Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Overwhelming.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
I do not know how to feel, but were I to know how to feel, is how I feel to be trusted? All I know today is that today I do not know. Today I do not trust. I do not trust. I do not trust, and instead, I tiptoe. I tiptoe around and around the edge of the abyss, the same abyss I crawled out of last night. In circles, with nowhere to go. Nowhere to go but in. Nowhere to go but in because the out, that which is not the edge, is too far away. Too too too too far. I can see the lights. I can see the lights, and maybe I knew them once, but I do not know them now. The lights. They shimmer, they dance. Mocking, mocking, mocking. Mocking me.
You you you you you. You’re not not not not not. One of us us us us us.
This could mean anything. As I am circling the abyss—the nth time—all that I know is that I am not one of them, and I cannot see what they are not. I cannot see what they are not that I might be. I can see what I am not, and I can see what they are, and it makes me makes me makes me makes me wish that I was one. Of them.
Swirly twirly green gray blue. Vortex of vortexes. Threatening to swallow me whole, threatening that try to tread as I might, it’ll come for me, drown me, eventually.
No no no no no no.
That’s what I see when I look in.
No no no no no.
Catch a toe. Catch a toe and trip. Catch a toe and trip and fall, in in in in in the depths, the same depths I’ve been circling. Fuck.
Falling backwards, flailing my arms. Forgetting the one thing I know I know, the one thing, the one thing I should remember, the one thing that if I don’t know it by now I surely should: how to swim.
Treading. Bobbing and weaving, up and down and up and down and in and out. Praying that I can get my arms and my legs to do what I need them to do, praying that this ocean won’t gulp me up. Maybe if it did, it would spit me out—just like they all do.
I cannot cry for help, for even if they could hear me, and it doesn’t seem likely that they can, doing so would merely result in a mouthful of water, my lungs filling with fluid, compromising the one chance I have to survive this encounter.
I’m praying, praying for a miracle.
The only miracle I get is time. Time to kick kick kick kick kick, thrash about, until it click click click click clicks and I remember how to pull myself to shore.
Catch a shimmer a glimmer a glimpse of my reflection. Sodden clothing, stringy hair, seaweed-streaked face.
Disgusting. I hate it.
When all you have to do is tiptoe the edge of this abyss—God, so little is asked of you—can’t you manage without falling in?
Peel it all off, my soggy second skin. Hang it up to dry.
Sitting by the shore, gazing at the lights. Wishing again I could be one of them, forgetting what I am.
Hands in my pockets, curling my fingers to protect my secrets my breeze-blocks my bones my home.