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Why Depression Is a Black and Stagnant Sea

Depression is a black sea. No waves coast calmly across its surface. Stagnant water sits still as if frozen over and blackened muck covers its surface. Wreckage floats across its face, the remains of those who wanted to look for something better, something beyond these seas seemingly frozen in time.

It is in this flotsam I find myself, clinging desperately to the wreckage of ships who faced these waters, who had to be so much stronger than just my simple hands. Buoyancy does not exist in these here. The waters pull and tug at my feet, at my body, trying to bring me beneath the surface. I fight with all my might to keep my arms clenched to the ships’ remnants, to keep my head just slightly above the surface. There are times my grip fails me, and I sink beneath the sludge. Again I fight, I thrash, I grip at anything in a panic. The surface of the water feels as hard as concrete, and I smash my head again and again against it, trying to surface, trying to breathe.

Victory is hollow.

I gasp with panicked breaths, clinging to anything to keep me afloat. There is no time for rest; the sea has already begun to pull at my legs again. Strength dwindles, hope dwindles. Light feels impossible to find.

I can see the people I care about most looking for me, paddling life rafts and calling my name.

I stay silent.

I’m too ashamed to let them see me so weak, unable to keep myself above water.

I’m terrified. Covered in sludge and feeling tainted, I don’t want them to find me. I fear they’ll pull me into their boat, only to have it sink under the weight of my contaminated body.

My eyes are heavy and my mind drifts. A growing thought of the peace that could be gained from letting go. From sinking deep. From never surfacing again. This battle would be over.

I’m snapped out of these thoughts by the sound of thunder, as a storm rolls over this forsaken ocean.

The lightning flashes expose this wretched place, and for once I see the multitudes floating in the black sea.

I am not alone.

In the brief flashes, I see them fight simply to stay afloat. I see them cling together in solidarity. I see others answer the calls of the lifeboats, and when they are pulled aboard, the ships do not sink.

The water pulls at my legs again and I fight with everything I have to keep my nose above the surface, to keep breathing, to keep existing from moment to moment, until I can find the courage to call out: to those fighting, to those who have fought and to those who love me.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

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Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash