I noticed the beauty and glory of Autumn today. Driving down the road of all places.  The battery in my Ipod died, so I sat in silence as I drove to my outpatient program. I think I was even breathing. I tend to hold my breath a lot. I noticed an even, unforced cadence to my breath. I felt myself nonchalantly enjoying the essence of fall leaves glistening in the sun, the collision of red, orange and gold being supported by roots deep below the ground. Taking it all in as I sat side by side with strangers on a long road. Perhaps the folks I was sharing space with were also in recovery. Perhaps not.  Perhaps just trying to make it through the day as I do so much of the time. Rhythmic breaths are coming easily as I moved patiently through the commute.

The morning air felt fresh, slightly crisp on my face. November in Northern California right now is grandiose. The sunsets blazing the open sky inviting awe and wonder from all who take notice. The promise of frost to grace the tips of the lavender or forgotten blades of grass yet only moisture on your windshield is found.  Threats of rain, which would actually be a gift, are empty.  There is still time to sip  coffee or tea on the patio in mid afternoon. I forget how lucky I am to live in this valley. I forget how lucky I am to experience emotion, though sometimes painful.  I forget how I can set myself free sharing the truth of my struggle.

I do not wish to walk in fear. One more time for good measure..I do not wish to walk in fear.  Each morning I awaken in darkness. I throw back the covers and attempt to cherish the day. I can only hope I am filled with strength to handle whatever comes my way. For me, hallucinations are unpredictable.  Morning, midday, midnight. I could be in a constant state of terror, awaiting their arrival. I am choosing to carry on with my day as if I were symptom free.  I think I can maintain this attitude because there truly are days I am free.  However, there are also days where the voices are demanding and crucifying my character. Days where I see destruction before my eyes as if a prisoner being made to watch atrocities. I never know which day it will be when I wake. Unpredictability leaves me feeling thrust upon the roller coaster without permission.  I do not enjoy this aspect of bipolar disorder. I would consider myself a go with the flow kinda girl, except in this arena.

As I felt the murmur of my car, I wondered when was the last time I considered what I can be grateful for?  My husband has been suggesting to me the longer I allow myself to get lost in a hallucination the more power I give away.  If I really set an intention to gratitude, can I change the trajectory of my episode. Right now I feel I am running in circles. Some improvement yes, but not enough to warrant going back to work or exiting the program. I’m chasing medication as the miracle for what ails me at this point in time.  I am being told that is the best course by those who deal drugs for a living. I have to trust they know best. I am on my knees and holding my hands open to receive. I concede I cannot control this on my own, though I try.  Diet, exercise, acupuncture, therapy, writing, and honest communication are my tools. They do not hold the fire to where my illness is taking me.  As I acknowledge that fact, I also want to acknowledge I am doing the best I can. If only for me. I am going to introduce gratitude into my arsenal. Really give it some credence. Allow it to have a place in my recovery. I am grateful the looming and blooming fall colors caught my eye today and led me to where I needed to go.


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