My mood’s been variable in recent weeks; rapid cycling, I guess, since over the past couple of days I have pinged from low to elated and back again. Thankfully the range of mood is narrow; every up and every down could be so, so much worse. And yet even when I feel good, feel great, feel gorgeous and that my life is full of wonderful things there is an underlying sense that I have had enough.
Life this far has been a kind of never ending ultra-marathon. At times I feel at full fitness and enjoy every metre, my energy boundless. I would do handsprings and backflips along the track if I knew how. For the majority of my life I’ve just jogged along, keeping a steady pace. That’s OK, it’s healthy to just enjoy the scenery and not really compete against myself or anyone else. Then there are the times when every step is a struggle, when I don’t know how to find the energy to put one foot in front of the other. Nothing about those times is remotely pleasurable or rewarding. I resent having to keep going and I resent other people for not realising how much pain I’m in.
Only recently I’ve passed some kind of invisible marker. I can’t enjoy being at full hypomanic fitness, because even as I buzz along there is the underlying knowledge that it won’t last. Because whatever I do, whatever drug I swallow or whatever management plan I implement, I can’t get back to just jogging contentedly along. And always there is the knowledge that at some point – maybe next year, maybe tomorrow – I will be back to the pain and suffering of pulling my unwilling body along the track.
If I’m remembering correctly, I have been engaged in this race since I was 11. After pushing every onwards for 28 years I’m tired. No, I’m more than tired. I am done. You would think there might be a lot I would still want to do; I’m not yet 40. Sure, there are places I want to see, things I want to experience, but none of them seem all that important. I achieved amazing things in 2013 and I feel that I could happily leave it at that, that I’ve done my share. Maybe I made some little bit of difference towards challenging mental health stigma, and I’m proud of that. Yet no matter what I do a tiny voice keeps nagging, “Enough. Enough, now.” No matter what my mood state, what I do with my day, the voice is still there. I don’t know how I am able have a great day with my kids and simultaneously want to pull out of the race, leaving them to go ahead with out me. I know only a terrible person could thing of inflicting that pain on their kids. It’s awful. I am awful, but it’s how I feel. And I know it’s contradictory to want to stop being when I am booking holidays and making birthday plans and trying to find a literary agent. I just don’t quite know how to stop doing the things that a normal person would do. But I’m only going through the motions. When I look forward along the course, I can only think, “No. No more. I’ve had enough.”
As I’ve already said, I am not severely depressed. I just feel that it’s logical not to want to go on living with bipolar for another 40 years. I haven’t moved on from where I was when I wrote a couple months ago about feeling resentful that there is no Dignitas clinic for people with lifelong, incurable mental illnesses. I don’t want to have to do horrible things to myself to pull out of the race, things that might forever traumatise the family member or professional who has to find me. But I can’t keep going on and on.