What I plan to do here is give you some Do's and Don'ts for finding a good psychiatrist/therapist etc. and also a bit of legal philosophy regarding what is known as "informed consent" and how it relates to your mental well-being.
While you are cruising those phone pages, be sure to cruise down under mental health resources as well. Chances are pretty good you'll find support groups with addresses and phone numbers. Attend a meeting and ask about some of the physicians you found in the phone book. Take notes--more than one bad report is cause for caution if not out and out alarm. If you can't locate a support group for manic-depression you can always email me, and I will hit the information highway on a search in your behalf. Of course, to hedge your bet, join an online support group (like FyrenIyce) as well.
Asking HOW one finds a good doctor presupposes one has a choice in who that person might be. Unfortunately for many of us, that may not be the case. If you are beholden to the government for aid, it may be that you'll be forced to take whomever is available and not always the same doctor each time. If you belong to an insurance scheme that limits your choices to their list of available psychiatrists, then again, the choice you make is not a free one.
If you don't have an assertive bone in your body, this will be difficult and will require you to steel your nerves to follow the advice. Don't allow yourself to be silenced by institutions, their employees, your doctor or your family. Stand up for yourself and demand again and again that you be listened to. It is NOT always the case that others know better than you what YOU ought to do! True, if you are terribly ill and no longer capable of making decisions, then you must rely on your advocates to argue on your behalf. All the more reason why I say it is only the most ignorant (or most socially deprived) of persons who would fail to have an advocate (or several) to guard their interests.
What this advice boils down to is really a pretty simple dictum: Be assertive in your needs, be verbal and clear about what is working and what isn't in your treatment, think for yourself and listen to your body, take responsibility for your choices -good or bad- and learn from them, and finally, consent to nothing until you have been fully informed in language (or a language) you can understand. If you don't understand the words used by your doctor or any other official-type person, then you are not, and have not been, informed! Demand that every aspect of your treatment, hospitalisation, etc. is completely explained in terms you comprehend.
to some additional advice from the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association.