About The Author
As President and CEO of McGraw Systems
LLC, Mr. Ben McGraw is a veteran of the computer software industry having
served over 15 years in various expanding software development and product
management roles at companies such as Silicon Graphics, FileMaker, and Oracle.
Mr. McGraw has seen the devastating effects Depression and Bipolar Disorder has
had on the lives around him. In response, Mr. McGraw decided to do something
for those that struggle with various affective disorders. Applying his
experience developing information technology solutions to manage disparate and
large amounts of information, Mr. McGraw built bStable – a complete Depression
and Bipolar Disorder Life Management System
About McGraw Systems LLC
McGraw Systems LLC was formed in 2008 to provide information technology solutions to assist those struggling with mental health illnesses. To order bStable, go to: www.mcgrawsystems.com
Every day of my life, the image of my best friend from college laying in his bed dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head haunts me. The image of his sister opening his bedroom door to find him lying in a pool of his own blood is unshakeable. I always think about what her face must have looked like, what thoughts were going through her mind, how she felt and how she and his family feel now.
After his suicide, I learned he was on antidepressants having being diagnosed with Depression. What's strange is I do remember him being depressed but I also remember him being very, very up – even as much as being depressed. I don't remember much about the funeral other than a year after graduating college, he was the only person I had known that had passed away. It was an ethereal experience. I could not believe he was gone and the pain his passing left on those around him.
The images and thoughts of my friend continued to stay with me. One day in the Summer of 2007, I decided to do something. I had been hearing a lot about Bipolar Disorder in the news. The swings in mood that were described as part of the disorder were just like my friends'. I began to consume as much information as I possibly could on the topic. The problem was there was not a central location for information on Bipolar Disorder. I bought books, scoured the Internet, went to DBSA events, NAMI events, leveraged the excellent mental health community in Boston, and learned and learned. By the Winter, I had fairly good understanding of Bipolar Disorder.
My formal education is in Computer Science. I tend to think about things in the form of data models which are entities and their associated relationships. So using my 6 months of research, I began to build a data model for a software application that I would go on to patent called bStable. bStable became a personal health record system for patients and their loved ones suffering from Depression and Bipolar Disorder to help manage the patient's disease state. Patients and their loved ones use it in combination with their clinicians to properly communicate on the patient's disease state helping identify signals that could be a cause for alarm and determine the best course of treatment.
In 2008, I formed a company called McGraw Systems LLC and launched our product bStable at the 2008 DBSA National Convention in Norfolk, Virginia. I purchased an exhibitor stand and using my laptop, I demonstrated bStable for two days straight. At the end of the conference I had parted with about 100 copies of the software. The patients loved bStable as it gave them a method to keep track of the myriad of daily life parameters that play into the lives of patients suffering from Bipolar Disorder. I was then asked to speak at the International Review of Bipolar Disorders in Lisbon, Portugal in May of 2009. We then went on to exhibit at the 2009 NAMI National Convention in San Francisco, had articles written about us in psycheducation.org, pendulum.org, exhibit at the 2009 Micronutrients for Mental Health Conference in San Francisco, and at the 2010 Community Alliance for Healthy Minds Forum in San Diego.
We now have over 500 patients, loved ones and clinicians using bStable all over the world. I get calls and emails every week telling me how bStable is helping various patients and their loved ones cope with this terrible disorder. For every letter or call that I receive, my thoughts go back to my friend who has now long passed away. I feel proud to have developed bStable in my friend's loving memory.