adventure. It has to be. We really have no other choice. At every stage in the journey, I will be relying on the generosity of my readers and old friends. If you would like to help me out with a spare bed to sleep on, please contact me using the email form below and I will get back to you.

You can also help out by purchasing my books on Amazon. As well as my two books in The Bipolar Expert Series, I just uploaded two novels. To find the novels, just enter my name on Amazon.

Also, you can donate by clicking either PayPal link on this page. This website is a free service, a labor of both love and hate. Since 2000, I have been single-mindedly helping readers come to terms with their illness and improving their lives. This time, I can use your help. Please click that yellow button. Every little bit is greatly appreciated.


Follow me on the road. Check out my New Heart, New Start blog.



Send me an email


Follow me on the road. Check out my New Heart, New Start blog.



Bipolar Stuff in the Shack with John and Maggie