A Bipolar Perspective on Autumn
by Storm
October 7, 2000 

I look outside my lace-layered windows onto the patio that is the home of what was an enormous, yes monstrous container garden. Hanging baskets bearing the last blooms and browned stalks of summer. Slender sets of wind chimes, whispering that the time has come to set the beautiful blossoms aside, to let the plants pass on to nothingness or to sleep the coldness away.

One part of me has always taken great delight in the quirkiness of autumn. I embrace the chilly winds that dance the fallen leaves around like an October ballet. With the air cooler, my smoker's filled lungs take in the life giving oxygen as a less painful pace. The skies blue and clear hover over the sun as it dances among the rainbow of autumn colored leaves.

The air smells slightly of football games with a hint of basketball dancing the foot rails of the breezes. Big, baggy sweatshirts come trotting out of storage, boots and multicolored thick socks begin to peek out of the dresser drawers...waiting to fill the hiking boots left stiff from lack of summer use.

I take pleasure in these things for I know that not far behind comes my most favorite yet dreaded holiday season of all....ho ho ho.

But then again, part of my heart aches as I watch the life around me slowly surrender to the jailer of the seasons. To see my beloved flower garden, slowly succumb to the chilling of the winds and soil. To know that within a few short weeks, the trees will stand naked before all, their clothing shed for the winter.

The idea of being housebound for an entire winter warms my heart. I love to sit and watch the snowy flakes fall gracefully to the earth. I even enjoy the subzero temps from my childhood days back in the Midwest. Here on this Island, we seldom get those temps, but we do get some snow, although never as much as I hope for.

It seems my bipolar brain goes through this seasonal change as well. The tendency to isolate becomes a hunger in which I try my best to find a way to satisfy. I want to hole-up, hibernate, detach from the real world of societal do's and don'ts. I feel safe in my warm, cozy cave. I can be whatever the disorder brings on for the day. I can be down and alone. I can be manic and alone and have a blast being so.

As my disease never goes, the slender wind chimes remain throughout the seasons of change. I keep them out there as a reminder. I adore their quaint, delicate songs as the autumn and winter winds whip them around furiously. On early mornings, I'll crack open the window. Just a peek of fresh air...to hear their songs of delight.

As I dig up dead roots, store away carefully chosen flower containers, my mind begins to fill with ideas of decorating for the Christmas season. Yes, already. I've seen Christmas commercials already. I'm more than willing to start decorating now but of course I will wait till the societal laws allow me to do so. 

I reflect back on summer...the trips to the pool, the luscious but cancer-causing suntan I received this year. But honestly, due to the high dosage of Neurontin, most of my summer memories are a medication induced blur. The bad days memories shout inside my mind lest they be forgotten. The summery details have faded in to some part of my brain that I no longer can access on my own. No tech support available for that lost memory cache. 

Sometimes I smile to myself because it seems that autumn itself is Bipolar. The weather temps can't make up their minds. Up or down. Just like me. I also think that many "normal" people do an imaginary Bipolar jig through the colorful weeks of autumn. They go up and they go down, just like me.

With a heavy heart for what is going away, leaving me alone, I take a deep breath and prepare for that which lies ahead of me. The unknown. The thrill of a huge snowstorm in December, or the disappointment of no snow until next January. Whichever happens to appear, I will face it just as I have for my entire life. A bit of this and a bit of that. Up and Down. 

Down and Up.


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