The dictionary defines mania as “an abnormal compulsion” such as Robert Shields who kept a virtual minute by minute diary of everything he did for 25 years (until he died from a heart attack). In it he recorded everything he and his wife did, everything he ate, the medical drugs he took, compulsive measurement of the air temperature, etc. He would spend up to four hours every day writing his diary on his manual typewriter – obviously a lot of his diary was made up on “writing in my diary” but from the page displayed in the article above he also wrote about his thoughts and powerless he must have felt. He never slept for more than two hours at a time in case he forgot his dreams and couldn’t write them down.

A few of my friends reading this lean somewhat in that direction – more Asperger’s than bi-polar for the most part so they, like myself, can appreciate how it must have felt to be gripped with such an affliction. I’ve had more than one bout of compulsive mania in my life (and it runs in the family) but obviously never anything that bad.

I don’t see Me Shields as an amusing curiosity – I see him as a moving case of a sick man who wasted most of his life. A lesson for some of us to watch out for I’m sure…