• Keir Wells

The Newly Diagnosed Manic-Depressive (Bipolar)

DISCLAMER: This article is not designed for, nor is it appropriate to self-diagnose.

Change and Empowerment

It was in 2000. The year of the Sydney Olympics. The year that many foresaw as being a technology apocalypse due to the Y2K “bug”. The year that I finally recognised I desperately needed professional help to deal with what was a lifetime of mental instability.

It was the year I was diagnosed as being manic-depressive. While the majority may refer to manic-depression as bipolar, for me I’m much more comfortable with the former. In my thinking it describes me almost perfectly - periods of mania, during which I would become almost uncontrollably outrageous, periods of depression of varying levels, and the almost heaven-sent periods in between when I was wonderfully calm.

What led to that diagnosis? I’m really not up to writing about that here and now.

-If you’re interested, though, then you can download my book - free-of-charge - here ( -

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But at 42 years of age and having carried mental illness for the vast majority of my life, it was a

diagnosis that helped me understand, manage and grow. The diagnosis, though, delivered by one of Sydney’s leading psychiatrists, made so much sense. I felt relieved and, after meeting with the psychiatrist several more times over the following months, better equipped to manage my mental


Admittedly, achieving what I would consider to be a decent level of management has taken a solid 20 years and a massive lifestyle change. But the progress made during those two decades has been steady and strong. Progress that I doubt would have been made without the diagnosis.

With the diagnosis came antidepressant medication and, while I definitely didn’t enjoy being on that medication, afforded me the critical opportunity to reflect and consider a path forward. That opportunity saw me establish a foundation upon which to build healthier life management strategies. These are essentially a set of rules and guidelines to which I try to adhere every day of my life - and they work. They really do.

One of the major revelations during the six or so months I was working with the psychiatrist was the concept of self-talk. Gaining an understanding of how negative self-talk could be a major influencer in taking me from a good mood right down into the most self-destructive of depressive episodes.

That revelation eventually led me to developing a series of physical and mental exercises that helps me recognise when I’m falling into negative self-talking, and actually switch my thought processes almost immediately onto something more positive.

Without the initial diagnosis and sessions with the psychiatrist? I feel absolutely positive that my life would be so much worse than it was even leading up to 2000.

Yes, I still carry my mental health challenges. I still experience manic and depressive episodes. But that diagnosis, that confirmation and understanding was a massive life-changing experience. I look back upon it as rebirth - a point in time when I was able to bring about change and empowerment.

Author: Keir Wells

Research Tips

Finding accurate information on the internet does not have to be hard. Here are some tips.

  • Look up questions that require an objective viewpoint. You will yield more accurate information by asking questions like ‘What is bipolar?’ and, ‘What are the the symptoms of bipolar?’

  • Use Google Scholar. This is a search engine that has all of the academic information for whatever question you ask. There will not be any opinion-based articles here. The articles are often lengthy and wordy but have great information.

  • Cross referencing means to look up multiple website/articles, and only rely on the information that is common among those pages. The more websites you check, the more accurate the information is.

  • Unless you are looking for opinions and lived experience stories, try to avoid blog sites and sites that are based off of opinion.

  • Look for peer reviewed articles or journals. A peer reviewed article basically means that other professionals in the same field have given it credibility by agreeing that it is of a professional and academic standard.

  • On YouTube, look for videos of interviews from professionals. Any person can create a video full of stigma and upload it. anyone can create a website full of stigmatised information. There should be clues in the title or description.

  • Research the leading psychologists, professors, psychiatrists in the field of your diagnosis. Look specifically for articles and books where those significant people have contributed to.

  • If you find an article that you enjoyed, understood, or related to, check the reference list for further research.

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