I was treading water,
And then I wasn’t.
The darkness was wrapping around me,
Squeezing all the air out of my lungs,
And dragging me under
To the depths I wish I’d never known
And never wanted to know again.
But the choice was not mine;
And the heavily anchored chains of what ifs,
And the surging currents of never wills,
And the crumbling shipwrecks of pain and doubt
Were my fate in that moment.
They would all welcome me home,
Cradling me into their open arms,
And I would struggle for breath,
But my struggle was in vain.
This was my curse, not my home.
And when I was released,
And when I floated exhaustedly to the surface
Where the normal people swam
In carefree oblivion of what lurked beneath,
I never spoke a word.
I never let them know.
And close enough to splash my face
Seemed worlds away from me,
But I smiled and pretended.
Yet was never able to shake
The frigid phantom tentacles of my truth from my heart
Until the day that it happened again
After God only knows how many times,
I wasn’t alone in the darkest depths.
I wasn’t fighting with only my strength.
And when I surfaced, it wasn’t a secret.
Where I’d been wasn’t shamed.
Because others had known,
And others had remained silent.
But now, we were legion,
And we were strength,
And we were light,
And we were air
For each other…
Because the depths had lost their shame in our unity.
They still pulled us back under at times
But we refused to stay their victims,
And when we surfaced:
Close enough to splash our faces
Was close enough to hope
And close enough to breathe again.
If you struggle with depression and/or anxiety, you are not alone. You don’t have to feel ashamed. Keep holding on until you can breathe again.