Those Who Were Seen Dancing

As someone who’s been accused more than once of marching to a different drummer, I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I see and feel things others never notice. I know it’s a bipolar trait, but it’s a good part of having the disorder and I cannot imagine being any other way.

I love it that I can sit on my front porch steps and be fascinated by the cobwebs stretched across one of the flowerpots, the hairlike strands blazing in the sun like miniature streaks of light. I enjoy smelling the commingled aromas of newly mown grass and lighter fluid which literally call summer to mind. And I think it’s cool that I’m a walking encyclopedia of thousands of songs, almost all of which are associated with a particular time in my life, and not only can I name the song but also the artist and the year it came out. 

I love it that I’m sensitive to textures. Sometimes it’s not very convenient, like when I bite into a lump in my mashed potatoes and almost gag, but for the most part it’s wonderful. Silky satin sheets, warm fleece blankets, and a memory-foam mattress all make my mandatory bedtime much more pleasurable than it would be otherwise. My ears pick out the subtler nuances of instrumental music that no one else hears (and that’s not just when I’m having auditory hallucinations). Simple foods delight my palate and satisfy my soul. And though my vision is poor, I enjoy the profusion of color everywhere, from the red and white and pink flowers in my garden to the bright turquoise of a swimming pool to the multicolored fireworks in the sky on the Fourth of July.

I love it that I love the seasons. There is literally “something bright in all”, even though I loathe mid-winter with every fiber of my being. There’s nothing like standing at the front door on a frigid morning, drinking a cup of hot coffee and breathing in the crisp bite of snow-covered pines. Unless it’s the satisfying crunch of fallen leaves underfoot and the aroma of burning wood from the fireplace. Or the intoxicating salt air of the seaside. Or the sight of my Hot Chocolate tree roses in full bloom.

I also love it that I’m a synesthete. This is a phenomenon in which the wires governing the senses somehow get crossed, and I “see” numbers and words in colors, and “smell” or “taste” colors and letters. For example, the number 7 is bright pink and tastes like soda pop, and the letter A is red and smells like crayons. Other people with synesthesia experience these things somewhat differently. I didn’t know until I was 45 years old that there was even a word for it, let alone that I wasn’t the only one who had the condition. For some reason, it’s technically considered a mental illness, but I don’t concern myself with that too much because I’ve got a more serious one to deal with. (Funnily enough, it’s not an unusual condition in bipolars.)

I know most people probably won’t understand much of this, and that I’ll probably be thought even weirder than I was in junior high school when I tried explaining to my classmates what it was like to taste butter whenever I thought of the number 2. (Which is yellow, by the way.) But then, as someone wiser than I already said, those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. 🙂


Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

3 thoughts on “Those Who Were Seen Dancing

  1. I wish there was a triple like…. I sometimes have synesthesia when I haven’t slept it a long time. I quite enjoy it, I wish it didn’t take such extreme circumstances to trigger it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have it too? How cool is that? 🙂 Mine isn’t subject to anything that I’m aware of, but now that you mention it I’m going to pay more attention to see if there’s any correlation between the synesthesia and my moods.


  2. Part of me likes the heightened sensitivity, part of me is very frustrated by it. Depends on where my anxiety levels are, really, and often, what the texture is. *chuckles* People have a hard time understanding what it’s like to have senses that go beyond the normal range and it doesn’t explain out that well. No synesthesia here though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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