This Time of Year Again
I hold these truths to be self-evident:
First, that anything so preposterously introduced must, unless it’s the founding document of a nation, be either at least partly false or too frightening to face without a little bombast and a little irony.
Second, that winter is a stone-cold bitch, in both the best and the worst senses that phrase can possibly convey, and I — although I was born in the dead of winter, in the Month of Fevers — don’t really know how many more winters I can take.
Third, that I have been, as usual, wrestling internally and exalting externally; hanging on with a bloody-knuckled death grip and the skin of my teeth. I felt excellent (which, by now, I should know means at a minimum “hypomanic”) and then the edges, as they do, began to fray. My soul feels rope-burned.
Fourth, that against the best advice of husband and therapist I have been Doing Too Much again, but feeling trapped by it, and wanting to be at home, until now I just want to crawl under a rock.
Fifth, that bipolar alone is not enough; that the battle against my own feelings is one I’m losing. One I should lose — I wrote to Denis this morning that it’s like keeping a spring under tension; eventually, the spring has to be released or it will collapse — but one I’m still not sure I’ll survive losing.
I tell myself that memories and feelings themselves can’t kill me, but that overlooks the glittering irrationality of mixed states, of dysphoric manias, in which the part of me that feels trapped, backed against a wall, increasingly sees death as preferable to … what, surrender? Imprisonment?
The eternal strain either of living the life I do — one in which I work desperately to keep even the merest whiff of my own internal struggle from all but a few, even when it drains everything I have — or the life I should, in which I would simply be and devil take the hindmost… Either flavor of strain, over the long run, seems untenable.
I know the answer is to Be Here Now, but sometimes I can’t do that, either. Zen, mindfulness — these are excellent tools, but I don’t know that they can rein in madness.
This time of year, I find myself cracking, wondering how much further I can carry this. I know I probably don’t have to, but I don’t seem to know how to make myself stop. All the plans I’m making, the dreams I’m dreaming, seem hollow now; built upon the wind.
I write this here, I suppose, partly because I suspect that many of you will understand, but perhaps mostly because I have to put it somewhere. So I ask forgiveness for this burden, which you did not ask to carry, and hope that it might, at least, be a familiar echo that gives comfort even if it also stings.