My husband, my psychiatrist, my former therapist, and I developed a shorthand to describe my spring elevation in mood--"when dandelions are blooming." The switch to and from daylight savings time seems the predictable time for an upsurge in energy. That is a nonjudgmental phrase. Dandelion time is often a prodictive, creative state; certainly it is good for my writing. I also exercise, lose weight, eat better, and reach out to people. I find comfort in God, go to church more and pray more. I wear my dad's miraculous medal with a pen attached. I have faith that if I walk into a church, any church, I will find nurturing. Black churches are particularly wonderful. People seem to grasp intuitively that here is a hurting soul needing loving rescue.
When people ask me what I do, I answer, "I am a writer." I have wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. Since I wrote a prize-winning essay on fourth grade on why curiosity didn't kill the cat, but gave her nine lives, many teaches have urged me to submit things for publication. Dr. William Sadowsky, my shrink from 1987 to 1992, pointed out I didn't have a writer's bloc, but I had a submit to the publishers bloc. Sadowsky had the grandiose fantasy of turning me into a New Yorker writer. Blogs are a wonderful half way point.
I write when dandelions are blooming and trash my writings when they stop blooming. Gradually, from 1993 onward, I threw out about 70 notebooks and 250 tapes that I made from 1985 to 1992.I had planned to write a book on bipolar disorder and psychotherapy, based on my therapy with Bill. For a writer, that is a suicidal gesture, but no one was alarmed. Every spring I mourn their loss. The rest of the time, I console myself, "good riddance."
When dandelions are blooming (to my family , when I am getting manic), I reach out and share what's happening with my family, asking for suggestions and support. Here is a typical letter written to my daughters and brothers in November 2005, after I was fired from a library job just before the end of my probation period. No warning or reason was given:
My moods are fluid and labile. I am at risk. Andy started his new job today and desperately needs me to stay sane and centered. He can't concentrate on work if he is too anxious about me, and my anxiety about his anxiety is destabilizing. I would appreciate more support from the rest of you to relieve the burden on Andy. At least three times a week I will tell you my plans. I will giv you honest feedback on how well I followed my schedule and what things I have done that I might regret. Please feel free to give me honest feedback if you think I am getting into serious trouble , If I can listen to it, discuss it sensibly and learn from it, I am doing relatively well. If I become angry or argumentative, I better call my psychiatrist and adjust my meds.I write no such letters when dandelions have blown away.