Swim or sink

A piece I wrote a year ago, when I was struggling for a way to describe depression and suicidal urges to someone.

Depression’s like sinking.

Most people are in a small boat. Most of the time it’s calm and sunny; you can sit and look around and relax. There are storms; you get battered by waves, hit by rain. The boat rocks. But you’re in it, on the surface.

Depression takes the boat away – poof.

When it’s calm, it’s ok; you’re still swimming, but it’s easier. You can look around, talk to people in boats, possibly even think about climbing back into your own.

But most days, you’re in the water, cold and wet and struggling. The storms batter you. The waves go over your head. You’re choking on salt water and struggling to stay afloat.

And some days, you’re pushed below the surface by everything above you.

Under the water, it’s peaceful. The storms can’t touch you. You don’t have to face the waves. You don’t have to think or feel or do. And the depths are tempting, when you’re cold and tired and don’t want to have to swim any more.

Just spread your arms and let yourself sink into the deep blue. It’s cold, but it’s quiet. The surface doesn’t matter any more.

Just float down.