The actual name of the book is: Mind on the Run: A Bipolar Chronicle, and chronicle it is, for it chronicles the tragedy that one family endured as one of its members, Scotty, went through five major, prolonged bipolar manic episodes, ending in a suicide that never should have happened.
The book is written by Dottie Pacharis, Scotty’s mother, and is told over the course of thirteen years, during which time Scotty was committed 14 times to 11 different hospitals for his manic episodes – escaping from two of them – all along the east coast of the country.
Reading this book, you continually ask yourself, “How could this have happened?” Even as you read the events as they transpired, appalled as, time and time again, Scotty was able to manipulate judges during hearings as he claimed he “is not bipolar, has never been bipolar,” and the judges believed him, releasing him without committing him even though he was obviously very ill.
Scotty’s is one of the worst cases of bipolar disorder ever seen, as he is overwhelmed by delusions that determined his behavior and course of events during his bipolar manic episodes.
During these times, several themes repeated themselves; for one thing, he always became very religious when manic, a sure sign that he was sick again. Other repeating themes were that he was the President of the United States and that the Secret Service and/or the CIA and FBI were spying on him. At times his delusions caused him to be very frightened and paranoid.
Scotty was not diagnosed with bipolar disorder until he was 27 years old. Before then, he lived a normal life, with no indication that there was anything wrong; certainly nothing to indicate that he would one day claim to be the President of the United States.
The only foreshadow, perhaps, of things to come was the suicide of his real mother when Scotty was eight years old, from depression and alcoholism.
The chronicle of Scotty’s battle with bipolar disorder looks at what happens when the mental health system is more concerned with preserving the rights of the patient to the degree that it ceases to look out for the best interests of that patient. In that way, the mental health system failed both Scotty and his family.
Although the system protected his rights, it did not protect him from himself and the disorder that ravaged his mind and body and life, causing him to lose his business, marriage, and home and to threaten relationships with his family members who were trying to help him.
Caught up in the bureaucracy of the insurance system, Scotty was further denied the necessary help that would have prevented the tragic end to his struggle with bipolar disorder, as he took his own life.
Laws that handcuffed his family, along with Scotty’s skillful manipulation of the experts, made for a high level of frustration for Dottie and her family; however, even as she details Scotty’s story in this book, she offers hope for other supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder that the same thing does not have to happen to them.