Dr. Seuss’s My Many Colored Days is read often at bedtime in our home. It’s usually read on days when I feel low, when I have an angry outburst, or even when Baby Boy is having a fussy day. It’s my way of helping my son understand why mommy is not always herself, and that sometimes Baby Boy won’t always feel himself either. I have a lot of guilt that my son has a reactive and sometimes unstable mother. I grew up in a home with a highly explosive step father, and I always vowed my children would never experience the same. Well, as my mother says, “Never say never; you just don’t know what life will bring.” I have far more angry outbursts than I care to admit. My temperament is highly reactive, and sometimes little things set me off more than they should or I react with inappropriate elation.
Something that strikes me about this book is how much the alternating moods and colors so accurately represent the bipolar spectrum. You have your grey days (“nothing moves today”), purple days (“I’m sad. I groan. I drag my tail. I walk alone.”) and brown days (“I feel slow and low, low down.”) that fit so closely with how our depressive days feel. And then you also have depictions of both hypomanic and manic days. The yellow days so accurately represent the goal-driven days of hypomania can bring where you feel more productive and get lots done – “I am a busy, buzzy bee.” Or the pink days that so accurately reflect the euphoria hypomania can bring: “When my days are happy pink, it’s great to jump and just not think.” Full blown mania is represented in orange when “all of a sudden I’m a circus seal! or red days when “how good it feels to be a horse and kick my heals.” There is also the dark hypomania represented in black, “Mad. And loud. I howl. I growl at every cloud.” And thankfully you have peaceful stable days listed which are green and you’re “deep deep in the sea. Cool and quiet fish.” You even have your mixed episodes represented and “Wham! I don’t know who or what I am!”
And the reason I read this book so much? It’s the final two pages that read, “But it all turns out all right, you see. And I go back to being…me.”