2013 The Year In Review From A Mental Health Perspective

January 9, 2013 Alistair McHarg

It’s been a long time since I had a manic episode, but I certainly remember them vividly. One of the hallmark components was an intense sense of urgency. I lived entirely in the moment, a state of being at once exhilarating and terrifying. It was as if I had been cut loose from the restrictions of time; I had no past or future. My existence resembled the reality described by William Blake – infinity in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour. When one is strapped to the nose cone of a rocket one does not think much about time – one thinks about each instant as it happens.

An essential element of living successfully through every manic moment, for me at least, was the ability to move wherever, whenever, I wished. Boundaries of any sort were anathema to me. I was always ahead of the moment, faster than reality, pushing life along so it would catch up with me. I was ready for whatever came next even though I had no idea what that might be. I flicked the ashes off my cigarettes before there were any. At bars and restaurants I always paid in cash – using exact change – so that I was free at the exact moment anxiousness set in. To fully embrace the feeling of absolute freedom I felt it was necessary to believe I was already prepared for what was to come. I was hyper-vigilant.

With this in mind, I am writing my “2013: The Year In Review” column, now, while there is plenty of time to do so and I am not feeling rushed.

2013 The Year In Review From A Mental Health Perspective

As we gaze upon 2013 sinking into the setting sun it must be noted that it was, in many respects, like years past and years to come in that it contained days, weeks, and months. What then made it noteworthy? Well you may ask. From a mental health perspective 2013 will be remembered for two dramatic bits of social engineering. First is the introduction of specially designated parking spaces for the mentally ill. (This had the ironic, unintended consequence of creating a sub-class of so-called “pseudo-whackadoomians” – people feigning mental illness in order to poach these preferred parking places.)

Second was the Whackadoomian Act, which mandated a quota system for hiring the mentally ill. (Congress attempted to exempt itself from these quotas by claiming that idiocy should qualify as a mental illness. A landmark Supreme Court case rejected this gambit.)

Apart from that, 2013 was pretty quiet from a mental health perspective. See you in 2014!

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2013, January 9). 2013 The Year In Review From A Mental Health Perspective, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

January, 10 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi Alistair! One being "strapped to the nose cone of a rocket" is a great description of mania, and I swear that cone was made out of rubber at times! I'm currently enjoying using those designated parking spaces. As for Congress...they truly do define idiocy at times.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
January, 10 2013 at 8:19 am

Hi Cindy: Nice to hear from you. Hope your year is off to a measured, reasonable, and comforting start!

Dawn Mallory
January, 10 2013 at 3:54 am

Thank you Alistair for your blog. I enjoyed your positive perspective and enlightening way of looking at a manic moment. I am a mother of someone who finds the manic moments and am just beginning to look for resources to help me learn about the world she struggles with. The funny and interesting point is that what you describe anyone can relate to at moments in their lives, so thanks for taking time to share.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
January, 10 2013 at 4:15 am

Hello Dawn: Thank you for reading, and especially for writing. I wish you all the luck in the world, your situation is not easy. I hope you will track down Invisible Driving at Amazon, it's my bipolar memoir. Not only does it take readers inside the manic experience, it provides a thoughtful context to make it understandable. There is also a look at causes and routes to recovery. (Sounds dull as I describe it but it reads like a wild novel.) -- I believe humor is an essential survival tool - it helps to see things in context. Very best wishes, Alistair

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