Hypomanic New Year

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • It happens to me every year. Once all the stresses of the December holidays are over, spring garden catalogues pour in - and I'm off into a mixed hypomanic episode.


    I want daylilies, dahlias and dianthus. I want lemongrass, lilies and lantana; chamaecyparis, calibrachoa and coleus. And oh, do I want hostas.


    I can't decide, so through January, February and March my potential list gets longer and longer. I go through the lists, imagining where to put this plant and that. I cut items. I draw diagrams. My mind feels creative, excited - and reckless. While snow blankets the yard and I can't even see the planting areas, I'm dreaming of blending colors, contrasting foliage, creating vignettes. It's glorious! - and I can't afford it.

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    Not only can I not afford it, but in 2009 and 2010 both, I crashed into depression in spring and almost nothing of what I'd purchased got planted. The neglected plants finally died when I gave up watering them. That was a lot of money to waste.


    This past January I knew I had to be both careful and dedicated. My finances were getting rocky, and I was determined not to let the plants die again. Yet in spite of knowing I couldn't afford to spend anywhere near as much as I had in years past, and that I needed to keep the size of the job manageable, by the time I was done I'd ordered 197 plants. For over a thousand dollars.


    To my credit, I was more successful with the second part of my vow. I planted everything. I'm extremely proud of myself for the work I did.


    But here it is almost November. All through the fall I've been drooling over bulb catalogues, but I seldom plant in fall so I managed to keep from buying anything (although it is killing me that I couldn't order Dutch irises). It won't be that easy in January. My finances are in even worse shape this year, and I really shouldn't buy any plants at all. I should limit myself to buying seeds and starting them myself.


    I'm afraid - afraid that I'll burst out in that reckless hypomania and spend money I don't have, piling up debt on my credit card, or that I will restrict myself and be absolutely miserable.


    One way or another, January, February and March are going to be even more moody than usual. If I'm already anxious about that now - what will it be like when the garden catalogues turn up in my mailbox?

Published On: October 29, 2011