Autobiography · Mental Health


"Metamorphosis" © Viewminder, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Metamorphosis” © Viewminder, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Things are getting quiet around here. The boxes are all broken down and we’ve hung the pictures on the walls. Moved in, but I still haven’t fallen into a proper schedule.

Consistency is key, I know this. I have to get up at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time every night. I have to get at least thirty minutes of exercise daily and eat around the same times. Bipolar disorder thrives on the sporadic. It amplifies the fluctuations, grabs hold to the moments I fall out of rhythm and pulls me hard in a dangerous direction.

It feels like I’m slipping. And then I blame myself for the slip. And guilt myself for the blame. One emotion cascading into the next until it’s everything I can do not to curl up on our new carpet and sob.

I imagine I am the Columbia River, pummeling through the gorge. I imagine I am Mount Hood, tearing up across an empty skyline. I imagine I am rainfall and mushrooms and moss. Powerful and peaceful and radiant. I imagine I am a free-floating seed, but only for a moment. Soon I will find roots again, create channels.




Library books” © faungg’s photos, 2014. CC BY-ND 2.0.

On Tuesday I made my way to the library. Walked up and down each aisle, not picking up anything, just absorbing the calm, the quiet, the smell.

I’m still in awe of the peacefulness here. How I can hear the neighbor’s child play tetherball across the yard. Amazed by all the green space, all the leaves. When Mason and I went for our first walk I tugged on his shirt sleeve and said, “Look! Mushrooms! Something someone didn’t plant is growing.”

Yesterday morning I went running again. I paid close attention to my feet scuffing across the concrete. Watched and plumes of breath escape my mouth and rise up in front of me. I was still. I was quiet. I was only listening.

The rain plummeted through the leaves and made a sound I hadn’t heard since I was a kid. A dampened thunder, a promise of renewal crashing down. I stopped running and stood there in the dark. Arms outstretched, rain water mixing with sweat on my bare face and chest.

Something is growing. I just don’t know what yet.



October 2015.
October 2015.
It’s our last day in Seattle. Tomorrow morning we head south. I feel like I should deliver a eulogy to our time here. The city we first made our home, the apartments we shared, the streets we learned together. But just like any other time I’ve wanted to stand up at a funeral, the words just won’t come.

We awkwardly balance the heartbreak of leaving, of having known this city so intimately, with the excitement of what’s next. Try to hold close the memories, the leftovers, the echoes of these years. Over coffee Mason and I talk about all the things living in a smaller town will allow us to do. I imagine a small community, an apartment big enough for two offices, trees, space to breathe. The settling that can happen when your world is not so loud. He reaches under the table and laces his fingers in with mine, squeezing tight.

At night I stare at all the things we still need to pack. I think of the therapist I’ve been seeing for two years and my best friend. All the people I’ve met here flash through my head and I struggle to keep composure. I hold the heartbreak of leaving close to the love of forward motion. I try to imagine them as two parts of a multi-facetted piece of me. It is not all joy or sadness, it is too many feelings to go on listing. My mind pulls in several directions. My heart in as many. Straining across ventricles, a sharp ache and electric excitement fight for dominance, but neither are winning.

This hurts. This is thrilling.