A MUSICIAN who has suffered with bipolar his entire life has created songs to raise awareness of the condition.

John McAllister had his first nervous breakdown when he was 17 in 1967.

Born in Ireland, he was about to sit his final college exams.

John, who is now 70, of Church Hill, Ramsey, said: “I just had a complete meltdown.

“I was hearing voices and was hallucinating.

“I had the electro convulsive therapy that wipes your memory as that’s what they did in those days.”

John had a similar episode in 1971 before moving to England to find work in 1972.

John, who worked as a computer operator and then a junior programmer, said: “I had another breakdown in 1984.

“My dad was bipolar and it was my interaction with him that triggered breakdowns.”

That year, John stayed as a sectioned patient at Friern Psychiatric Hospital in London, where he was diagnosed with bipolar.

He said: “Once we knew what it was we could deal with it but it takes a lot of effort to get the right medication as everyone is individual.”

Besides work, John has always had a passion for music and has spent his life making songs.

In 2018, he first mentioned his music passion to a therapist at Colchester Hospital.

He said: “I decided I wanted to change medication as I was putting on weight.

“I had therapy at Colchester Hospital and tried about three medications.

“Last spring I told my consultant I had written a song, called The Patient, about my observation of a nurse treating a dementia patient at the hospital.”

His therapist suggested he join forces with music therapist, Terry Craig.

Terry was due to play at a garden party for an early onset dementia group in May.

John said: “I played with Terry, it was brilliant and it really woke me up.

“I was then discharged from Colchester but they offered me lectures in maintaining mental health in Clacton, which I took up.

“There I met people who were really struggling and I felt really sorry for them.

“It was then I wrote a song called Madness Days for my 13th album Hot Day Retro.

“Madness Days recounts my stay as a sectioned patient in Frien Hospital when I finally got my diagnosis and was able to take control of my life.”

Money raised from making music has been donated to the charity Bipolar UK.

The album was produced by Pete Hunt and Irena Barden sings with John on two tracks.

John said: “My aim was not to make money but to highlight the condition, which is treatable.

“It is a devastating condition and has a high incidence of suicide, especially among young people who lack support.

“Not taking the medication because ‘I want to be the real me’ is a common occurrence.

“This is why I stress on the album blurb there should not be any shame in taking medication to control the condition.”