At the end of a long and sterile corridor, Mary O’Hagan feels the noose of madness begin to tighten. As a young woman in the 1970s, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and spent several dark years in and out of psychiatric hospitals.
“I’m glad I didn’t know I was going to be the chair of an international network, have a book published in Japanese, advise the United Nations or become a New Zealand mental health commissioner. If I’d told a psychiatrist I was going to do these things they would have upped my anti-psychotics on the spot. They kept pouring accelerant onto my years of despair by telling me I had an ‘ongoing disability’ and needed to ‘lower my horizons,’ writes O Hagan.