Bipolar and Seesaws: Up and Downs

red and gray seesaw in the playground
Photo by Mike Anderson on

I walk into the playground and stop.  I look to the left and then to the right.  The playground is empty.  I am alone.

I walk towards the equipment that is calling to me.  I sit down on the rotting red wood plank.  The seesaw is showing its age.  The number of years that it has been in its place, weathering the storms and welcoming the sun on it’s surface, is wearing away at the surface.

I place my hands on the handle.  I feel a prick.  I look at my hand and notice a small splinter in my hand.  I pull the splinter from my hand and a small bubble of blood reaches the surface.

I look at the other end of the paddle.  There is no one sitting opposite me.

As I am looking at the bare seat across from me, I stare at a chain link fence, bent and bulging, disformed due to wear over the years.

There is lime green grass growing up the fence.  It fills the area around the equipment.  The colors are vibrant and I hear the sound of the wind gently brush over each and every slightly wet blade of grass.

I push myself up, springing my legs as if I was a frog in mid jump.  I go up the other side goes down and hits the dirt.  My legs come up off the ground and I feel a thrill inside of me.

I plummet down to the ground.  I hear my knees crack.  I am uncomfortable and there is dirt starting to cover my shoes.  Not liking being in this down position, I push myself back up and before I know it my feet are off the ground.

The art of being up and down, much like when you play on a seesaw, is how I liken my life.  I am up with Mania, or down with depression.  There are periods where I balance the beam and I stay isolated in the middle, both seats up off the ground.  But, those times seem to be fleeting.

When I am down in the dirt, I long to be up in the air, feeling the air in my face, the freedom, the thrills, the excitement, the danger and risk.  But once I am actually up in the air, I get scared and I want to be closer to earth.  The safety and the comfort of the ground calls to me.

The seesaw is not the only piece of equipment in the park that provides an up and a down for its participant.  For the slide, you walk up the ladder, to go down the slide.  For the swing, you swing back and forth and usually only come to a stop when you are ready to disembark.  The merry go round spins you round and round and round, colors spinning, as you hold on for your dear life.

I would like to get off this playground equipment.  I’d like to leave the park and never return, but alas, my life is the seesaw and I don’t have a choice.  It’s up to me to figure out how to maintain the balance, to keep both seats up off the ground, and do that by myself.  Oh how it would be so much easier if I had another person to sit on the other end and we could balance the weight.  But, no, this is my battle, my fight, and I will do this.  I will press on and persist.  I will become grateful for what it is that I have been given and I will find a way to have joy in my life regardless of what has been put in my place.

Sprinkled Cupcakes and Fairy Dust,



7 Replies to “Bipolar and Seesaws: Up and Downs”

  1. I love this analogy! And, I actually think you’re on your own to a degree. Yes, we need to find our own balance, our own self-worth, etc.; I feel that outside help in its various forms will help -it will at least stop that darn bully from spinning the merry-go-round.

  2. Very clever in describing and mentioning life and different mental illnesses with a playground metaphor.
    I think we need to find the balance on our own first to be able to attract someone that is well balanced too that makes each other lives more easy and joyful.

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