Time Out of Mind

Let us first consider the role of time in our lives, then let us consider that role in terms of mental illness. Buddhists and Hindus, among others, propose that time does not actually exist. The Western world, however, with its dependence on clocks and deadlines, scoffs at such a notion, relying upon sayings such as "Time is money" and "Time is of the essence."

Time is of the essence. What an expression. Its inherent suggestion is that time comes from our essences; time exists within our souls. This is consistent with the Western position that time was discovered rather than created. Then again, the question haunts us: what if we did, in fact, create time? What if all our ticking clocks and watches amount to nothing more than a symbolic quest for orderly and coherent living? It's a terrifying yet convincing idea.

One considers, then, how time functions from the perspective of a person with a mental disorder. The sufferer of depression, or anxiety, or psychotic ailments, likely travels life's trajectory in creaky slow-motion. Catchy sayings such as "Life's too short" make such victims grin wearily, responding in their minds, "No, life's too long." Given the incessant presence of pain in the victim's mind-- the ceaseless worrying, excessive self-reflection, and troubling sensory distortion-- hours tend to stretch, stretch, stretch until the act of exiting one's bed in the morning becomes overwhelming.

Another kind of smile, likely even more weary, will cross the sufferer's face when met with this maxim: "Time flies when you're having fun." Indeed it does, and indeed the patient's schedule leaves no room for fun of any kind. Unless, of course, one counts the quiet joy of the moment when the depressed person sees that it's already six o'clock and thinks, "I can't believe I've made it another hour."

It is this writer's suggestion that given the dark relationship between the aching mind and the ticking clock, the mentally ill should ignore time altogether. Take a note from our Eastern thinkers and do not, as my father always told me, "try to live the whole future in one day." Again, time needn't be regarded as a finite fact of life. One may choose to doubt it, or, moreover, disapprove of it! Who needs time, anyway? Whose mind needs a sweltering flurry of images from a thousand yesterdays and ten thousand tomorrows?

The path to wellness may take two months or it may take two years. This is of no consequence. The moment is of the essence.

About The Author

Eric Shapiro is the author of "Short of a Picnic," a collection of fictional stories about people living with mental disorders.

[email protected]

In The News:

The Innumerati  Psychology Today
What to Believe  Psychology Today
Why Black Psychology Matters  Psychology Today
Why Psychology Matters  Psychology Today
Is Psychology Broken?  Psychology Today
After Psychology  Psychology Today
Psychology's WEIRD Problem  Psychology Today

Are Observations Objective?

On the outset all observations may seem to be objective,... Read More

The Special Secret of Intuition

The limbic systemNerve impulses were known to relay feelings and... Read More

The End of Psychotherapy

In two articles entitled "We Are Not Our Personalities" and... Read More

The Iron Mask - The Common Sources of Personality Disorders

Do all personality disorders have a common psychodynamic source?To what... Read More

Nature VS Nurture - Theories of Personality in 21st Century

Nature vs Nurture theories have wasted a lot of energy... Read More

Kids and Lifebooks: Tips for Social Workers

Every child who is adopted from foster care deserves a... Read More

What are the 4 Brainwave Patterns and How Do They Effect Your Health

WHAT ARE BRAINWAVES?Every moment of your life your brain is... Read More

Solution Focus Process: Solution Talk vs. Problem Talk Pt I

Solution Talk vs. Problem TalkProblem talk, of course, is talk... Read More

The Mind, Information, and Attitude

Information is flowing to us at a great rate. The... Read More

Right Brain, Left Brain

The right brain controls the left side of the body... Read More

Human Psychological Issues in the Recruitment of Suicide Bombers

Swedish Scientists did a study and found that young men... Read More

Synchronized Swimming Advantage for Twins

The Olympic Contests for Synchronized Swimming are a testament to... Read More

Are All Dementias Alzheimer?s?

I'm surprised when some patients and caregivers confuse dementia and... Read More

Cult De-Programming?

The following good work from a person engaged in trying... Read More

Fallacies About the Inner Child

Over the past 10 years I have helped individuals who... Read More

Subconscious Drives Make You Unhappy

Feelings and emotions are nerve impulses.The feel of paper and... Read More

The Offspring of Aeolus - On the Incest Taboo

Incest is not such a clear-cut matter as it has... Read More

Panic Attacks: Effective Ways to Cope

Jill is a 21 y/o college student who used to... Read More

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Part 1: Biological Basis

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is based on the... Read More

Eating Disorders and the Narcissist

Patients suffering from eating disorders binge on food and sometimes... Read More

Rediscovering the Mind

From the viewpoint of a modern microbiologist, we hear the... Read More

The Undeniable Power of Suggestion

How exactly is the Human Psyche effected by the trivial... Read More


ABSTRACTBiometric identification refers to identifying an individual based on his/her... Read More

Its Never Too Late

First of all, a bit of background: A high school... Read More

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Part 2: Cultural Influence

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences developed as he worked... Read More